We’ve spent so many great days in Summit County. There’s really no reason ever to leave this awesome area – so much to do!
However, we also love road trips and wanted to take advantage of exploring a few other local places before we left the area. We took advantage of weekends when the kids didn’t have a game or meet and hit the road.
We drove about 2 1/2 hours down to Colorado Springs last month. We spent two nights in a hotel. The first night, we hit a track to help Gabe with his speed work-outs. Then we visited a yummy Mexican Restaurant, per my friend Brynn’s recommendation.
The next day was packed full: Our first train trip! We rode the Cog Railway almost to the top of Pike’s Peak. I was soooo bummed we couldn’t make it all the way, as it would have been our first “14er” – I was tempted to get out of the train and plow the snow myself. Se la vi. I contented myself with the beautiful views and just appreciating the kids first ever train trip. Hopefully many more to come!
Then we made our way to the Garden of the Gods. This is a county park situated right outside the town, full of interesting, gorgeous red rock structures. It reminded us a lot of Utah. The kids enjoyed hiking around and posing for all my shots. 😉
Our accommodations were right down the road from the Garden of the Gods at the Glen Eyrie Castle. My friend Brynn had recommended this destination, and the kids were psyched to be able to see a “real” castle! We explored all the nooks and crannies, stairwells, peeking into rooms. Our suite was on the castle grounds with it’s own library, piano room, game room, and large dining area. Very exquisite.
After settling in, going for a run, and playing Ultimate Tag, we got dressed and headed into Manitou Springs for Fondue at the Mona Lisa! This was another first experience for our kids. And we all LOVED it! What a fun thing to do as a family! Their favorite, of course, was the dessert, but we just loved dipping everything into cheese, sauces, and chocolate!
The next day we had breakfast at the castle and probably hit REI before zooming home to get Gabe back to his track practice that afternoon.
Over Memorial Day Weekend, we were on a quest to find some sunshine! We hear this has been the coldest, wettest May for Summit County in a while. We were ready to start building up our hiking endurance again and needed some dry trails. Originally, we wanted to visit Curecanti National Recreation Area and Black Canyon of the Gunnison, but they were scheduled for thunderstorms, so we picked Colorado Monument National Park instead and drove to Grand Junction.
On the way we listened to Shingaling, a sequel to RJ Palacio’s Wonder. We just have loved these and the lessons we learn from them!
The kids were eager to get another Junior Ranger Badge, so after driving an hour through the park, we stopped at the visitor center, picked up their books and hit a trail. The whole park offered stunning scenery, every which way we looked. We’d stop off the road many times for photo opps. It was nice for us to experience warmer weather and see red rock valleys instead of peaks.
The next day we tried to squeeze in as many hikes and miles as we could. We are trying to prep for our big backpacking trip at the end of June in the Sierra’s. So, one of our hikes was a steep decline and then mile+ incline. Definitely like a stair-master work-out! We saw some beautiful formations on each hike, including the iconic Independence Monument in Monument Valley as well as Devil’s Kitchen. We were lucky enough to run into a friend’s mom from Isaac’s lacrosse team who had just backpacked with 3 other women for 3 nights! Totally pumped up and inspiring to see!
Overall, the weekend was a huge hit! A handful of new memories as a family – from playing frisbee, audiobooks like Shingaling, long, challenging hikes, and lots of laughs! Always nice to get unplugged and lose ourselves in nature!
Here are a few pics from Monument: