Buckle up, July was a month brimming with fun and excitement. (I understand if that sentence doesn’t hold true to you the way it does for me. Feel free to just browse the pictures if that’s all the stamina you have.)
My parents came to Colorado for a few days in July. We met up with them in Winter Park. We spent the night at a hotel and in the morning (the 4th of July) Noel and I went on an 8 mile trail run. Usually I teach two classes on Wednesday, but had the day off because of the holiday. It was a “vacation” to run for fun and see a waterfall. We got out early enough that we had the waterfall all to ourselves.
We explored the village at Winter Park some and then went on a little hike with the kids and my parents. It was a pleasant morning spent eating wild strawberries and enjoying nature.
That night we had a barbecue at our house and then went and watched fireworks. The kids were really excited to have grandma and grandpa there if you can’t tell.
While my parents were in town, we also got a very exciting delivery – an electric bike! It’s a really fun
toy vehicle. My brother-in-law let us ride his RadMini when we visited in June, which was a dangerous thing to do because Noel couldn’t stop thinking about it. We talked ourselves into buying the cargo bike (it’s the mini van of electric bikes) because June was a three paycheck month and because I was driving to the gym a lot. (It’s hard to want to ride your bike 6 miles to teach an exercise class and then have to ride it again after.) It definitely wasn’t something we needed, but it does have practical applications. Noel rides it to early morning church meetings and we both take it to the gym and other various errands. We’ve already put over 200 miles on it.
Come on over if you want to try it out.
The day my parents left, we headed down to Pueblo where Noel’s cousin Jessie and her husband (who stayed with us in June) had just moved. In exchange for housing them in June, they agreed to watch our kids while Noel and I went to a rowing clinic. (They would have done it anyway, they’re nice people like that.) Noel and I have been talking about learning to raft for years, but it’s always been a hard thing to actually make happen. Jessie and Colin living an hour and a half from the Canyon River Instruction finally made it possible.
My great grandfather was one of the first 100 people to raft the Grand Canyon (he’s the Wayne McConkie that appears in Norman Nevills journals) and Noel and I like to joke that rafting is in my blood. I was hoping that somehow that would make me a natural, but I really wasn’t. We had a very patient instructor though and Noel and I mostly got the hang of the strokes and though we did hit a few rocks we never capsized. Rowing an oar rig is exhausting work, especially for newbies. It has been such a dry summer and the day had been hot and sunny, but 3/4 of the way through our day, it began to rain. We kept going down the river, but then it began to thunder – loud booming thunder that felt close. Our instructor assured us that being on a raft in a thunderstorm is the safest spot to be (something about how it’s more likely lightning will hit the high canyon walls) so I kept rowing. Then the wind picked up and it began to pour. Then it began to hail. Our instructor suggested we seek shelter under a tree so I used all my strength to row us to the bank as we were pelted by ice balls. We huddled under the tree for several minutes until the skies calmed a bit. It was crazy how quickly we went from being sweaty and hot to drenched and freezing cold. Luckily, we had jackets in the dry bags so we switched out our clothes and continued to our take out point. This was another unconventional, but fun date for Noel and I, even with the torrential downpour and the callouses. We are far from being rafting experts, but if anyone wants to go on an easy trip with us sometime, let us know!
The kids meanwhile had a blast with Jessie and Colin. They floated the river with Colin’s work then Jessie took them to the park. We were not missed at all.
We headed back to Golden that night, everyone exhausted from their day of fun in the sun.
The next weekend, we went camping at Rocky Mountain National Park. We were originally supposed to do the trip with Noel’s sister and her husband, but health circumstances made it so they couldn’t join us. We asked two other families to join us, but it didn’t work out. Maybe that should have been a sign, because the trip didn’t start out so great. After arriving at camp, I sprained my ankle (yes, the one I’ve sprained twice in the last year) walking to the bathroom. I worked really hard to come back strong after my last injury and have been so careful (notice how I didn’t sprain my ankle river rafting, trail running, or rock climbing) so I was kind of demoralized. Noel went into town to buy an ankle brace and a few other things. It was only after he came back that we realized we hadn’t packed a single pot or pan. Luckily we’ve watched a lot of Cutthroat Kitchen and were able to improvise for dinner.
The next day, we decided to still go hiking. (This sprain wasn’t as bad as prior sprains, the brace stabilized it, and I’m not any good at sitting still.) It was a lovely hike and at the end we all put our feet in the water to cool off/ice our ankles.
We then went back into town to buy a frying pan. Dinner was much easier to make that night.
On our last day, we took it easy and did two “hikes” that were less than a mile and went on a scenic drive along Old Fall River Road.
We’ve been to Rocky Mountain so many times that I honestly wasn’t that excited for this trip, but every time it surprises me with something new to discover.
Our last big event of July was a Cheesecake Party. We had over 40 people come. We ended up renting a pavilion at the park for the event. It was completely worth the $30 to not have to clean our house before and after. It made us much more relaxed hosts. The kids played on the playground (Don’t ask how they could spin after eating cheesecake. Ah, to be young again.) and the adults talked until it got dark. It’s always good to have an excuse to get people together. You’ll have to keep tabs on the food blog for some of the recipes.
Other funny things from July include: