Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Colorado Part 2

On Tuesday we set out with Ben from  Timberline Tours for a morning jeep tour.  When I was looking for activities and talking to the kids about it the boys literally squealed when they saw pictures of the jeep.  We loved the idea of being able to go places that you can't access by car and the tour was AWESOME from start to finish.  We loaded up and headed out at 9 am and had a CHILLY drive out to the trail.

Ben asked us what we wanted to see, talked about what trails were open and we set off.  The trails were CRAZY - only accessible by specialized jeeps (no ATVs or other vehicles can make it up the trail) and the kids giggled constantly as we made our way up above the tree line.

On the way up Ben would stop along the way and point out markings on the trees, talk to the kids about things and answer questions.  

We made it up to this incredible ridge where you could see EVERYTHING.  In fact, you could see all the way to Aspen. Ben taught the kids about how the different rivers form from the show on the top of the mountains and even pointed out the continental divide.

I. Mean.

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We checked out the view from the porch of a "hut" that you can rent a bed (but is only accessible by a specialized jeep), had a snack and Ben had the kids try dandelions (I was cracking up because I can have a hard time getting them to take a bite of veggies and he had them picking and eating weeds!) and they searched for arrowheads and ancient pottery.

Each of the kids found something special to take home (spoiler alert - my kids don't know this but the guide actually "planted" these things for them to find and have as a souvenir)

We headed back down the mountain and Ben took us to a waterfall where the kids searched for geodes...

We had to pretty much drag the kids away from the waterfall to head back to Vail but the ride back wasn't half bad either :)

The two littles rode in the upper seat on the way back to town and Luke rode up front and talked geology ;)

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So I know I captioned the above photo with "jeep hair don't care" but in reality I should have cared and brought a hair tie because OH MY WORD the tangles.  I'm not sure how I didn't think about that before we went but if you take an open air jeep tour DON'T BE AS DUMB as I was.


This tour was SO worth it.  We learned a lot, saw a ton and the guide was great with our kids. 

We got back to the house, had lunch and decided to walk to the park.  One of my kids favorite things about Vail are all the dogs.  It literally seems like everywhere we go there are tons of friendly pups with sweet owners.  Griffin immediately hit it off with Duncan and now we need a golden retriever STAT

We scootered around and had a great afternoon/evening.

Our favorite playground is at Bighorn Park and all three kids love it.

Tuesday night we went over to our friends condo (the ones who were in CO at the same time we were) and played games and spent the night - so much fun!  We headed out bright and early Wednesday morning to make the short drive to our rafting trip.

I had a pretty bad whitewater experience in college but I know that it was an anomaly and don't want my kids to miss out on fun things because I had a freak accident. SOOOO I bucked up and booked us on this half day trip on the upper Colorado.  I picked this trip because it was only class 1 and class 2 rapids, was considered more of a "float" than anything and was appropriate for kids as young as toddlers.  It was also only 2 hours when most trips are 4 hours or longer.  With this being their first time I was hesitant to book a four-hour trip, have one of them not enjoy themselves (or freak out!) and then be stuck out there for 4 full hours.  

Thankfully they all LOVED it and actually ended up begging to "go again" at the end :)

The water was COLD but the guide let them hop in pretty much whenever they wanted and it was hilarious.

She also let them each take a turn paddling (rowing? steering? I don't know) the raft.

We even saw a bald eagle!

The majority of the trip was a float and there were a few small rapids which the kids TOTALLY loved!

About halfway through the trip we stopped at this little beach area...

...and the guides asked if anyone wanted to swim out to "the island" (pretty much just a little sand bar area in the eddy) and all three kids made the trek!  Mason and Griffin had to get some help from the guides (the current and COLD made it hard to swim) but Luke made it out there all on his own!

The guides taught them all about the various kinds of muds in the river and we ended the trip with Luke and our guide cannonballing off the raft :)

If you're considering a rafting trip for your family I'd HIGHLY recommend  this trip.  Taylor was our guide in case you're heading out there this summer and my kids will vouch for her being the best guide on the river ;)  Next time we're there we'll more than likely book a longer trip with a higher class of rapids but this was the PERFECT way to introduce the kids to rafting.

It rained a bit that afternoon and so we hung out and played games and then headed to Vail Village for ice cream, shopping and playing.

My kids all love pirate ship playground (it's in Vail Village right next to the gondola)...

... and wading Gore creek.  This was the lowest we've ever seen it!

Back at the house in time for dinner, games and crown-making :)  Yes... Griffin made everyone crowns.

Happy Tuesday, friends!!!


  1. We lived in Colorado for seven years (we just moved to Australia), and never thought of a jeep tour. I am going to remember for when we are back visiting. So much fun!

  2. My kiddos would LOVE rafting! The thought of all of my kids on a raft gives me major anxiety, but maybe we could handle something like this?

  3. What an amazing trip!! That right there are what memories are made of! Also, it has me wanting to go to Colorado STAT!!

  4. Oh my goodness!! What an adventure!!!! Their smiles say it all!!

  5. I am really freaked out about rafting; for myself and my kid. But this post makes me want to be brave and try it!

  6. It looks like a lot of fun activities! I am with you on rafting though. A float, yes, real rapids, no go. The Olympic Training White Water Center is near Charlotte and I like watching people on the course but would rather go kayaking down a lazy river. I love the personalized crowns from GG.

  7. Jeep hair tangles are REAL. A friend of mine had a Jeep Wrangler in college, and my roommate and I finally ended up buying him a package of hair ties to keep in the glove box because we were forever forgetting ponytail holders when we'd ride with him.

    1. I feel like I always have a hair tie on my wrist and when it actually mattered I didn't. The tangles were AWFUL!!!

  8. Colorado looks beautiful! Will definitely be put on my list of places I want to visit.

  9. Love all the beautiful pictures! That Jeep tour sounds awesome, and the rafting one seems just my speed! ;)

  10. This trip looks like your kids were in HEAVEN!! Best pictures too, and those smiles say it all!

    1. They loved it!!! And isn't that what vacation is all about?!?!


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