Tag Archives: vacation

Fall Break in Glenwood Springs

This week was fall break for Douglas County schools. I’m still getting used to the idea of a spring break for elementary schoolers, let alone getting another week (+ the previous Friday) off just a few weeks into the school year, but it did provide an opportunity to take the family to Glenwood Springs for the first time. We had fabulous weather the entire week. Every day touched 80 degrees, while the typical cool Colorado mornings and evenings provided the perfect opportunity to play in the hot springs pool.

The pool was a favorite of course. This is not your typical hot springs, but a huge (400′ long, 100′ wide) pool fed by the hot springs and maintained at a pleasant 90-something degrees. The biggest attraction, for Evan at least, was the diving board. Alex’s swim skills aren’t quite there yet, but Evan handled it just fine – check out the video below. Those without young kids may not realize just how rare diving boards are at pools nowdays. Most pools don’t even have a “deep end”. Liability costs forced them to remove the high dive years ago, but the low dive is still there, and is definitely a magnet for the kids. Evan honed his cannonballs, practiced some diving, and even attempted a flip. Alex still enjoyed the chance to splash and practice his swimming. He even joined us in the deep end, and swam a bit on his own.

We also toured through the Glenwood Caverns. Unfortunately an amusement park has grown up around the entrance to the two caves at the top of the hill. We didn’t realize exactly what we were getting into, and didn’t arrive in time to do much more than tour the caves. This, of course, did not go over too well with the boys at first, but they perked up once they got inside the caves.

One of my favorite sites was the hike up to Hanging Lake. This short hike is a Colorado mainstay, that seems to have grown out of control. I haven’t been there in about 15 years, because dogs aren’t allowed on the trail and we couldn’t stand the idea of hiking in the mountains without Bacchus. It was busy then, but it’s crazy now. The clerk at the hotel told us that we should plan to be at the trail head by 7:30 in the morning, or expect to find it full and we’d have to try another day. Since we were planning to hike on a Wednesday in October, we figured we’d be safe. Luckily, we were, but not by much. The parking lot was probably 80% full when we arrived shortly after noon. We were having a great time on the hike, and were just starting to explore the waterfall above the lake when Evan slipped off a rock and fell about 5′ to the ground. He hit his head and cut it open, but when I offered to carry him down the trail he insisted he was OK. Other than a few scrapes and bruises, he seems to have come through just fine. The only after effect was that he had to wear a swim cap for the last couple of trips to the hot springs.

We rounded the trip off by driving back home through Aspen and over Independence Pass. This gave us an opportunity to visit Maroon Lake, and the well known view of the Maroon Bells. We were hoping for more fall color, given that most of the trees around Glenwood were still still clinging to their leaves, but the extra elevation near Aspen meant the peak was long past.

And here’s a short video of Evan on the diving board…

Okoboji 2014

We made our first family cross country trip to visit Grandma and Grandpa’s house in Lakefield, and spend some time at the lakes in Okoboji. We were pretty nervous about spending 12 hours in the car, but the boys handled it like pros. Of course, having movies on demand help to pass a lot of Nebraska and Iowa corn fields.

We spent the first night at Grandma and Grandpa’s house, which gave Grandpa a chance to introduce the boys to fireworks. We had a variety of poppers, snakes, smoke bombs and sparklers – all of which the boys found fascinating. While we were in town, we happened to catch the Lakefield fire department burning down a house. It was packed with hay and diesel before lighting it with torches. As you can see in the picture, it wasn’t long before we had a real inferno.

Then it was on to Okoboji. On the way down we stopped at the Go-Kart track near Arnold’s Park for some race time. The only cars the boys could drive on their own were pretty tame, and reminded them too much of bumper cars to be able to follow the “no bumping” rules. So we moved on to the big track with the grown ups for a few races.

Next we rented a boat and cruised around the lakes. Unfortunately, it was probably the coldest and windiest day you can imagine for an Iowa July. The waves were crashing over the bow and soaking us all to the bone, so we cut the trip short and headed back to the hotel for some indoor pool time.

On Wednesday we went into Arnold’s Park. The only downer was that the boys were too short to ride the “big” roller coaster. Fortunately, there were plenty of other rides to keep them occupied. The place is small, but luckily the lines were short and the rides were kid friendly. Evan and Alex even went on some of the upside-down topsy-turvy rides all by themselves!

On Thursday, Dave, Alana, Sophia and Will joined us for more Okoboji time. Alana rented a cabin on West Lake with a private beach. It was a very nice place – except for the mosquitoes! We decided to get away from the swarm and took the gang back for another day at Arnold’s Park on the 4th. Right around dusk, a major thunderstorm rolled in, scrapping the formal fireworks show, but several of the houses around the lake shore were kind enough to provide shows of their own.

Saturday signaled time to pile back in the car. Amazingly, the boys complied with minimal fuss. It was a long ride back, and we were all glad to be back in our own beds, but it was a great trip and lots of fun to see everyone. We’ll be looking forward to next time!

Italy

Lara and I took a two week swing around Italy in Late 2000.  We visited Milan, Florence, Pisa, Rome, and Venice.  It was our first extended trip together, and probably served as the event that bound us together.  There’s nothing like travel to put a relationship to the test!

This was a fantastic adventure. The scenery, the history, and of course, La Dolce Vita…  We have to admit that it’s true, the Italians know how to live.  Two weeks was hardly enough.  We’re definitely hope to return many more times in the future!