We spent the 3rd week of June in Estes Park, Colorado for our yearly family trip. My grandparents began vacationing in the area over 50 years ago! So, it's a fun tradition to continue with so many memories. This year my mom, brother, and one sister were able to come with me and my three kids for the week. After an evening stay in Denver we journeyed up to the YMCA Camp of the Rockies. It is an amazing place to stay for families! They have putt-putt golf (pronounced hut-hut golf by Isaiah), basketball, tennis, hiking trails into the Rocky Mountain National Park, library, children's day camp, livery, arts & craft, and many daily activities available!
We began our week with a hike into the park to Alberta Falls. When I worked at the YMCA in the day camp the summer of 1998, we would take the Kindergarteners and 1st graders on this hike. So, I knew it should be doable for our crew! Thankfully John was there to carry Isaiah in the backpack for the 0.8 mile walk to the falls. Colby did great and Abigail got tired during the last bit walking back to the car. It's a beautiful little falls with plenty of rocks to climb around on!
I'm looking forward to returning next year and am already planning a few bigger hikes to take Colby on. He really enjoyed hiking and had plenty of energy to accomplish them without any problems!
The next day we began with pony rides for Abigail and Isaiah, which they loved! Then we drove up on Highway 7 to Lily Lake. It's a nice walk around the lake with a gorgeous view of Mt. Meeker & Longs Peak. After our walk we went across the street to have a yummy lunch at The Baldpate Inn. This is one of our yearly traditions! They have a delicious salad bar, 2 soups, and quite a few homemade breads.
The next morning we drove up Highway 7 to the Wild Basin area of the Rocky Mountain National Park. For as long as I can remember going to Estes Park, I recall going to "throw rocks in the river" in the Wild Basin. We stop at a specific place off the road where there's a huge rock overlooking the river running down. So, below is this year's pictures from the visit! It was a bit cold when we arrived that we all needed jackets and didn't stay as long as usual!
The next day we took an hour long trail ride with the Jackson Stables on the YMCA property. Growing up our family always stayed at The Wind River Ranch, but in 1997 it changed hands so we began going to the YMCA. Some of my favorite memories from Wind River was going horse back riding. We pretty much did it every day, sometimes twice a day. So, this year for our horseback ride since he was 6, Colby had to ride solo. As a child, lots of fun, as a mom - a bit scary! It was nerveracking to be behind him on a horse! But, Colby did great & had fun! Abigail rode with me and Lisa also went with us. It was a nice relaxing ride!
We had dinner at the Crags Lodge up on the hill overlooking Estes Park. I don't think I would ever want to stay anywhere else, but Crag Lodge would be a nice relaxing option!
A trip to Estes isn't complete until we visit the go-carts and big slide. To ride the slide you must first climb 4 flights of stairs, which in the higher elevation is a bit challenging! Colby and Isaiah especially loved this. But, it meant that either Lisa or I had to walk up the stairs to ride with Isaiah each time! I believe he went five times and I had Isaiah walk up by himself - pretty impressive! In the past Abigail had also enjoyed the slide, but after one time down, she was finished. Thankfully Aunt Lisa took Abigail on the bumper cars a few times. After finishing at the slide, we went over to the go-carts. Their double carts have a steering wheel for the younger rider to use, which is great! It was quite a bumpy ride, but lots of fun!
While we weren't out hiking, go-carting, riding horses, playing hut-hut golf, we made great use of the rest of our time. We all did some glass mosaic projects, made rock people with googely eyes, painted ceramics at the arts & craft center, played cards into the wee hours of the night, and had some wonderful tv-free days relaxing in the cool mountain air!