Sunday, August 21, 2011

Ten Days in Breckenridge with the Grandchildren

I recently was able to assist in planning and booking ten days of activities for a grandma and grandpa traveling with their two granchildren, a boy aged 10 and a girl aged 7, to Breckenridge from the United Kingdom. The children were really kept busy and were able to experience a great deal that Summit County has to offer in the way of summer activities. I thought it was worth sharing their itinerary of adventures.

The first couple of days were spent adjusting from jet lag and also to the altitude. Then it was on to rafting with a float trip on the Colorado River The half day trip is perfect for multiple ages and is one of the raft trips that will take children as young as three if they weigh at least 35 pounds. Although both children would have qualified in age for a whitewater rafting trip, as an introduction to rafting this is a great starter trip. The drive to the Kremmling Outpost is about an hour from Breckenridge. The raft company supplies wet suits if you want them, a splash jacket, and an experienced guide. For the adventurous who would like to cool off, there is a jump into the Colorado River from a cliff above the water, and sometimes trips stop at a small natural hot spring on the side of the river.

The next day the family members headed to the Country Boy Mine in Breckenridge This is a working gold mine, complete with resident donkeys and the opportunity to pan for gold after the tour. Apparently each child did find a flake of gold, helped by their grandfather who is a geologist and has primarily worked in the field of gold mining. This particular mine has an added attraction of "Shoot the Chute", where you can ride down a 50 foot ore chute. Both children took this opportunity, but I think the grandparents declined.

The next day the group headed to Frisco, picked up bikes, and rode a shuttle to the top of Vail Pass My husband met them at the pass after having ridden up from Frisco and rode with them to the Village at Copper Mountain for ice cream. I joined the group in Copper and rode with them to Frisco and the bike shop, while my husband descended at a faster pace. The only difficulty that we had was that the little girl was between bike sizes and was really on a bike that was a bit too small (the next size up was too large) with only six gears, and so her little legs underwent quite a work out.

After dropping off the bikes, we all met up at the Frisco Marina and hopped on the Water Taxi for a trip across Lake Dillon for lunch at the Tiki Bar The wind had started to pick up a bit, and we took on a bit of water with some waves out in the main part of the lake. The children were equipped with life jackets. Even though the captain could not make it into the normal dock in Dillon because of the wind, he skilfully guided the taxi into a slip rather than the T-dock. We actually took our bikes with us and rode back to Frisco, leaving the foursome to take the water taxi back to the Frisco Marina.

Still ready for more adventures, the next day saw all of us along with two dogs heading up to Lily Pad Lake on a guided hike from Frisco As the grandparents own a condominium in Breckenridge and are frequent visitors to the county, they had work sheets for the hike, to add an educational dimension. The children had a number of wildflowers to find and identify, as well as some questions about the mountains they would see on their hike, the types of trees, and the lake. In the spirit of competition between siblings they were very eager to find their flowers and other information. It was great to come across the remains of an old mine, as well as picnic at the Beaver Pond, where the dogs were able to cool off with a much needed swim, and to see some flowers on Lily Pad lake. Unfortunately the beavers have abandoned their lake, the lodge is not in good repair, although the dam is still holding fast. We were however able to see where the beavers had been at work.

The next activity was to ride the Georgetown Loop This is another really appropriate intergenerational outing and will thrill all ages. You have the option on the train ride to stop halfway down the mountain at the Colorado Historical Society's Lebanon silver mine. The group did not choose to do this as they had already visited a gold mine and were actually on their way down to Denver to stay with friends for the night and then go to Water World for the day.

A trip to Summit County with your grandparents would not be complete without a little shopping trip to the Silverthorne Outlets Although these children would not need Back To School items as all school children in the United Kingdom wear uniforms, the sales for that time of year, meant a couple of fun outfits for each of them were not so expensive.

A lot to accomplish in ten days. I was impressed with the children's willingness to try everything and their interest in all of the activities that they undertook. I am sure that this is a trip that they will remember for a long time, and as they grow older will come to understand what a wonderful gift their grandparents gave them. They will be back to ski in March with mom, dad and little sister to experience the other wonderful season of this area. I forsee maybe a Dog Sledding activity or maybe a Sleigh Ride if they can be dragged away from the ski slopes.

Consider bringing your grandchildren for this kind of experience in the Rocky Mountains and I would love to help you arrange unforgettable memories for your family. It was a gift to me too, in that I knew the family and was able to share in some of the children's joy in their surroundings.

Grandma & Grandpa Martineau, with Tabitha and Luke,
High Country Activities owner, Jane Shafroth
and canine companions
Sawyer and Huckleberry