Friday, September 18, 2015

Gem Lake Trail

I took the twins on a second hike with the Scouts this summer. 

We tackled the Gem Lake Trail outside of Rocky Mountain National Park.

Charlie wasn't especially impressed with our early morning adventure.
Eventually, he came around.

The hike felt like it was at a high elevation and included a steady climb. I would guess it was a "moderate" rating of difficulty. My guess is the youngest in our group was about 7.

After all that hard work, I will admit that Gem Lake was a little underwhelming. But, the kids had fun scrambling over the rocks.

The chipmunks were very friendly & ready to grab any snack crumb that was dropped.

On the way down, we enjoyed so many beautiful views.

We packed lunch & had a picnic near the parking area before heading home.

Not a bad way to start the day.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Winter Park - Summer Edition

The air is crisp and the sun is rising later in the morning. Fall might be creeping up on us, but there are still so many summer memories to share. 
One of my favorite summer weekends was spent in Winter Park.
Our neighbor's shared their home with us for the weekend. As we walked around the block, you get great view of the ski runs at Winter Park resort.

We took a fun family hike through the National Forest - I am really happy with the number of hikes I was able to do this summer.

The weather was perfect & the trees were beautiful.

The girls took on a project of building a fort.

Not too shabby for a days work. They made a list of supplies that they need to bring up on the next visit.
The boys had fun playing horsehoes

and relaxing in the hot tub after the "long" hike.

We played games 

roasted marshmallows

and enjoyed a lot of low key family time. It was a perfect weekend. We are lucky to have such generous friends and hope to visit again this fall once the leaves start to change.

Friday, August 07, 2015

Holiday World

We spent one day in Indiana at Holiday World. I knew the kids would like it, but I didn't realize how MUCH they would love it. The first roller coaster we rode was a doozy. That was enough for me for the day! I stuck to water rides.

I didn't take many photos at the park. Once we started in the waterpark, the phone went in the locker. We arrived when the main park opened and rode a few rides before the water park opened.

If you are going to do the waterpark, I recommend arriving wearing your swimwear. You really don't need a towel - you won't be carrying it around with you. You dry as you go and have one towel to share at the end of the day. 

You can't bring any food or drinks into the park. Drinks (water, soft drinks, lemonade) and sunscreen are free.

The food is typical expensive park food. The kids had a lot of fun at the water park. Charlie & Ella loved the rough water rides. Greta preferred to hang with Grandpa in the wave pool. 

The water park lines were super long. After a 45 minute wait at a ride, the kids gave up & headed back to the amusement park. You have to be dry & wearing clothes to get back on the rides.

It was the right choice - no one was in the amusement park & they kept running onto the rides. I think they rode more rides in the last hour than they did the rest of the day.

We spent 6 hours in the park & the kids would have stayed longer. They declared it better/bigger than Elitch Gardens in Denver. Neither park is cheap (especially when you multiply admission by 4). We stopped by Wendy's on the way home & found good coupons for Holiday World - we will have to remember that for next time! 

Friday, July 31, 2015

Indiana Summers

When our kids talk about their summer highlights, Indiana is always at the top of the list. They get some funny looks. That's ok, we will just leave it as our secret.
We spent our days at gymnastics camp,
soccer camp,

and in the pool (though I worked more than I anticipated).

We visited with Grandma's sister.
The kids went non-stop down Grandpa's slide

though the kids did take a break to use the diving board too. We have lots of grumpy Charlie pictures this summer.
We took lots of turns on the tractor and went on a nice long hike along the creek.

We found a turtle and moved him off Grandpa's driveway.
We tried gooseberries (sour!) and laughed when the Amish lady encouraged us to find recipes to use them on the Internet.

Ella's cookies were much better than the gooseberries!
We explored the Farmer's Market and did A LOT of back to school shopping. Thank goodness for extra suitcases and bags fly free!
The kids just keep growing. I think Ella needed an entirely new wardrobe. 

We had an ice cream sundae bar

played with friends 

and took lots of walks.
We would have preferred more sunny days, but we still enjoyed our visit this year.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Manitou Incline

I went on another "hike" recently. I think it's really half challenge half hike.

It was WAY to cold and rainy to sit by the pool as we planned so we decided to tackle the mountain. This is the start of the Manitou Incline in Colorado Springs (on the left). Doesn't look too bad from the bottom! The photo on the right is somewhere in the middle of the hike. It was so rainy, we didn't get our phones out much during the incline.

Our friend, who is in excellent shape, said she did the incline in 30 minutes. I think she is mistaken. World class athletes can do it in 25 minutes. I am sure she was fast, but I would plan on an hour to an hour and a half if you have a regular cardio routine (and up to 2.5 hours for then average hiker). We were passed a fair amount along the way up. I'd like to think all of those people were in the Air Force Academy or from the nearby Olympic Training Center. Though, most of the hikers looked like regular people who have done the trail before.

This is the top. Not much of a view! The incline rises 2000 feet over less than a mile. It doesn't sound like much, but my heart was beating out of my chest before too long.

It was too slippery for us to even consider taking the stairs back down. My recently broken foot has made me very cautious. The trail down is about 4 miles on a fairly well marked path.

We had some pretty views along the way down.

We weren't expecting the way down to be so long, but there were a fair amount of switchbacks. 

I think I was delirious at this point. These rocks looked so beautiful in my mind.

Here's the train for Pike's Peak that we took last year. I thought I had blogged about that journey, but maybe not.

It took us about 3 hours to do the round trip journey. I think under better conditions, we would have been faster. I'd like to come back in a year after I've rejoined my regular cardio routine to see if I could get a better time. 
Colorado Springs has so many interesting sites. I'm never disappointed with my visit to the area.