Friday, September 2, 2011
Woke to our first morning in Woodland Park. We made pancakes for breakfast, cleaned up and then headed to Diamond Campground to spend the day with Grandpa. Once there, we packed a picnic lunch and drove out to a couple land sites Grandpa was looking at. Then we headed to Manitou Springs to make our train up Pikes Peak.
It was an hour + ride up.
40 minutes at the peak and visiting the gift shop. They have a special doughnut recipe they make for such a high altitude. they sell for .99 each or 6 for $5. Bri bought a bag. they were tastey! Everything else in the shop was waay overpriced! Even the other food was outrageous. But they do have to haul everything 14 miles up the mountain. As we were leaving to load up to come back down, it started hailing tiny pieces of ice. Back down the mountain it became sunny and warm! We started with all the windows down but the closer to we got to the top the colder it became. Very glad we all brought sweat shirts and jackets!
Then another hour + ride down.
Nathan was so excited about this train ride! It just plumb wore him out. his head started bobbing. I tried to hold him so he could sleep more comfortably. He kept saying, "I'm not tired!" Ha! I have proof otherwise.
Back at Diamond, we grilled chicken and zucchini and had baked potatoes and salad for dinner. Back to our campground for a good night's sleep!
Friday morning we fixed breakfast at Diamond, packed a picnic lunch and headed to Buena Vista for our Rafting Adventure on the Arkansas River. We were so excited!
Nathan was too small to go, so he and Grandpa had their own adventure together. They found an ice cream store and then went to a fish hatchery. Nathan was happy to get to feed the fish!
Our time on the river was so much fun! We had a great guide who amazingly enough is from Andover! We told him about our little canoe/kayak business and he knew right where we lived from last years sign! Crazy!
When we started hitting the rapids, the guide, Zach, asked Caleb is he wanted to ride the bull. That meant, Caleb would sit up front with his legs hanging over, holding onto a rope. He did and had a great time! Then Jacob wanted to try. He didn't have a good hold on the rope,and soon went overboard! Bri pulled him back in, everyone laughing! Towards the end, all of the boats beached at a certain spot and those who wanted to, climbed up Jump Rock, 10-12 feet above the water, and you guessed it, jumped off into the frigid cold water below. We all jumped. Even cautious me! I knew if I didn't I would always regret it. Luke and Caleb even jumped twice. At the very end was called swimmers rapid. those who wanted could body surf over the rapids then get pulled back into the boat. Luke, Jacob and Bri did it. It was a little too bumpy for them, but they survived. All in all it was an amazing time!
During our rafting, the guide told us about a small ghost town nearby,and thought the boys would get a kick out of it, so we headed that way once we returned from rafting.
It is a little town called St. Elmo. It was originally a mining town right on the river up in the mountains. It is basically a one street town of old buildings and boardwalks. There is an open gift shop and they are renovating a building into a bed and breakfast. Four wheelers love to drive in and go through the town. What makes it especially fun is the chipmunks! You can buy a bag of seeds and literally feed them from your hand. Unfortunately, my camera battery died so I don't have pictures. :( But we ate our picnic on the board walk
and roamed up and down.
That day was also Grandpa's birthday, so back in town we took him out for Chinese and an ice cream cone for dessert.
Our last full day in Colorado! Waahh! We spent the morning hanging around Diamond Campground. Kids played at the play ground, took showers, sat and visited with Grandpa. Lunch was a hogde podge of leftovers so we wouldn't be dragging so much food back home.
Then we loaded up in Grandpa's Pilot and went in search of a Rock Shop. Caleb is mildly obsessed with rocks and Bri had told him we would find a neat shop for suveniers. Found a great shop with most everything 1/2 off and pretty cheap to begin with. Caleb chose a carved shark and arrowhead. Nathan chose a whale after much deliberation. Jacob got a split geode and Luke chose a large polished geode half. Everyone was very happy.
Back in town, Bri had seen a wine tasting sign at a local store. We tried to go but it had been canceled. So we went to another place and shared a pint and giant pretzel. The beer was pretty nasty compared to New Belgium in Ft. Collins. But a fun mini-date nonetheless.
Back at Diamond, Grandpa grilled burgers for dinner. Bri and his dad talked awhile and then we had to say our goodbyes.
Early the next morning we made pancakes once more then broke camp and loaded up for the long drive back to KS. Coming down from Woodland Park to Colorado Springs the temperature increased 20*! Everyone was pretty bummed to be leaving beautiful Colorado!