Four Schwieters and four horses set out for Colorado to spend June 29-July 5, 2019 in the mountains.
We left our driveway at 10:26 pm on Friday night, after each of the kids played their last baseball games of the season. We drove all night through Missouri and Kansas and crossed into Colorado at day break.
We reached our destination of Salida, Colorado and the Tudor Rose Chalet– our home for the next few days.
It was perfect for us, as well as our horses. With a bedroom, bathroom, kitchen, dining and living area on the main floor, we had plenty of room to move around the cabin. The loft was great for the boys, with two sleeping areas and a second bathroom, they had room to unpack and had a little extra privacy (not to mention, a great view).
Our horses were equally as happy with two paddocks just outside our chalet door. We were able to saddle up and ride right from our chalet. It was convenient and had some nice riding with a view of the town.
Ziplining, hiking, sports and of course, riding the trails on horseback.
We spent an afternoon ziplining, something Crayton and Garrett had never done. The zipline park was awesome: well kept with enthusiastic, knowledgeable instructors. By the sixth and final zipline, the boys were pros.
Check out our family video from our ziplining excursion:
At least once a day we packed up snacks and drinks and set out to explore on horseback.
The area around Salida is very diverse. The elevation makes a huge difference in the landscape and plant life. Riding near our chalet, it seemed desert-like with lots of small cactus and shrubs.
We spent an afternoon riding up the mountain on the north side of town. It had lots of dry creek beds, smaller pine trees and more grass-like vegetation. This afternoon we were lucky to race back to our truck and trailer before being caught in a down pour.
About 20 minutes from town, we rode Brown’s Creek Trail. The weather started out at a cool 59 degrees, but after a 10 mile ride full of sunshine, we were warm by the finish. This area had crystal clear streams and even a waterfall. The trees were tall and the meadows were full of wildflowers along side the rocky path.
Area Sight Seeing
We explored the ghost town of St. Elmo. The old mining town is restored, but authentic. We had beautiful weather and it was fun to go back in time and imagine what life was like before the town was deserted.
After a picnic lunch by the rushing mountain stream, we drove to Monarch Pass, taking in the country side along the way.
The Continental Divide- Monarch Pass, Elevation of 11,312 feet. It is surrounded by so many other beautiful mountains inside the national forests: San Isabel on the Atlantic side and Gunnison on the Pacific. We rode the Monarch Crest Scenic Tram to the top. Being up that high and having snow in July was all crazy.
Bonding and Creating Memories
Taking time out of our busy schedules to spend time together and make memories is a priceless portion of any vacation.
We cleaned up each evening and ventured into town. We ate at many good restaurants in Salida and took in the local architecture. We enjoyed the city park where we played lots of sand volleyball as a family and even browsed through an art show one afternoon.
The Arkansas River runs right through Salida. We strolled along the river walk and dipped our toes in the freezing, higher than normal, water. One evening we played a round of miniature golf too.
I was surrounded by great guys the entire trip. These cowboys are not only good looking, but smart, and even patriotic.
My crew is not enthusiastic when it comes to family pictures or photos in general. Going into this trip, I had pre-warned them about what was coming- Fourth of July family pictures! They all did great, and Garrett even orchestrated the “selfie stick setup” complete with rock stands and braces.
Grand Finale with Fireworks
We celebrated Independence Day in style. After a day in Salida, complete with a circus, festival and parade, we finished the night with fireworks. Were able to view them right from our backyard at the Tudor Rose. It was a perfect way to spend our last night, before packing up and heading home the next morning.
As you make plans for your next family vacation, consider Salida, Colorado and the Tudor Rose. It was a laid-back city but didn’t lack for things to do in the area. We would love to go back, but for now the kids are always ready for new adventures and don’t want “repeats”.