We began last Wednesday by loading up the car and driving to a yurt in the Never Summer Wilderness. Staying in a yurt is the most luxurious way to camp. There was a queen sized bed with a very comfortable mattress and a futon for Ava to sleep on. It had solar and propane lights, a propane stove, and a grill outside. Yurts have a round, clear dome on the top for letting in the sun and moon light. We were very relaxed in the yurt and quickly grew accustomed to the morning meal, hike or walk, lunch, reading, nap, dinner, sleep. Ava created art work while we read books. She can entertain herself for long periods of time, which we greatly appreciate (as I type she is playing with some disposable cups that have pictures of animals on them. I can hear them “talking” to each other and trying to help each other out of a mud pit). Ava’s review of the yurt: It was comfortable and the s’mores were delicioso.
After two nights in the yurt (wish it would have been available for one more), we went to Steamboat Springs for a three night stay. Ava’s not yet the outdoor enthusiast her parents are, but she’ll get there. The highlights of the trip were:
Hot Springs Pool in town- the whole family loved this one. Several different pools with varying temperatures. Ava practiced swimming for hours and is almost getting the hang of it. Now that she isn’t afraid to put her face in, she is determined to swim. She just can’t get her whole body to float for very long. At one point she said, “Mom, I am swimming! I can do everything!” Ava’s review: The hot springs pool in town was really fun.
Bike Ride along the Yampa River Path- We rented bikes one morning in Steamboat so we could ride along the scenic Yampa River trail. We signed up to get a Burley trailer for Ava, but it was broken, so the man asked if we wanted a tag along bike for her (the kind you attach to the grown-up bike so it makes it like a tandem). I was nervous Ava wouldn’t hold on tight enough or would get distracted and fall off. My worries were for nothing- she was fabulous and she loved it. We rode about 14 miles, stopping only once to eat our picnic in the botanic gardens (picnic was from the farmer’s market- fresh peaches, smoked salmon, sheep cheese, and chocolate dipped macaroon). Ava’s review: Riding on the tag along was fun and I would do it again.
Tubing Down the Yampa River- While in Steamboat we watched so many people ride inner tubes down the slow, shallow river. When I saw a little kid with a life jacket doing it with his parents, I knew we had to try it. Ava was all for it. After the long hot bike ride, we found the rental hut and got three tubes. They tied two of them together for Ava and me. This was my favorite activity. Most of the ride was smooth and relaxing, but there were a few thrills when we went down the tiny waterfalls or got stuck in the parts where water wasn’t moving. Only once did I get off to push our tubes and the water went over my head. Everywhere else, it only went to my thighs. The cool water felt wonderful in the 90 degree heat and I never wanted to get out. Ava, on the other hand, decided she was not a fan. Ava’s review: Tubing down the river was scary because I didn’t like the bumps, but the last part was fun.
Strawberry Hot Springs Park- This is a natural hot springs park with three main pools going from very, very hot to mildly warm. It’s 20 minutes outside of town, higher up the mountain. The natural scenery was incredible and the water felt great (well only the warm water- I was too wimpy to get into the scalding water.) Once again, Ava didn’t want to leave. We chose to leave before dark when clothing becomes optional. Ava’s review: It was cool that the water could be warm in the mountains.
The Alpine Slide- Sort of a let down for Nathan and me. It was a long walk to the slide from our B & B, a long chair lift ride up to the top, and a very short ride down the slide. I think this was Ava’s favorite activity, though. When we were finished, she asked to go again and again, but we bought her a snow cone (her first) and she was quiet for the next 30 minutes. Ava’s review: The Alpine slide was fantastic! (She wanted to say “fun” again, but I prompted her to say a new word for “fun.”)
Fish Creek Falls and Agnes Lake- These were both destinations we had to hike less than a mile to get to. On both hikes, Ava complained incessantly and showed us how very slow she can be. She loved playing in the water, but hiking is not a favorite of hers (much to our chagrin.) We are planning a two mile back-packing trip in a couple of weeks to see if we can force her to like hiking. It doesn’t seem likely, but we’re willing to put up with a lot of complaining 🙂 Ava’s review: Hiking was beautiful, but it’s tiring.
It was wonderful to go on vacation and the time spent together was priceless.