Tuesday, August 6, 2013

a grand adventure

We invaded Colorado last week.  One of my writing partners generously loaned us her mountain home on the west side of the Rockies and it was high time to expose Team Testosterone to the mountains.  After adjusting to the altitude change, we headed straight for Winter Park ski resort.

This group doesn't go in for downhill skiing, but that's okay because summertime at a ski resort is full of all kinds of other diversions.  

 Some tame, some less so.

After riding to the highest point and appreciating the view, we started down on foot.  Mr. B fell and tore open his knee on a rock.  Mr. D took the other two ahead where they ran into a moose and found some wild strawberries to eat.  I met a handsome forest ranger who supplies Mr. B with bandaids.

After all this excitement, we spent the next morning whitewater rafting.  Mr. B was still sore from his tumble, so the other two went on a hike with me and we discovered this marvelous creek.

Naturally, we had to leave behind proof that we'd played here.

Having ridden a ski lift and a raft, we opted for horses the following day.

It turns out Team Testosterone loves horses.  They have big plans to pool their chore money and buy one now. 

I love mountains and hiking and majestic views, but horseback riding makes my ass sore.  Also?  The mountain air, which smells fresh and pine-y and sage-y makes my skin dry and my hair limp.  My heart is all for Colorado, but the rest of me prefers the sea.

Next stop: Rocky Mountain National Park.  We were on the slow side, which meant more fun with less people.  Here we are braving the wind and cold at the Alpine Visitors Center.

We hiked some more.  We preferred the trails not clearly marked on the map because nobody else used them. 

Heck, sometimes you could hardly see the path.  This Ute Trail turned out to be a sheep path.  We saw lots of traces of sheep, but no actual sheep.

But we saw a moose!

And a herd of elk.

Of course, seeing elk in the wild meant Mr. G had to add one to his already-extensive collection of stuffed animals. 

We also went to the rodeo--a cultural event Team Testosterone had never before experienced.  Mr. G participated in chasing some calves around the arena.

We hiked some more.  We hiked until Mr. G tearfully begged us to not hike any further.  Ever.

This was fine because it was time to catch our plane home.  We ate like royalty, exercised like Olympians and bonded like Krazy Glue.

We learned some history and science, checked a few items off our bucket list, and discovered that on the west side of the Rockies:
*You cannot find a bad meal. 
*Nor can you find a hamburger without a toasted bun--seriously awesome.
*It's easy to find lots of great local brews.
*The population is a crazy mix of crunchy-granola, adventure enthusiasts, cowboys, conservatives and hippies. 
*Most people work to play.
*It's half the price to hang out here than at the other side of the Rockies, but the views are the same.
 *Summertime offers a better variety of fun than winter.  
*It's more physically taxing to climb up, but coming down requires better balance and technical skill.
*Weather can change on a dime.

If you haven't been to the mountains, the Granby-Fraser-Winter Park-Grand Lake area is the place to go.


  1. It sounds like a perfect summer trip!

  2. Your entire team, Team Testosterone and you, are blessed to have these bonding experiences, outdoor adventures and discover a love of horses. What a full vacation.

  3. What an amazing trip and wonderful time for all of you especially the boys. The biggest memories I have growing up are the trips we took as family to camp out in the state parks. Awesome fun. They will remember it always.

  4. Looks like a super duper family vacay and totally packed with fun things to do every day. Bet your boys loved it!

  5. That looks like a great vacation! Seeing the picture of you guys hiking on the side of the mountain reminds me of field camp, learning how to climb up and down those steep slopes, and how your legs would shake after the work of climbing down, rather than running down --it was too easy to pick up speed! Mountains are so awesome :-)

  6. That sounds WONDERFUL! Congratulations on a successful outing with kids. :)

  7. What a great trip and memories - hoping to get there to ski one day, but the summer looks amazing too!

  8. Sounds like a wonderful vacation. That first picture reminds me of the movie "Contact". Did they experience space-time travel in that thing? Now we all have to go to Colorado to find that creek and see if the stone towers you left are still there.

    Climbing up is hard on the heart, but coming down is murder on the knees. Not an issue for the young'uns.

  9. Sounds like a wonderful time...and I have plenty of padding ;D no problem for me riding a horse

  10. Sounds like my kind of trip! My kids are all about riding horses, too. I don't understand the love affair.

    Glad you were able to have such a great vacation together.

  11. Looks like an awesome week. Love the photos, especially the one of the five of you guys.

  12. Wow! It looks and sounds like a once in a lifetime trip. What a fabulous vacation!
    I love that family pic. Gorgeous!
    I always wanted a horse too, but I think picking up dog poop is bad enough. I think I'll just ride other people's horses. ;)

  13. Sounds like a wonderful time and a vacation your kids will remember. Hopefully! We did a LOT of things with our kids, took them many places, and now that they are adults, I'll say to them, "Remember when we went to...." and they'll say, "No." WHAT?

  14. Journeyed to Colorado last summer. The weather!!! It made me feel so happy! And then we drove back where it was 110 degrees. I'm so jealous and I long for the scent of pinon pine!!

  15. What a great vacation. My grown-up kids still say their favorite parts of summer were our 10 day summer family trips. Yours will always remember these trips

  16. That looks like a lot of fun.

  17. I love reading your stories about your family adventures. They feel like a glimpse into my future, when we can take our gals on grander, more challenging excursions. You are my family role models!

  18. What a great vacation! When I was 16, we had an awesome family adventure in the Rockies. I'd like to take my own kids there someday.

  19. FUN!!! And not finding a bad meal is AWESOME!

  20. That is our kind of vacation! Except add downhill mountain biking. You've described the denizens of Colorado splendidly. We'll be there mid-September to visit our son and his girlfriend in Fort Collins.

  21. But did you have bison burgers? Amigo and I had the best bison burgers ever in Littleton, Colorado last summer. Incredibly delicious.

  22. That looks so fun especially the horse riding.

  23. Oh my -- what a terrific trip! And those boys are getting extremely grown-up : -). Time does its magic, every single minute.

  24. I'm afraid if you get a horse my 14yo will demand that we come to stay at your place.
    Thanks for the tip about which side of the mountains is cheaper.
    I love living where we can enjoy mountains, hiking and majestic views, along with air that "smells fresh and pine-y and sage-y" (Perfect description!) but now it is fire season and the air has been smelling a bit smoky.

    I love the ocean but it makes my hair limp!


Spill it, reader.