Thursday, July 21, 2022

Family Camp Part 2


Wednesday is "off camp" day where families head off camp to go check out some local happenings.  Some people do the Horn Peak hike (a really big hike that starts right at camp), others go white water rafting, some check out the Royal Gorge, some visit other cities, etc.  Our first year we did the train that runs through the royal gorge and last year we did a day at our favorite resort in Colorado Springs.  This year we decided to do a day-long jeep tour!  We'd done a jeep tour in Vail and all the kids loved it so we figured we'd give it another shot and it was SUCH a great day!

The tour started in Canon City (a little less than an hour away from camp) and we needed to be there at 8:30 and get some gas on the way so it was a bit of an early morning for us ;)

We loaded up and headed out with another group in tow and our first stop was checking out some dinosaur footprints (these are the bottom) of them...

... right along  skyline drive (photo source linked)...

... which had several of us a bit nervous ;) hahaha. 

After that we headed out of Canon and started our climb in elevation.  Our guide was AWESOME!  Mr. Richard made lots of stops to point things out, give us a history or geography or geology lesson and really engaged with our kids.  

The whole route followed the "gold belt" railroad route and one of our favorite parts was seeing the tunnels.  It's kind of hard to see but at the top of this tunnel you can still see soot on the "ceiling" which is so cool!

At one of our later stops we even got to see a photo of the exact tunnel we took the above photo in front of!

Heading up the trail Richard stopped to let the kids rub aspen trees and try out some of their "natural sunscreen"...

... stopped to grab us each a mullein leaf to feel (they're a great "natural toilet paper" because they're so soft)...

... and stopped when we spotted some graupel on the side of the trail so we could take a handful and feel it.  HE WAS THE BEST!

Our lunch stop was in Victor and the drive up was probably my favorite part of the whole day.  The views were STUNNING!

We stopped at the cutest Gold Camp Bakery for lunch where they make all their own German (and American) baked goods on site.  The Jeep company had called ahead with our orders (we placed them when we got to the depot that morning) and the sandwiches were waiting for us when we got there and OH MY WORD they were so good!

We picked up a few packages of their cookies for the road, checked out their darling magazine/game stand (I love that they had games out for people to play!) and got back on the trail for the afternoon.

Richard took us to check out some really cool mines in Victor and Cripple Creek...

.... and then we snuggled up in the jeep as we headed to go see a strip mine.  

I really had no idea what to expect and was absolutely blown away by the scale of it all.  This is a gold mine near Cripple Creek (the Newmark Mine Overlook)

... it was almost unreal to look at and the scale was really hard to comprehend until you'd see these teeny little vehicles driving and realized that they were GIANT dump trucks.  Really a cool thing to get to see and a neat way to see "modern mining" since we'd been learning all about mining history.

The next stop was the Heritage Center in Cripple Creek and we were all super impressed with this little gem of a "mini museum".  The displays were interactive and really well done and they had some amazing photography and "artifacts" from the mines we had just been looking at.

The view wasn't too shabby, either.

We stayed for about 20 minutes and then hit the road again with Mr. Richard...

We had to go down a few thousand feet and this girl was WIPED from the sun, mountain air and carbs ;)

The last hour or so we were on "shelf road" which literally was a one lane dirt path/shelf about 700+ feet up.  It was bumpy and twisty and I may have white-knuckled it most of the way ;)

The views were EXCELLENT though!

We swung through Starbucks because we were back in civilization and mama needed some caffeine and then headed back to camp.  Dinner that night was lemon butter chicken followed by "Live at Sky".  It was a night of skits and fun little performances put on by the counselors.  The kids thought this was AWESOME and when it was done we headed to the rec center for some late-night bowling and smoothies.

Thursday morning was the "pancake toss" breakfast....

... which is pretty self explanatory ;)

And that day we did alpine swing, bowled some more (seriously don't know why my kids love bowling so much - hahaha) and snuck in some water slide time before a BIG OL' thunderstorm rolled in

Thursday night was "Glo Crazy" for the kids and "Parents Night Out" for the adults.  Kids got dropped off around 5:30 for a night of mac and cheese and chicken nuggest, a glow party, games, snacks and a movie and parents could pick up a "to go" charcuterie board from the kitchen to enjoy and/or head into town for dinner. 

Dave and I have a love affair with Tonys Mountain Pizza in Westcliffe pretty much for this specific flatbread that I can't remember the name of but it has mushrooms, onions, ricotta and balsamic. YES MA'AM.

We followed up our cheese covered carbs with more cheese covered carbs...

.... and then made our way back to camp to hang out for a little bit before the end of kids night.

So the week that we went this year (and last year) is a "legacy week" where families who have been coming to the camp for 50+ years (before it was Sky Ranch it was Horn Creek and I believe it's been around for about 70 years) try to come together.  We had no clue when we booked originally and not every family who is there is a "legacy" family but it's SO COOL to see multi-generation families attend together and they bring some of their own Horn Creek traditions with them like "skit night".  This wasn't Sky Ranch organized but someone put a sign up sheet on the lodge desk earlier in the week and encouraged families/groups to put together skits and after parents night out there would be skit night in the lodge.  IT WAS SO MUCH FUN!!! Seriously so cute and Griffin got out there and did two little skits with friends that she made and it was just a really fun time. 


Friday was our last full day on camp so after breakfast tacos we hit the ground running to do #allthethings 

Friday night there was a special dinner (caesar salad, steak, grilled asparagus, etc.) followed by family blessing time and then campfire. 

SUCH a sweet night and great kind of "finale" to everything.  Griffin and I were WIPED and she and I headed back to the cabin for showers (and I packed up a bit) and the boys went to the rec center for some more rounds of bowling and nuke 'em with friends.  This week was extra sweet because there were a LOT of boys my boys ages.  They all played HARD and so well all week and it was just really neat to see. 

Saturday morning we got the car all packed, had one last breakfast with our counselor and were on the road by 8:30 a.m.

We missed the CO sign on our way in (they moved it between this year and last!) so we had to make a quick stop...

... and then we drove all the way to Amarillo, grabbed some lunch and then drove the rest of the way home with 1 bathroom and 1 Dairy Queen break.  Traveling with bigger kids has perks FOR SURE!

It was SUCH a great week and we're so grateful for the time to get away as a family.  We LOVE family camp and I'd strongly encourage you to check it out of CO is somewhere you've been wanting to check out with your family.  

HAPPY Thursday, friends!!!


  1. Trip recap posts have gotta be my favorite! LOVED seeing all your pics!

  2. Looks like y'all had a great week! Colorado in the summer is the BEST!!

  3. What an incredible trip and life-long memories you are making together!! So cool that it has become a tradition for you :)

    1. What a great week! Would love to try this sometime. We love Colorado! Have your kids ever been to the Great Sand Dunes? It is nearby (sort of) but think there is only one road in and out. My family really enjoys it.


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