Monday, April 1, 2013

Colorado Vacation–the first half

One of the perks to the new school is getting a “winter break” in February.  We still get the “spring break” in March, as well. But since February would be the prime time to take the kids to the snow without the busyness of Spring Breakers, we decided to give it a try. Other than a Christmas in Kentucky, the kids had not had any exposure to snow.  I was a bit nervous about how the kids would do skiing, but then my friend Stacia showed me how her own kids did fine (who are my kids’ ages). Thanks, friend, for the encouragement.
As I was growing up, we never did family vacations like this, and I didn’t see snow or ski until I was in high school. I had always dreamt of taking my own family someday.  It sounds cheesy to say it was a dream come true, but it really kinda was.
All of those windmill pieces go by on I10 are clearly going to good use.  There are thousands of these in the panhandle.
The week before the break I learned that two other families from Summit were going to the same destination. It worked out to be even more fun, and we joked that this was the best joint unplanned vacation!  The Carlins met us at the half-way point, in Lubbock, on our first night.  We then traded people back and forth between our vehicles for the second leg of the drive.  That in itself was such a treat!  Once we made it Colorado, we stayed in the same hotel again, and the next morning, we got up, suited up, and hit the slopes. No time to waste!
Wake up, Dad!  Aren’t you glad we’re sharing a hotel room?
Checking out the “Billy the Kid” museum in Fort Sumner, NM.
Breakfast in this iconic Colorado lodge our first morning in Pagosa Springs.
They have no idea what they’re in for…
Not gonna lie, the first day was a bit rough. Charlie was adamant that he wanted to snowboard, so we enrolled him in lessons. It was extremely difficult. He was crying and frustrated.  Chance and Chandler took the skiing lessons, and then we rode the bunny slopes with them. Chandler couldn’t control himself to stop so he ended up tangled in the (temporary) fence.  It was a bit cold and snowing by the time we left the mountain.  I think Chuck and I both wondered if we’d made the right decision. Not to mention, we were both sore from getting back in the swing of things. 
Chandler in the red jacket on the conveyer belt lift.
Chandler after.
A funny side note. After we got into our rental house that evening, I ran to the grocery store. While there I ran into Abbe Reibel, the mom of the other family. I love how it is a small world!! We caught up again the next day on the mountain.
And also, I forgot how marijuana had been legalized in Colorado…so there were a few times when the smell was so strong, I’d have to remind myself to just relax, it’s…ya know…legal.
The next morning we decided to persevere back to the mountain and it really paid off.  It was a gorgeous day, the mountain was less busy (it was a Monday), and the hot tub the night before had worn away our blues.  After putting the kids in their classes, Chuck and I enjoyed a mini date on the mountain. 
My mountain man. He said the beard truly came in handy in keeping him warm!
I could’ve stayed up there forever. Even with the 3+ layers of clothing!
Charlie had a much better day on the snowboard.  Everyone was relieved!
That night, the Reibels and Carlins came over and we enjoyed dinner together.
And the kids vegged out after a long day of skiing.
We did one more day of skiing, followed by dinner at the Reibels’ place. More on that in the next post. 
The next day, to break things up a bit, we spent the morning doing the other thing the kids had been waiting for: free play in the snow. 
Chandler made me a heart out of snow.
Charlie cleverly crafted a snowball, added water from a nearby dripping gutter, and had a nice tight ball with which to nail targets.
We had lunch in the small downtown area, and walked around a nearly-frozen over river.
And made snow angels.
Then we headed over to a wildlife refuge, to see the local animals up close.
The mountain lion was my favorite.
There are 2 bunnies in this picture. Can you find them?
A Grizzly bear.
A porcupine.
A majestic elk…
Who is docile enough to share his food with the bunnies.
The bunnies ran wild around the place, and were even tame enough to eat out of our hands!
There were many other animals, wolves, a bobcat, goats, and wild turkeys.  I’ll let Chance show you the turkeys…{wait for it....}

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