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Monthly Archives: June 2011

Whitewater for the kids!

Whitewater for the kids!

It’s something we’ve been dreaming of since before the kids were born.  Floating down a river, together, for days on end.  Having nothing to do but enjoy the scenery, adventure, and each other’s company.   Well a few weeks ago this dream became a reality.  We did our first multi-day (okay it was really only 2 days) rafting trip, and brought the kids along.  Lucky for us, my parents couldn’t resist the opportunity to join us too!

Let me start by saying  that for me, rafting has always been a family affair.  My family started rafting when I was 10 with a junky old raft that someone gave us that we stored in a trash can (trust me, that was where it really should have stayed).  My Dad and a few of his friends decided that they were going to learn how to be good rafters and everyone took all of their kids along and it was an absolute BLAST!  We all grew up rafting together and then in college, I got to spend three summers working on the river as a guide.  I knew that this was something that I wanted to keep doing forever!  Mason took his first float trip at just over a year old, and Chloe took hers around 9 months.  They LOVE it!

Although we fell like we had a pretty good handle on things, looming over us were the unexpected ‘what if’s’.  What if it rains the whole time?  What if our sleeping bags don’t stay dry?  What if the kids start going stir crazy on the boat? (Oh wait, we had a solution for that – just throw them in the water for instant happiness).  Well I’m pleased to report that things went just about as perfectly as possible (which is often not the case).

After doing LOTS of research, we narrowed down our list to floating the Colorado from Loma to Westwater.  The only problem was that this spring, the Colorado River drainage had some massive runoff and the water was REALLY high.  High water = a little scary with kids.  So that plan was nixed and we decided to run the Gunnison River from Delta to Whitewater.  A nice scenic river where we could enjoy beautiful canyons, quick moving water, and a few easy class II rapids to keep the kids entertained.

One thing that I really loved about this trip is that space was limited.  I mean, we had 6 people and only a 14 foot raft, so things were going to be tight.  Because of this, we brought only the essentials.  Tent, sleeping gear, food, 2 changes of clothes (one for when the kids were covered in mud and the other in case the weather turned bad), and diapers.  We fit all of our gear in 2 dry bags and threw all the sleeping bags and pads in Andrew’s monster pack.  It actually felt great to simplify what we bring, since car camping can usually mean that lots of extra ‘stuff’ ends up coming with us.

We got to spend lots of time rowing, and chatting – two of my favorite things.  We camped at Dominguez canyon beach which was absolutely beautiful.  The kids and Andrew got to play around on “parrot rock” and we got to spend lots of time playing in the sand, checking out the nearby waterfalls, and chasing lizards.  The next morning we took a great little hike up the canyon to see some more falls.  After a few more hours of paddling, we were at our takeout.

Here’s what we did to make this trip kid friendly:

– Took 1 small bag of toys for the kids.  I made sure that they all floated, and most of them were just bath toys.
– Stocked up on juice boxes so that the kids would drink like crazy and stay hydrated on our dessert trips
– Brought Grandma and Grandpa…enough said!
– Bought dollar store squirt guns for the kids to have water fights with.
– Borrowed a ducky (inflatable kayak) from some friends.  The kids quickly learned that this was the place to be and spent a good majority of the trip in here.
– Kept it short.  Since this was a first for everyone, we decided to stick to just overnight.

Although we did do some special things to accommodate the kids, they were so easy.

Mason spent most of his time collecting sticks drifting in the water.  He pretended that they were sharks and Crocodiles for HOURS.  Chloe took 1 toy out of our toy bag, and it remained untouched the rest of the trip.  McKinley’s favorite activity was helping to row the boat.  The squirt guns were a huge hit and they had lots of great water fights with Grandpa.  They reminded me of how happy kids are with the simple things in life!

As my Dad said as we got approached the take-out “thus begins a lifetime of multi-day river trips”.  We had a blast and are already dreaming about our next trip!

-Jessica

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Posted by on June 28, 2011 in Adventures, How to

 

REI Family Adventure Program

 

Have you heard of REI’s Family Adventure Program?  Well, I just did and it’s awesome.  I’m already in love with the wonderful resources that REI has to offer and this is just icing on the cake.  One glance at their home page and you know that this is a site you could get lost in for a while.  Offering everything from games and puzzles to tips on stand up paddleboarding, this site’s rockin’.  Go ahead, check it out and let the adventures begin!

-Jessica

 
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Posted by on June 28, 2011 in Ideas, Tips

 

3 tips for an adventure filled summer

I’ve learned that most often, the experiences that leave a strong impression on my kids are the ones that have been deliberately planned.  I feel like when I don’t make plans, my kids don’t really care too much about what we ended up doing.  I can ask them what their favorite thing was that they did during the day and the typical response would be “I don’t know”.  However, if I ask my son what was his favorite part of our recent rafting trip, he will be sure to regale me with stories of climbing on ‘Parrot Rock’, kayaking in the ducky, having water fights with grandpa, or the lizards that he chased.  Adventures undoubtably leave a lasting impression on our children.

Now how do you make sure that at the end of the summer, you have some awesome adventures to show for all those months?  Well, here are three tips that can make sure that this summer is full of greatness:

Dream.  Let your mind wander.  Think of all the fun and exciting places that you would like to go and things you want to do.  Talk to other people about where they like to go and see if anything sparks your interest.  Head over to an outdoor shop and talk to some experts.  Browse a bookstore or library for things to do in your area.

This is probably the easiest step for us.  Every winter as we are enveloped in cold, our thoughts start to drift towards summer and all the fabulous things that we will do when the weather warms.  We typically come up with a list of about 15-20 things that we would like to do during the summer.  Although it’s easy to get carried away with exotic or expensive trips, we try to keep things as local and simple as possible.  (if you make everything a HUGE deal, it can make it very hard or daunting to get out often).

Make a list and keep it specific and direct.

Plan.  Get it on the calendar and do it early.  We usually have our summer planned by March.  If we are inviting others, we let them know the plans and the dates early.  We also try not to overplan and to be flexible.  We try not to plan more than thee weekends a month as inevitably, things pop up.  Staying home always gives us a little break from our packed summer, yet always leaves us wanting to go play the next weekend.  There’s nothing like spending a whole weekend working in the yard to get you wanting to head out camping ASAP!  Get your adventures on your calender and make them happen.  This also means that you have to plan other things, such as lawn mowing, as well so that they don’t derail your plans!

Planning really is the key to our successful adventures.  Little things come up all the time, but by scheduling things on our calender in advance, we ensure that the activities that we fill our time with are the things that we are excited to do rather than an afterthought.  If something comes up, just choose which one you would rather do!

Do.  Make it happen.  Do your research early so that you can know what you are up against.  Many activities require reservations, special permits, or even specific gear.  Don’t wait until the last minute to research these details or your trip may not happen.  As you research and prepare, enjoy the mounting anticipation for your upcoming adventure!

Remember these are the things that you are excited about.  No one is making you go, but it is easy to let small things get in the way and not live your dreams.
Now it’s up to you to go and make it work.  You probably already have things you’re dreaming of doing, so get them on your calendar and make them happen.  Now get out and have some fun!

–Andrew

 
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Posted by on June 24, 2011 in How to, Ideas, Tips

 

Exposing your kids to the finer things in life: – Show them some carnage!

We believe in exposing our kids to the finer things in life. For many people that would mean the going to a museum, a nice restaurant or a cultural event like the symphony. For us, the finer things in life are often made up of experiences in the great outdoors.

This weekend the finery that we exposed our kids to was river surfing. For those of you who live next to a big river, you may know what we are talking about, for the rest of you, it is just what it sounds like. Surfing on standing waves in the river. These waves may be natural or man made and in this case, the city of Glenwood made the whitewater activity park a few years ago and recently added seating for those just observing.

What could be more fun than eating lunch riverside, and throwing rocks while watching surfer after surfer test their might against the river?  The squeal of delight from our on looking children after the ensuing carnage was priceless.   Some are good and can surf for 5 minutes or so, but others provide grand entertainment as the river engulfs them and they are swept downstream.  Mason loved watching the surfers and kayaker’s and could be heard over and over again squealing in delight with a new crash or cheering on a new rider as they would catch the wave. This simple pleasure that kept our son occupied.  Although we didn’t participate this time, we all got to enjoy watching the power of the river and enjoy one of the finer things in life.

–Jessica

 
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Posted by on June 22, 2011 in Adventures

 

Why Bring the Kids?

Why bring the kids?  Really, the question you should be asking is why not bring the kids!


To us, bringing the kids is a way of thinking that guides the way that we raise our family. It’s a mindset that drives our actions. Adventurous parents think more about what they want to go do than all of the reasons why they can’t do things. I mean we’ve all heard it “I can’t do that with my kids” “I can’t wait until my kids are older, then we’ll start doing fun things together” or the classic “before I had kids, I used to …(insert any fun activity here)”. SERIOUSLY?? Has our society degenerated so much that we think that when we have kids, any and all adventures we want to have must end? Wow…bummer! This blog is about fighting that idea. Showing people that you can have kids and be adventurous. Do it for yourself, and do it for your kids. They will thank you and you’ll thank yourself too!

Here, we will challenge the norm and get out with our family. Here we adopt the mindset of what CAN I do with my kids instead of what CAN’T I do because of them.  We will be different because that is what we choose to be, and how we choose to live. Grab your kids and join us for the ride!

 
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Posted by on June 20, 2011 in Misc

 
 
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