As soon as I saw the snow capped mountains I knew we were going to be someplace better.
We rolled into camp in the early evening and with a ranger's help got setup in a spot not far from the spot we had already reserved for the end of the week. Then we immediately went swimming in the reservoir.
The campground was quiet and the temperatures were only in the low eighties. What's better is that it dropped to the fifties overnight!
When we found out we'd be heading east earlier than expected, I booked a short horse back ride for the whole family for Wednesday. I was so excited to get everyone on horses I could barely contain myself.
We were each assigned a horse. I got Bart, Samus got Rojo, Lucas rode Whisky, and Marcus got little Peanut. Jason got Cider.
Thankfully I was at the back of the crew and got to see everyone interact with their horse.
To say that Cider was not thrilled to be carrying our heaviest member was an understatement. She was making all kinds of noise and kept darting for grass. She even passed Bart and me at one point. Jason asked me, "why is your horse behaving?". "Because I know how to use him," I replied.
Sam's horse was also a prolific grass eater. But Samus wasn't afraid to yank the reins and get Rojo back on track. Marcus was being led by the trail guide so his ride was pretty uneventful. Then there was Lucas and Whiskey. Whiskey was not really into going on a trail ride just then. He would slow down or stop every few steps. The trail guide told Luke to give him a good kick, but Lucas suddenly became the most gentle child ever. Finally the guide gave Luke a stick and told him to give whiskey a tap on the butt to get him to keep moving. Unfortunately Lucas' interpretation of a tap was more like a piece of cotton floating down to the ground. Needless to say, Whiskey just did what he wanted for the duration of the trail ride.
In the end everybody had had a great time. Except Jason, who was sore. After 45 minutes of riding.
Afterwards, we toured the quaint downtown and everybody got their souvenirs. And ice cream. Which was becoming a daily "need".
We wrapped the night with swimming in the campground's reservoir.
Thursday we decided to seek out one of the towns namesake hot springs.
It was like the town's city pool except it was fed by a hot spring. There was a series of seven different pools. They went from the hottest and most unfiltered on the left to the coldest and most filtered (and most like a swimming pool) on the right. We all enjoyed the warmer pools and the boys loved going down the waterslide.
Friday was the day we had scheduled our white water rafting trip down the Colorado River. None of us really knew what to expect so we were all a little apprehensive.
We got a totally cool river rat kind of guy who kept us all together and heading down the river in the right direction. Who knew you sat on the edge of the raft? Not me. But that's where Samus and Marcus stayed for the whole trip. Do not even get me started on how fearful I was about Marcus falling out of the boat. But he made it. On the ride down, cool guide dude told us all about the history of the area we were rafting and pointed out wildlife.
Toward the end of the trip, we stopped at a tall looming rock face where we could choose to jump into the water. It looked scary from the boat. But I knew if I didn't do it I'd regret it. So up the cliff side Jason and I scuttled. Two girls went before me and then it was time for courage. I surprised myself and just jumped. And then I fell for what I felt like was two minutes. But I fell with grace. At least that's what I thought until we saw the pictures. My mouth was wide open screaming (which I don't remember), and my legs were all akimbo. I truly thought I went in like a toothpick.
While we were only shooting class two Rapids (and one class three), it was a total hoot!
That evening we decided to check out the other spring in Steamboat called Strawberry Springs. This place was way more rustic. None of the water was filtered and you could jump into the river with the fish anytime you wanted to cool off. It was fun too and would be amazing in the winter.
I'm not going to sugar coat anything here. We were still doing fun things and making memories, but we were ready to be home. Tempers flared, squabbles broke out easily, and exhaustion was written across everyone's face. Jason and I made the executive decision to make our next stop our last. We would have a super long last day getting home, but that's what needed to happen.
That night the boys and I snuggled as they fell asleep. It was wonderful.