Sunday, January 22, 2017

Arbon Colorado Trip 2016 - Part I

At the end of July we were heading back to Colorado, this time with my family for a fun-filled vacation. Some of my family went to Colorado last year on a vacation and visited some of the newer WorldMark Resorts; they loved it so much they wanted to make a family trip of it this year. Our trip would consist of three stops: Estes Park, Granby, and Steamboat Springs.

We started the drive on Saturday, July 30th bright and early. The boys did pretty well. For the time that the boys would allow it, I sat in the front with Jason and listened to Golden Son. Colson had a blowout that was so bad that we had to throw away his shorts on the off-ramp. Charlie got carsick on and off, but not nearly as bad as our last Colorado trip since we took a different route that didn’t wind so much through the mountains. So that was a plus.

Finally, we arrived at Estes Park. It definitely felt long and slow, but we made it and it went well, all things considered. When we arrived at the WorldMark, we unloaded and immediately noticed the stream going through the property. Jason didn’t waste any time, pulled out his fishing pole and caught two fish right away. The boys, especially Colson, were in heaven. It was the perfect little spot, right next to a small playground and just steps from our door. Our little family and Camry took that condo, and the rest of my family was a few buildings away in a bigger condo.

Shortly after, we went into town. Parking was nuts but the city area was so fun with tons of restaurants and shops. We ended up eating in an outdoor area with live music and amazing sandwiches. We took our time eating and enjoying the atmosphere and then walked downtown. We even got ourselves some ice cream. It was such a fun night and great way to start the vacation.

The next day was Sunday. Most of the family slept in and took the morning to relax. We knew that wouldn’t really be an option with our boys, plus we wanted to take advantage of our time at Estes Park so after playing at the little park for a bit, we headed out with Camry and found a short hike called Twin Owls. It was a lot of fun and the weather was great. It was a simple hike, but the view of the Twin Owls Peak was pretty cool. (This was our first trip with our new DSLR we took a lot of pictures...sorry).

The LDS ward/branch is very small there and so they have church at a senior center. The meeting was very good, even if the boys were not.

After church we drove through Rocky Mountain National Park. We stopped for a small waterfall and then journeyed all the way to the top of a mountain to Alpine Visitor Center. It was so cool! You could see so far and it was beautiful. A big storm was brewing so we got to see the dramatic clouds in the background. It was pretty cold and windy up there. We even saw a gorgeous rainbow. That mountaintop was definitely a highlight of the trip.

Up to Alpine Visitor Center:

Jason and I had the breakfast and dinner assignment that day. For breakfast we made overnight oats, and for dinner we made a Gruber favorite, Brandalee’s Chicken. That night we baked some cookies to enjoy during our sort of nightly devotional. That night I gifted my parents our first PicSkip-included photo book. We printed a Shutterfly book of our cruise in November 2016 and included videos from our trip using PicSkip Video Codes. The family loved it!

Monday morning we were back at the little stream by our condo. Colson was obsessed! He never wanted to let go of the fishing pole, even the fake one that Jason made for him. When everyone else was ready, we went back to the national park and hiked around Bear Lake and then up to a waterfall. It was a long hike; Charlie did really well, but eventually near the end he got pretty tired and needed some help and encouragement. I am so grateful that we borrowed a hiking carrier for Colson. He enjoyed walking some of the way, but he did eventually fall asleep in the carrier. That thing was so helpful, even if it was big. It was a sweet hike and waterfall. We had a good time hanging out at the top.

That night, Jason drove me, my mom, and the boys to the Denver Airport. My best friend, Amy Stallings, was getting married the next day and we just couldn’t miss it. So Jason took us to the airport then took the boys to stay the next two nights at the Tuttles. They live about 30 minutes from Denver so that worked out nicely. My mom and I would be flying back on Wednesday so there was no point in driving all the way back to Estes Park just to come back in two days. Those back in Estes Park would be moving on to Granby on Tuesday, so we would be joining up with them on Wednesday in Granby. It was hard to say goodbye to Estes Park after such a short stay. It is so beautiful there and much to do. I am sure we will go back there again some day.

My mom and I flew into Salt Lake late Monday night; it was around midnight. She had worked it out with the Hansens (Kyle’s family) to pick us up and drop us off. A huge thank you to them for helping us out at such crazy hours. Tuesday morning I took the liberty of sleeping in, like really sleeping in. I can’t remember the last time I slept in so long. It was amazing. Mom went to a gym class so I went ahead and finished the season of The Bachelorette that I had missed. It was quite dramatic, but I loved it. After a leisurely morning we headed to Salt Lake for the wedding at the Salt Lake Temple. When we were arriving, my Mom realized that she did not have her recommend. How horrible it would be if we flew all the way out here and she was to miss it because of her recommend!? She was able to get a hold of her church leaders and get it figured out right in the nick of time. It was a great ceremony and Amy looked amazing! Her dress was gorgeous and so unique. Johnny looked great as well. Somehow I didn’t realize that the wedding luncheon was actually a dinner, and it was actually the night before! So we missed that...I was pretty bummed about that. But, in all honesty, we probably couldn’t have made it in any sooner. So we missed the wedding dinner, but we were able to go to the reception that night at Cactus & Tropicals. Again, it was beautiful, and they served delicious cakes of all kinds. Before we knew it we were headed to bed in preparation for an early morning. We had to leave for the airport at 4:00 am.

While we were away at the wedding, Jason and the boys had a great time with the Tuttles. It was fun for them to be there again and to recognize the place since they had just been there in June. They did fun things like flew airplanes at the park and went to Snobahn for indoor tubing and skiing. What a fun day! They even ended it with frozen yogurt. I am so thankful to the Tuttles for taking our family in twice this summer. They are such fun hosts.

The rest of my family spent Tuesday morning doing a hike and then packing up and moving to Granby.

Jason and the boys picked us up from the airport Wednesday morning and then we made the two and a half hour drive to Granby.

(To be continued....)

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