It must be the "Back-to-School" excitement because I woke up this morning and wanted to jump out of bed instead of sleep in--and it's Sunday.
Pagosa was a blast, as always, and this year we were joined by some of our closest friends -- the Wickhams and Andersons.
We arrived just in time to unpack the car before it started to downpour. We actually love everything about the afternoon rainstorms in Pagosa--the sound of the rain on the metal roofs, the fresh smell and everyone taking a break from outdoors to come inside and play games together. But this was our only storm of the week.
Our first day we set up a zipline. The kids had worked all day the week before to get one in our yard at home, but the rope had too much stretch and not even Nicholas could get his feet off the ground. We bought metal cable to try in Pagosa as well as rope. I wanted the kids to have the fun of building one themselves with rope and then if that didn't work, the dads could get the cable set up. Again the rope was difficult to get tight enough so Dan and Kurt got out the ATVs so they could pull the cable REALLY tight. It lasted about a day before the cable ate through the pulley and broke. A new pulley at the end of the week started doing the same thing, so they went back to rope. With the help of the ATVs, they were able to get the rope pretty tight.
Our favorite picnic spot past the old school house was taken so instead we headed up an old, rough jeep trail and made our way through herds of cows. We found a great shady spot but laid our blanket on top of an anthill. Short picnic, exciting drive.
The Falls were low this time of year but all of Colorado was green, green, green. The kids scrambled up the steep cliff and Marty fell down part of the way. He caught air and scared us all but stopped sliding after a couple of bounces. Sigh of relief...
The three dads and Marty and Colin hiked to Pagosa peak after lunch on Monday. It was an hour jeep ride and a 5 hour steep hike to the peak. Everyone came home tired but exhilarated! It was a great accomplishment!
Christopher and Lily spent the day fishing at the pond. They headed out on their own and spent hours quietly standing on a rock at the edge of the pond casting and reeling. We went to visit a couple of times but they were frustrated about the dogs barking and the little kids talking. "You have to be quiet if you want to catch a fish!" They were very diligent.
Orman also taught everyone how to gut a fish and clean it. So glad my kids know how so I don't need to learn. Ugh.
Everyone took the ATVs on lots of rides around camp and to the general store.
At one point the big girls got stranded up on the road when the ATV wouldn't start. We watched as Lexie rode back to camp to get Marty for help. When he couldn't start it they came back and found a chain and towed the ATV back to camp. All this without even asking an adult for help. We were pretty impressed at their resourcefulness.
Tuesday morning Dan and Kurt rode mountain bikes on the Box Canyon trail--A VERY narrow trail with lots of rocks and a cliff on one side. Both crashed over the edge down the hill and were "saved" by raspberry bushes. Lots of thorns.
That afternoon all of us headed to Box Canyon and to swim in the river. While the river was freezing up by the Falls, it was comfortable in the Box.
Christopher, Courtney A., Madi, and Lily all got really good at building campfires each night.
They'd often start first thing in the morning adding wood and cardboard boxes--arranging them in specific ways and then creating fuses with paper towels.
Their fires got big fast and one night Christopher's hair got singed.
Wednesday was another all day hike to the top of Cimarrona Peak. Dan and Orman, Marty, Colin, Courtney and Lexie headed out at 6:30 am so they could be home from this 8 mile hike by 3:00. Unfortunately they'd miscalculated the mileage and ended up hiking 15 miles that day--hiked from 7:00 am to 7:00 pm! Again they report the views were amazing. It was hard but the kids did great -- no complaining, just forging ahead even though they were exhausted. Dan and Orman helped them along by fibbing on the mileage until they finished -- good thinking. Again everyone felt so proud of themselves and learned they can do hard things!!
Thursday the guys cut up a tree for firewood -- lots of GUY stuff at Pagosa. That night Chris rode to the top of the hill on the ATV. I heard crying and when I ran out of the barn saw the ATV upturned at the bottom of the cliff and Chris fortunately only part-way down -- cut and bruised and VERY scared but unhurt. He lost a shoe and cracked the bike helmet he was wearing. He's still reliving it and likes to talk about it a lot and I think I'm still in shock as well -- tears not very far from the surface. So glad he was wearing a helmet and that the ATV didn't fall on him!!
It was a GREAT trip -- good food, games, ATVs, bb guns, bottle rockets, zipline, crafts, campfires, fishing, reading, hikes, walks, driving lessons, bike rides, candy & lighters from the General Store and a nice Forest Service guy who didn't give us a ticket for unlicensed ATV's with 10-year-old drivers. Best of all GREAT FRIENDS!