Saturday, June 30, 2012

Family time in Vail

I'm finally getting around to posting photos from Vail. I've been secretly hoping that the nice family white water rafting with us would have sent us photos by now (I was too scared to bring my nice camera along... apparently they were a bit more daring, seeing as we both owned the same camera, and promised to email photos they so graciously took of us.  I'll just have to post those later).
At any rate, we had a crazy fun, adventurous time in my old home state, which is the most beautiful state in the continental Etas-Unis in my ever so humble opinion. 
It was a sad week for Colorado as the state's worst wildfires tore up Colorado Springs to the south and the Boulder area to the north--we were very fortunate as we had considered staying in both of those locations (south for the Garden of the Gods, north for Estes Park) and just on a whim decided on Vail instead. It was so scary to watch the news and see so many people losing their homes.
We stayed at this glorious place, Manor Vail Lodge, at the far eastern end of Vail Village. Our room was perfectly situated to get us where we needed to go; Mark even jotted down the exact room number before we left and plans to request it again next year. We're thinking this whole Camp Connelly-takes-Vail might just become an annual, family-building thing.
We didn't spend much time here with all the fun to be had outside, but we did love our room.

And the pool and hot tubs were directly outside our patio, all heated to perfection. 
Let's get a look at that puddle hopper.

Lorelei practiced her swimming skills with me.
And both kids were climbing all over Daddy.

Vail has some amazing parks. We loved this park, which was right beside our lodge, the amphitheater and the rock gardens.

Stylin' in my white socks. Yeah, great look.
But if we had to pick a favorite, well, I think it goes without saying...
The fountains everywhere are kid friendly.  Lorelei and Gryffin jumped into this one to splash around on a hot afternoon.

And pretty soon they were joined by a whole village of children.  Trendsetters, we.
They were so excited to discover a gold-speckled rock.

We enjoyed some great dining, especially the hibachi grill. Always a hit with the kids.
Excuse the photo quality here, but this kind man offered to give us a free taxi to the square and we couldn't say no.  He did get a very nice tip.
Notice the sashes here?  I knew I would have to motivate those kids (especially Lorelei) to try some daring things, because what's a mountain vacation without a bit of adventure?  So for most of our big activities, the kids could earn badges.
Gryffy's showing off his Sylvan Grove badge (from when we visited friends in Western Kansas) and his White Water Rafting Bravery Badge here.  They also earned badges for visiting my hometown (Aurora, CO), hiking mountain trails, the night hike, riding the gondola, working as a team and the alpine slides at Breckenridge. Just don't tell Gryffy that's a girl's sash, okay?
One thing I loved to do as a kid was to whistle on aspen leaves. Our next door neighbors had a cluster of aspen trees, and I used to pick them bare to perfect my leaf whistle. It was fun teaching L and G this native skill :o)
They both figured it out.
The hiking here (for this hiking family) was incredible.

Walking sticks in: 1-2-3-Connelly!
Mark kept teasing me about silly things like our family chant, the badges, and the headlamps I made us all strap on for our night hikes.  Every time I took a photo, he'd forego the typical "cheese" utterance for something even cheesier: "Kids, can you say: Clark W. Griswold?" 
I answer to the nickname with unabashed pride. 

A friendly couple from Highlands Ranch that we kept running into snapped this little shot. I love those Rocky Mountains. I used to walk toward them on my way to school each morning.
They have a fun little spot on top of the mountain for horse rides, rock walls, dino bone digs, and this bungee trampoline.
The kids loved it so much that Mark let them go twice.
I decided once was quite enough.  Ow, my thighs still hurt.

The Griswold Connelly Family Night Hike.
It was super fun once the sky turned dark.  I'm glad I bought these and the glow sticks before our trip--they cost four times more at Vail, but then so do most things.
On our way to see friends in Denver, we made a stopover at Breckenridge Mountain.
Lorelei was terrified getting on and off the open ski lift, and Mark even got reprimanded at the top because the lift almost clobbered him as he tried to pry Lorelei (clinging for dear life) off.

Daddy & Lorelei, and Mommy & Gryffy, raced down the mountain.  
Gryffy and I had to make full stops several times as the slow pokes inched along.
We were at top speed.
Loved that slide!
I think we'll be crossing this bridge again in the near future.
Glorious alpine beauty + the people I love most in this world.

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