Friday, August 4, 2017

VAIL (Road Trip, Part 2)

Every summer we return to the same spot high up in the Rockies that's won our hearts and makes our eyes sparkle: Vail, CO. (Here's 2016 & 2012 - missed a few years on the blog.)
And we rave so much about it that this year our neighbors, the Guzzos, took the same 10 hour road trip and pulled right in to Manor Vail Lodge on a Saturday with us darting toward their rental SUV in a pandemonium of sheer excitement (we arrived the day before). It's so fun to have great neighbors and even more fun to get to hang out together in gorgeous Vail. 

We usually call our time here "Camp Connelly" because it's a time for our family to have fun together and also reflect, set goals and dream dreams, but I guess we'll just have to combine last names and call it CAMP GUZZELLY.
We still made some Camp Connelly shirts for our tribe. Mark hates this. But the kids and I love it. :)
And I forgot to snap photos but the kids created a schedule of events and helped me create this year's Camp Connelly checklist. Here are screen shots from our music VIDEO:
Love the creativity of this girl.
Let's begin with a quick tour of Vail...
It's like Bavaria in the Rockies, with flowers spilling out of window boxes galore.

I usually snap a photo of the kids at this bridge every year but forgot this year, dang it!
The Four Seasons.
Lionshead Village.
Our not-so-favorite fountain anymore, since this year Lorelei scraped up her knee and fell in, fully clothed. :( We rushed to the bus sopping wet while the rest of the gang headed out for pizza, Lorelei changed lickety-split, and we made it back to the pizza joint in time to order. Love that free bus service in Vail!
The gondola station in Lionshead.

And Vail has the best parks. All creative, fun, original - kid paradise!

On our second day, we headed up the mountain for Epic Discovery Adventure Park. Love the slight look of trepidation on Ava's face as we headed up up up on the gondola.
They're looking pretty excited for those tubes, bungee trampolines, climbing walls, adventure courses and that mountain coaster...

We also did a scavenger hunt to find "Seeker Stones" that I made with gold foil ahead of time, each with a clue and a map that led to various landmarks in Vail...

I adore this mama bear with her cubs. I feel the same love for mine!

The last S-E-E-K-E-R stone, R, led to the pirate park where the kids found journals they had decorated with camping songs and other fun things I added inside...

Which led to a complete meltdown because Gryffy couldn't believe that I had added anything to his journal. He wanted a blank journal. BLANK!

It was a rough moment, but eventually he came around, and apologized for getting so upset. And he even sang a camp song or two with the fam. :)
We hiked along Gore Creek, which runs through Vail with trails hugging it.

And we went on our traditional night hike.
Passersby were dazzled. 

Gryffy's looking especially "bad."
On Monday we went rafting.
Love him.

It was my favorite part of the trip, complete with a 30+ foot jump off a cliff for me! It felt exhilarating!

And Gryffy and Ava jumped off another (smaller) cliff.

Lorelei thought the raft was adventure enough. But she looks pretty exhilarated, too!
On Tuesday, we went riding at Vail Stables.

Look at that hunky cowboy, y'all.
Don't let those smiles fool you. Gryffy had a rough horse last year ("Montana" ate every shrub in sight) and was a bit nervous. This year, he got Lorelei's horse from last year, and she got to ride his. Which meant both of them were nervous.

But it was all worth it!
After horseback rides we parted ways, and I got to lunch with my second grade BFF, Erica, and her kids at The Old Spaghetti Factory in Denver.
Then we dropped Mark at the airport for a flight back to KC, and commenced our Mom & Kids continued road trip to the north toward Estes Park... (more to come)

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