Colorado Family Vacation by the Numbers: A Photo Essay

Scenic trail view at Snow Mountain Ranch, Colorado

Scenic trail view at Snow Mountain Ranch, Colorado

Hello everyone!  This is my second blog post detailing the experiences of a recent family vacation to the Colorado Rockies.  For those that might have missed the first post please feel free to take a look – Colorado Family Vacation – Learning and Growing.  It was a great family bonding experience that we all will always remember.  There were a number of first experiences for virtually everyone on the trip.

A couple of years ago my brother and his wife posted a recap of one of their vacations on Facebook that used numbers as a way to describe their trip.  I thought that was a great idea and I am borrowing it here as a format for recording and discussing some highlights from our awesome Colorado Family Vacation.

By the Numbers

Total family members on the trip – 14 (our family – 4, my sister-in-law’s family – 8, and my mother-in-law and father-in-law)

Adults on the trip – 6

The whole family at Red Rocks Park and Amphitheater, Colorado

The whole family at Red Rocks Park, Colorado

Kids on the trip – 8 (ages 5, 6, 10, 10, 10, 12, 14, and almost 16)

Number of those on the trip who had never flown before – 5

Average daytime high temperature – 85 degrees F

Average nighttime low temperature – 45 degrees F

Average elevation – 8,750 feet (The elevation at the Admin building at Snow Mountain Ranch (between Winter Park and Granby, CO)) where we stayed.

Top Altitude at Rocky Mountain National Park

Our highest recorded altitude during the trip (Rocky Mountain National Park).

Top recorded elevation – 12,059 feet (at an observation point on the road through Rocky Mountain National Park)

Number of altitude related illnesses in our group – 0 (amazing in my opinion)

Number of mammal species seen by someone in our group –  11 (Moose, elk, mule deer, chipmunk, red squirrel, golden-mantled squirrel, black bear, red fox, coyote, yellow-bellied marmot, Wyoming ground squirrel) and I probably forgot one or two.

Bull Elk at Rocky Mountain National Park

Bull Elk at Rocky Mountain National Park

First time mammal sightings for me –  5  (Moose, mule deer, golden-mantled squirrel, yellow-bellied marmot, Wyoming ground squirrel)

First time bird species sightings for me – 1 – (black-billed magpie)

Number of miles rafted on the Colorado River – 5

Amazing stat of the trip – 1,400 trout per mile live on that section of the Colorado River

Rafting the Colorado River

Rafting the Colorado River

Number of water fights during the rafting trip – too numerous to count.  There were five rafts in our group.  Our family filled two of the rafts.  About half-way through the trip our family rafts formed an alliance and teamed up against the others.

Water temperature – Well below 60 degrees F (so the water fights were cold)

Number of cliff jumpers in our family (on rafting trip) – 6

Number of activities/events that involved dangling from a wire – 3

Number of dangling wire activities that I participated in – 0 🙂

Number of dead evergreen trees seen – millions.  This section of Colorado has been hit hard by a species of beetle that is killing the evergreens.  It is all part of the cycle of life and around Vail, CO we could see areas where new growth was starting to vigorously fill in the bare spots on mountainsides.

Colorado Rocky Mountains

Colorado Rockies

Number of breathtaking scenic views – If I had been counting, I would have lost track on the drive from Denver to Snow Mountain Ranch on the first day.

Number of campfires – 1.  This is noteworthy because the burning ban that resulted from the recent extreme drought in this part of CO had just been lifted prior to our arrival.

Other peak and first time experiences (not by the numbers):

Watching live cliff diving inside of a restaurant (not on TV – it was actually happening inside the restaurant) – Casa Bonita, Lakewood, CO

Bull Moose sighting while horseback riding at Snow Mountain Ranch, Colorado

Bull Moose sighting while horseback riding at Snow Mountain Ranch, Colorado

Seeing a moose during a horseback ride (see photo!!)

Short, quiet early morning hikes

Riding a black horse with blue eyes

Spending a week of quality time with family

Seeing our kids having so much fun with their cousins

Numerous unexpected hugs from my youngest niece

Getting up above the tree line

Crossing the Continental Divide

As I mentioned in my earlier post, Colorado Family Vacation – Learning and Growing, I worried about this vacation in the weeks and months leading up to it.  As is so often the case though, my concern was unnecessary.  We all had a great vacation and I am thankful that we had this awesome experience together as a family!

Beautiful Flowers in Estes Park, Colorado

Beautiful Flowers in Estes Park, Colorado

With Peace and Gratitude,

Steve Strother

**A special thank you to my father-in-law, Wayne Pero (for the Colorado River photo) and to my wife, Kylie Strother (for all of the other photos that appear in this article).

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About Steve Strother

I am a husband/father/human being looking for ways to move past the status quo. I strive to find solutions; to find the positive; to celebrate the joyous, the just, and the inspirational. Living peacefully and compassionately in the present is my ultimate goal. I love to write! To learn more about me please visit my blog at stevesthinkingspace.wordpress.com.
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