Thursday, July 6, 2023

Family Vacation - Colorado


Our family vacation this summer took us out to the Lone Duck Campground at the base of Pike's Peak, near Colorado Springs Colorado.  We made a lot of great memories and had a fantastic trip - it was honestly one of my favorite trips we have ever taken as a family!

Our first stop was after a 6 hour drive to a KOA near Omaha, Nebraska.

After pitching our campsite, we made hotdogs and beans for dinner.

The kids enjoyed the fun of the campground, including a great playground, zipline, and bounce pillow.

Pancakes and eggs were on the menu for morning #1.

Doin' dishes with a smile :)

After packing up our campsite, we drove the rest of the 8 hours to our home for the week, a campsite at Lone Duck Campground.  We made just one stop to switch drivers, and make a bathroom/fuel/food stop.  

The kids sprang into action when we got into our new campground and loved helping set up everything and start a fire.

Tortellini for Dinner

View from the Campground

Cute Sleepyhead

On our first full day in CO we spent the morning at the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo.

Midafternoon, we headed to the Pioneer Museum.

When we got back to the campsite, everyone started helping get ready for dinner.  Larkyn got us some fresh flowers for our dinner table.

Summer made us a laundry line and hung up our towels.

Colton and Paul getting the fire going.

Hanging out

Spaghetti was tonight's dinner.

On our second day in CO, we drove to Paint Mines Interpretive Park.

The hike was quite buggy.

The landscape was amazing!

Photographer Larkyn requested to take this photo of us!

The flowers all throughout this hike were absolutely incredible.

After hiking, we pulled out a picnic lunch from the cooler in our trunk and headed to the Olympic Museum, where we spent our afternoon.  It had a lot of cool  interactive exhibits, stories, and memorabilia.  One exhibit was a collection of Olympic Medals from each year of the Olympics, which was fascinating!

We came back to our campground for a quick swim before dinner....which ended up being a REALLY quick swim!  5 minutes after hopping into the pool, a thunderstorm blew in and it was intense!

Thankfully, despite a long period of hail and rain that pooled and went rushing past our tent, everything in our tent stayed dry and Paul was able to keep the chicken and mac and cheese from burning (super dad!) despite being hailed on while he cooked!

Our evening continued to get more memorable, as we realized that Larkyn was suffering from altitude sickness.  Sweet girl was a trooper keeping her interactions with the ziplock bag we kept near her pillow nearly silent throughout the night so her siblings could sleep.   We all prayed that she would feel better by the next day, her birthday!  We thank the Lord that around 4:30am she started to sleep more peacefully and had no further episodes. 

Birthday girl and her raspberries for breakfast!

For our animal lover's birthday, we booked a horseback riding tour through Garden of the Gods.  It was a huge hit!

We came back to our campsite for lunch and birthday donuts!

That afternoon, we headed to the Glen Eyrie Castle to take a tour of the mansion, which is now owned by Navigators.

The kids all thought the secret passageway was cool!

The grounds of the castle were absolutely gorgeous.

Summer and I enjoyed the rose garden.

Then, it was BIRTHDAY DINNER time.  Larkyn requested McDonald's for her birthday meal, and thoroughly enjoyed her cheeseburger, fries, and slushy.

Birthday girl!

Present Time!

New mountain bike gloves

New Lego People

A bird feeder and birdwatching book from Summer

Rain moved our party into the tent, where Larkyn opened slime from Colton.

She loved her fashion design kit, which has fabric, ribbons, mini manequins, and many other supplies to make different fashion designs.

Her favorite present was a game that has been on her list for months, "Taco Cat Goat Cheese Pizza", which we played that evening.

We awoke to a BEAUTIFUL day the next morning, and enjoyed a nice leisurely breakfast and playing with Larkyn's new slime.

We then headed to the Manitou Cliff Dwellings and enjoyed climbing around this historic site, as well as visiting the museum onsite.

After grabbing a picnic lunch from the cooler during our drive, we headed to Cheyenne Canyon.   We hung out in the van for a while to wait out the thunderstorm, and then hiked around Helen Hunt Falls.  

After hiking, we all enjoyed a relaxed evening at the campsite, filled with reading, nature artwork (Larkyn discovered that many items of nature around the campsite could be used to make art, including filling a leaf with mud and using it as a black pen!), and making a torch out of sticks and brush.

One example of Larkyn's several dresses she made on our trip from her fashion design kit.

artwork made out of nature items the girls found.

Making a torch.

campground walk

Larkyn liked getting piggy backs to and from the campground bathroom, which was a bit of a hike from our campsite :)

Late night popcorn and cards!

Our last day in CO was adventure day!  We drove to the royal gorge for ziplining in the morning and white water rafting in the afternoon.

The course we zipped had 9 zips with short hikes in between.  The longest zip was over 1000 feet!  Everyone LOVED it!

After a delicious lunch at the Whitewater restaurant, we got enjoyed playing at the park and enjoying the grounds before our turn to go white water rafting.

We enjoyed our final CO dinner at a smokehouse near Pikes Peak, and got ourselves organized to leave the next morning.

After packing up our campsite, we headed to Minneapolis, Kansas to visit my cousin Heather and her family for the 4th of July.  Larkyn especially enjoyed meeting all of the animals on their land!

What a fun bunch of kids!

Our final day was spent driving the 8 hours between Minneapolis, Kansas and Minneapolis, Minnesota.  

It was SUCH an amazing trip, and I am so grateful for all the time I got to spend with my favorite people!


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