Monday, August 13, 2007

Colorado Family Multisport

I just returned from our Family Multisport Adventure in Colorado - the third Family Adventure in the past three years I had the pleasure of guiding.

For an introduction to our Family Adventures and how they operate, please scroll down to the post of last August about our Lake Tahoe trip. That posting will give you a good idea of our philosophy of providing activity levels for everyone, separating the kids and adults enough to let the kids bond and give the adults some relaxation, and keeping everyone together at other times as one big fun group.

Colorado is the perfect place for a family vacation. Once we left Denver and the airport, we had wide-open spaces, 14,000-foot mountains, and rushing rivers in our backyard. During this six-day tour we rode horses, rafted on a whitewater river, biked, skated, and hiked. We also watched a rodeo, visited a ghost town, and played with puppies at a local dog sledding operation. We had a ton to do during the day and good food to eat at night.

We had a very large group of 28 participants plus three guides. Even when we split in two groups, it was amazing to see all these people on horseback, riding through aspen groves on a real Colorado ranch. The river rafting, where we had a private group of five rafts floating down the river, was probably the highlight for many in the group. However, I know the younger kids loved being licked to death by the puppies at the dog sled kennels.

For me personally, the highlight of the trip was our "split" dinner in which we divided into the "fogies" and the "fun group". My co-guide Reno took the adults to a nice dinner while our other co-guide Sonya and I took the kids out for pizza. We had reserved an entire dance club and game room (not normally open that evening) for our evening kids meal. After wolfing down five pizzas, the group immediately spread out to play games: pool, air hockey, and darts. Funny enough, the hit game of the evening was shuffle board - at least until Caleb, Erica, and Mari took over as DJs to light up the dance floor.

The great thing about this evening was that we had kids from six different families who were winging darts, hitting pool balls, and throwing whatever it is you throw in shuffleboard as if they were fast friends with decades of past experiences together. These were kids from all areas of the country with different backgrounds and different ages. Yet, they bonded as one fun group.

I don't have kids myself but I do have a niece (Erica) and nephew (Brian), who were on this trip with my brother Dave and sister-in-law Sharon. I was also a kid myself once and remember squabbling with my two brothers in the back of our station wagon, asking repeatedly when we would arrive to our destination. I have the feeling that normal "family vacations" are at least as stressful as they are fun and rewarding.

This tour was not that way at all, neither for the parents nor the guides. We try hard to make these trips fun for the parents as well as the kids. We keep the group together at times, because we know parents love watching their kids have fun while experiencing new activities. At other times, we split them apart so parents can relax, have a glass of wine, and engage in some adult conversation - all while knowing their kids are well looked after by our guides.

As guides, frankly, these tours are not that difficult. The kids simply know how to have fun and that makes our job easy.

Come join us next year on a Family Adventure in either Yellowstone National Park or Glacier National Park, two jewels of the US park system and great places for family fun.

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