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NICE!

Snowboarding Sunrise

One of the many reasons I don’t mind getting up early to go snowboarding.

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Got Lake?

More from WI. Have I ever mentioned how glad I am that I have 2 kids and that they actually LIKE each other?

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Serenity Lake

My vacation view for the past week…

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Father’s Day Camping Trip

We went on our first camping trip of the summer . . . it wasn’t a typical camping trip for us – we didn’t do any hiking! But we did get a lot of fishing in, searched for a few geocaches, and saw a bunch of stuff we hadn’t seen because we went to a part of Colorado we hadn’t been to in the 14 years we’ve lived here. Our trip started with a flat tire on the Highlander about 2 1/2 hours into our almost 4 hour drive. We were in the Pizza Hut parking lot changing the tire – we unhooked the popup, but didn’t lock the raise wheel in place before Hubby started cranking to get it off the hitch. WHAM! The trailer fell to the ground. Nice. Luckily, one of the kids from Pizza Hut came out and helped us lift up the trailer so we could put the wheel down and lock it this time :-) A couple hours later we had the tire changed, got the flat one fixed, and were on our way. Then we got to see and do all this . . .

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Hartman Rocks Recreation Area. You really need an ATV for this area, but we still had fun driving around in the Highlander. There is a TON of worthless land, so they let the ATVers and bikers use it for fun. It goes on forever! Pretty cool view.

 

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I baked myself on some rocks like a gecko while the kiddos ran down the trail to climb on those way cooler looking rocks down away from parents.

 

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We tried to find some geocaches . . . we couldn’t find this one, but Dude had a blast climbing on all the rocks while we searched! Did you know that a WWII B52 crashed in the mountains near Gunnison, CO? Me neither. We definitely need to go back and hike up to the crash site!

 

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Our campground was in Taylor Canyon. We drove up the canyon to the Reservoir in search of another geocache. This was the view from where the cache was :-)

 

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Further up the road from the reservoir, way up on 4-wheel drive forest service roads, is Mirror Lake. We headed up there to do some fishing. Hubby and the kiddos fished while I hung out and enjoyed the absolute peace, quiet, and beauty of the mountains. That little bit of snow up there continues to melt and create this fun waterfall that ends up in Mirror Lake. I could’ve sat and listened to it forever!

 

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On the way to the great awesome out-of-the-way fishing lake is a tiny “town” called Tin Cup. It’s so cute and little and old and wonderful! Bill works here . . . and I’m pretty sure Bill knows EVERYTHING that goes on in and around Tin Cup :-) I could totally live here – at least part of the year.

 

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This little cabin is for sale in Tin Cup. I LOVE it. And want to buy it. Except it costs $175,000. For 1,000 square feet. And no yard – just the space the cabin and propane tank sit on. And it’s seasonal. When it snows too much to drive up there, you can’t go. I can’t afford that :-(

 

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Did you know there’s a place in CO called Black Canyon? I didn’t. It’s BEAUTIFUL and huge and big and fun. Dude thought it would be fun to “climb” out of the canyon.

 

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 Of course Princess wanted to go on a climbing adventure as well.

 

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This place is like a mini Grand Canyon in our own backyard! And like the Grand Canyon, pictures do not do it justice. You have to actually be there. We drove down the canyon to the water so the kids could work on their Junior Ranger badges. Had we known, we would have arrived at the park way early in the day and hiked down there. OK, I would have – and Hubby would have – the kiddos might’ve been a bit mad about that since it was around 95 degrees out.

 

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The fam near the edge with the canyon in the background. I could’ve stared at it forever!

 

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There’s a nature trail at the end of the south rim road around the canyon. We weren’t up for a long hike – it was hot and getting late and we were tired. But we did find this awesome spot with this great view! Telluride is way out there in those mountains somewhere.

 

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This is what you get when your brand new Junior Rangers take the camera exploring at the campground.

 

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This is what you get when you send the kids out to gather some kindling. Apparently, they thought there would be kindling way at the top of the rocks behind out campsite. Certain death if they had fallen off the edge. At least they got a good shot of the new-to-us popup that we absolutely loved! So much easier than the other one – we downsized and upgraded . . . we love it! The kiddos were bummed our campsite didn’t have a tent pad. They wanted to sleep in the new tent while we slept in the popup. I was glad there wasn’t a tent pad – it made it easy for me to say “no” to the tent sleeping. The first thing the campground host said when we pulled in was that they have a bear, and they’ve seen it quite a few times. It’s just a little guy, but he’s out there wandering around. Um, nope – not gonna leave the kids in the tent alone if there’s a bear cub wandering around eating things :-) And if there’s a popup, I’m not sleeping in the tent.

 

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I’m not sure what my Junior Ranger Princess is doing . . . but she and Dude were gone looking for kindling for a long time! I’m glad they took my camera with them :-)

 

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On our way home, we headed back to Tin Cup to fish in the kids’ fishing pond. There were SO many fish in there – and the water was completely clear. The kiddos didn’t even have to watch their bobbers . . . they would just watch the fish swim to the worm and then set the hook when the fish took a bite :-)

 

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Princess was a riot. She’d drag a worm out of the bait container, play with it, kiss it, put it on her hook, and catch a fish. She had a blast! Too bad we didn’t have anywhere to put the fish for our drive home . . . it was a catch and release day for us.

 

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Teamwork to get the fish off the hook . . . there was no helping allowed by the big people!

 

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After eating lunch at Frenchy’s Cafe right next to the kid pond, we headed home. We drove the unpaved narrow curvy forest service road over Cottonwood Pass . . . which is right on the Continental Divide. There were so many awesome views . . . and if we weren’t totally pooped and needing to get home, we would have gotten out and done some hiking.

We did drive through a number of campgrounds on our way home and mark down our favorite spots. We didn’t get to do nearly as much as we discovered we could do in that area of the state, so we’ll definitely be going back. We had a great time, and the kiddos absolutely loved actually catching fish for a change :-) But next time, we’ll have to get out on the trails a bit more and check out some more of the back country :-)

How about you? Did you have a good Father’s Day?

Memorial Day Weekend – Day 2 – A Complete Bust

It only got worse from Day 1 . . . on Day 2, we woke up and headed back to Grand Lake for buffet breakfast at the Fat Cat Cafe – TOTALLY worth it. Yummy! The English couple that runs the place is delightful, and the food (especially the pastries and other desserts) is amazing.

With full tummies, we headed back to the cabin to change and get ready for some geocaching! Lo and Behold, the lure of a gravel road around a large beautiful lake got the best of us. There was a campground? Only 9 miles down that dusty dirt road? Of course we went to check it out!

We were not disappointed. The drive itself was fun, but we were happy as clams when we discovered the campground. Finally, a secluded campground that didn’t have all the trees cut down from the beetle kill. We decided to head up the road a little further to check out a little lake that was supposedly up there . . . we were not disappointed. Always ready, we grabbed our gear out of the Highlander and did this.

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Again, no luck in the actually catching fish department, but it was quiet and rustic and beautiful and the kids were content. Ahhhhhhhhhh.

Back to the cabin, we got our gear to go geocaching! The first one said “there might be a little brush bashing if you take the direct route from the trailhead rather than stay on the trail.” A little brush bashing my ass! THIS was the brush bashing:

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Along with the first successful geocache find of the day, Dude and Princess also found this awesome little “fort” as they called it.

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Back on the trail, we had successful find of geocache #2 beneath a Juniper bush about 100 yards up (and down and around) the trail.

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Back on the trail, Dude started to lead us to geocache #3. After a little while, I made him read me the clue again . . . something about an awesome view of some Peak off to the southeast. Hmmmmmmm . . . if the peak we can see is to the southeast, why are we heading DOWN the trail to the northwest? “Because that’s what the arrow says!” I just have to say that if it weren’t for my logical thinking that maybe, just maybe, the trail that goes up might take a sharp turn, we’d have followed Dude into lala land. The electronics are not foolproof – or 9 year old proof (or 39 year old proof for that matter).

Anyhoo, we had successful geocache #4 find about a mile later.

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For those of you who are not familiar with geocaching, you go online to the geocaching web site, locate geocaches you want to find, and download the coordinates into your GPS. You can also print the clues and decipher them for a little help. Then you head out hiking and follow the arrows and distances on the GPS to get you to the cache. Caches can be of all shapes and sizes . . . they usually have a log book to record your name and the date of the find and also have little trinkets inside to trade. If you take something, you must leave something . . . this, of course, is the most fun of geocaching for the kids – the hike is the fun part for me and Hubby :-) Princess hit the motherlode in this geocache and traded a little marble maze toy for a shiny purply fish necklace.

Then we headed on to geocache #4 . . . which required a drive in the car. Successful find #4 was here:

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Princess got HUGE eyes when she saw a tube of glittery lip gloss in the tin! I put the cabosh on that trade because it didn’t have a safety seal on it – explaining to Princess why she couldn’t have lip gloss without a seal. She was all bummed, but wasn’t willing to give up the fish necklace for anything else in there.

Then we got half way back to the car . . . and Dude decided he didn’t like his trade and wanted to go back – so he and Princess went back while Hubby and I went to the car. The kiddos got back and we were off. Then we realized Princess had taken the lip gloss; so we made her give it to us so we could throw it away. Oh. My. GAWD! Complete tired hungry thirsty 7 year old girl tantrum – right there in the car. We got to the trailhead of geocache #5 and I stayed in the car with Princess while Hubby and Dude went searching . . . it was an easy find. I got out to help them because they found the location, but not the cache. Princess followed me . . . we had successful geocache #5 find for the day, and Dude made the appropriate trades and signed the log.

How fun! 5 for 5 – WOO HOO!

Time for awesome dinner at a little pub in town before heading to a local kids’ fishing pond to try for some more fish. Amazingly, this happened!

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And then this happened!

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Could it be a trout big enough to actually keep and maybe eat? Why yes, yes it is . . . until it falls off the hook back into the lake because Dude didn’t bring it onto shore while I shouted over and over at him to look at me so I could get a picture of the very first big enough to eat fish he’s caught.

No fish for us.

Oh well – s’mores at the cabin were a good consolation prize.

Awesome breakfast, great finds on campgrounds and secluded fishing lakes, successful 5 for 5 day hiking and geocaching, yummy dinner, successful fishing, and s’mores. Yes – Day 2 was definitely a complete bust. Check back to see how terrible our last day – Day 3 – turned out to be!

Wordless Wednesday – Gone Fishin’

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Out of Your Comfort Zone

I just love this picture of my little Princess. She’d just hiked 3 miles up a trail to get to 10,089 feet. She had whined a bit on the way up and wondered why we had to go “all the way up to the top.” I told her we didn’t HAVE to do anything . . . but sometimes you need to step out of your comfort zone if you want to see and do some amazing things.

I’d say a 6 year old hiking 3 miles at that elevation and getting to see this is an amazing thing.

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Notice the sticks in her butterfly net . . . she found those very early on in the hike and carried them the entire way – she couldn’t bear to leave them on the trail because THOSE were THE sticks that would be the perfect kindling to help us make our campfire that night :-)

She was bummed she didn’t catch a butterfly in her net – she dressed in bright pink colors because butterflies like bright colors – but she did admit more than once that yes, it was so worth it and she was glad she stuck it out and made it to the top. She had every right to be proud of herself.

We can all get stuck in our comfort zone – it’s easy to do, and life is usually easier there. But we want our kids to understand and appreciate the joy, excitement, and satisfaction you can feel when you step out of your comfort zone and do something different.

How do you step out of your comfort zone?

The Kid Has Some Values

His mom should be proud.

Every now and then, I get discouraged at the state of our kids. Not any kids specifically, just kids in general. I’d like to believe that kids are generally good people – I know that they are. They are, afterall, just kids. But for me, the issue is their lack of respect for others, especially adults. Their lack of ambition. Their entitlement attitude. And the list goes on.

Yesterday, I took the kids up skiing and boarding in Breckenridge. Princess was in a lesson, so I had the entire day with Dude. We had a great time. He got to choose what runs we did, when we did them, when we took a break, when we ate lunch. It was his day. Twice he chose to take the Four O’Clock To Town run. It’s a long green run that takes you all the way into Breckenridge, right to the bus stop. I figured why not. We can practice our turns and all that jazz. Of course Dude thought it was fun to ride the bus to the gondola then ride the gondola back up to Peak 8.

Anyway . . . we had crossed the road to wait for the bus. There is also another bus stop on the other side of the road. Two young adults (19? Early 20s?) showed up with their boards. The girl was obviously mad about something. She started talking rather loudly to the guy. He turned around and said “You need to chill out! And you need to stop cussing all the time. ESPECIALLY when there are children around!” as he pointed across the street to where we were sitting. I waved at him to say thanks.

I’m not even that kids mom and I was proud of him. Proud that he noticed we were even way across the street. Proud that he noticed that Dude was a child. Proud that he had the guts to tell that girl to zip it and have some manners. Proud that in a place where manners aren’t always at their best, this guy thought of the only two other people that were around instead of getting caught up in what was going on with himself at that exact moment.

His mom should be proud.

Now if someone would talk to the idiot who felt he needed to light up on the lift for the beginner hill -the one that all the kids in lessons and beginners practicing use! Not the most pleasant ride up the lift in the middle of the beautiful Colorado Rockies on a clear sunny day.

Early Christmas Presents

We exchanged gifts with Queen Taunya yesterday since getting together again before Christmas will be difficult. Look what she brought us from DUBAI!!!

The Dubai Mighty Camels are ready to take the ice at the next open skate!

Oh, and is anyone else surprised there’s a hockey team in Dubai?

I Keep Looking At My Calendar

And it’s empty! This entire weekend is blank. The only thing it says is “Hubby Fly” because he’s gone glying this weekend. Other than that, the rest is blank. Totally blank.

Yet I FEEL like I have something going on . . . like I have somewhere to be . . . or something to contribute to . . . and that I’m going to miss it.

Such an odd feeling, this one of having absolutely nothing on the calendar for an entire weekend. I guess I’ll shrug and enjoy it, and maybe even finish the rest of my to do list. Or we could go ice skating. Or I could hang out and *gasp* READ in silence while the kids play outside. Or we could have a mini Wii tournament. Or we could do another puzzle. Or we could ride bike to the park and ice cream shop if the snow melts. Or we could play yet another game of Monopoly. Or we could order pizza and watch movies. Or we could play baseball out in the cul de sac. The possibilities are endless!

Or, we could do nothing, which kind of seems like a good plan for the first time in ever and the last time in the near future.

Oh – if you’re the one I have something planned with this weekend, call me because I’ve forgotten and won’t show up!