Places to Go (Vacation) - 5000 Miles in 5 Weeks - Week 3 - Embudo, NM to Broomfield, CO
DAY 15 - Santa Fe, NM to Embudo, NM (43 miles)
At the beginning of week 3, we checked out of our airbnb in Santa Fe and drove to New Mexico River Adventures for our "24 Hours on the Rio Grande" guided rafting trip.
We arrived at the rafting headquarters a little early, so we walked across the street to Blue Heron Brewery (beer for Dan and me, root beer on tap for the kids).
And then the adventure began! Unfortunately, I don't have any photos as DSLRs don't pair well with water. But the scenery was gorgeous and we all learned how to paddle (the first day was a float down the river, whereas we hit the rapids on the second day).
Camping with our guide, Brandon, felt like such a luxury - he cooked us a crazy good, multi-course. After we ate, Dan and T could not wait fish the river, F read her book, and I hiked the campground trail with P (so pretty). At night, we saw river otters and beavers.
Hiking with my middle child as dusk came in over the mountains = complete and total happiness.
The guys were pretty happy too.
DAY 16 - Somewhere on the Rio Grande River to Durango, CO (200 miles)
In the morning, we packed up and headed into the rapids. On the downside, the low water made the river somewhat tame (in my eyes). But the low water also meant that we had to navigate around huge rocks and boulders, causing us to work together. Though I think T put it best when he said our family was best at the "mellow" forward paddle.
Of course I paid for the photo package. Are you surprised? These are my two favorites.
The drive to Durango was crazy beautiful.
But the kids were too exhausted to see any of it.
One of my favorite parts of the drive was watching the scenery change from reds and oranges to blues and greens.
DAY 17 - Durango, CO (Hiking the Colorado Trail)
In Durango, we met up with my friend Allison and her three crazy thirteen year old boys.
How awesome to be hiking with this crazy crew.
DAY 18 - Durango, CO (Hiking the Animas Trail)
Unfortunately, it was HOT outside. And we kept losing the trail. And the kids complained constantly. But now they have grit, right?
Some much needed downtime.
And tourist shots. We loved our airbnb on the outside of town.
DAY 19 - Durango, CO to Mesa Verde National Park (36 miles)
On the way to Mesa Verde, we stopped at Durango's Fish Hatchery and Wildlife Museum.
Thousands of fish can be mesmerizing to watch.
In Mesa Verde, we met back up with Allie and the boys. Since the cliff dwellings are another 40 minutes drive from the campground, we decided to spend our afternoon chilling by the tents (plus, tour tickets were sold out for the day).
Because F was a fourth grader last year, our whole family had free admission to all National Parks. We didn't use it as much as I wanted to, but we still felt rather cool pulling up the the pay station and showing off F's National Park card.
P slowly adjusted to having three older brothers. And by adjusted, I mean she rolled her eyes a lot.
Whereas with three older boys around, T had the time of his life.
Seriously, how crazy beautiful is this trail? Located next to the campground.
Group shots at dusk.
DAY 20 - Mesa Verde National Park (Tours of Balcony House and Cliff Palace)
Love that morning light!
For me, day 20 day was probably the highlight of our trip. In order to enter any of the cliff dwellings, you need to buy tour tickets through the National Park Service. At first this seemed like an inconvenience, but the tours (for Cliff Palace and Balcony House) were two of the best tours I've ever been on anywhere. And the older kids all had a blast learning about the Paleo-Indians and climbing the ladders. On the downside, it was hot. As in REALLY HOT!!!
During out in-between tour downtime, T insisted on "driving" the car.
The view from Cliff Palace. Based on the remains found, they think the space used to be a nursery/daycare of some sort.
The girls were THRILLED about all the ladder climbing, but poor T was scared to death. So we bribed him with promises of coke and ice cream.
The boy and his trophy.
On our last night at Mesa Verde the kids were all driving us crazy, so we orchestrated a series of races around the campground's loop. Some kids took the challenge more seriously than others.
DAY 21 - Mesa Verde National Park to Broomfield, CO (380 miles)
Our last morning at the campground, I planned on hiking, but everyone wanted to hurry up and begin the drive to Denver/Broomfield.
Throughout the drive to Denver, we watched storms come in over the mountains and marveled at how lucky we'd been with the weather.
Stopping to stretch our legs for a bit.
F contines to rock the feminist t-shirts.
The rain came just a few minutes after I took this photo. So we hopped in the car and finished the drive to Broomfield/Denver, where we arrived to an awesome bbq full of friends (thank you Sarah & Lyle)!
So that concludes Week 3, soon I'll post photos of our week in Denver (week 4).
Happy Wednesday everyone!!