The Simple Man’s “What I did over summer vacation” essay

August 29, 2019

The Simple Man’s “What I did over summer vacation” essay

My wife Emily is a planner (I mean you should see her spreadsheet packing lists – crazy impressive), so when she demanded we start discussing (in February) what our summer vacation maybe this year, I was pushing for a trip to Mount Rushmore. I figured the kids were at the ages that seeing “The Faces” would be a mix of educational as well as fascination.


I got veto’d big time.

Colorado. Had to be Colorado. Even though we went to Colorado two years ago, it was Colorado or bust. So…being the accommodating and swell dad I am, I made everyone happy and arranged for us to have a two-part Colorado vacation. And what I mean by two-part is we decided that our seven-day adventure would involve some roughing it, and some luxury.

Part 1 – Camping on the Arkansas

Camping in the mountains has been, and forever will be, one of the favorite things for our family. We found this quaint spot on the Arkansas River called the Itty Bitty Campground.


Although our site was a bit close to the highway, the view the other direction and the sound of the very high and fast-moving Arkansas River was all worth it. Tent camping is the way to go we feel, and our campsite neighbors, Cheryl and Mike from Colorado Springs became fast friends.

Speaking of fast – did I mention the river was moving fast?

The reason this is important is our purpose in coming to this spot in Colorado was so the kids could experience white water rafting. And for a few hours prior to our scheduled push-off time, we contemplated if that was the wise decision. Mostly because Nora (13) was very nervous. We arrived at the outfitter, let Nora ask a million questions, and she made the decision she was up for the challenge.

We later learned from our guide that at times having a high river is better because the rocks aren’t as dangerous. “If you can swim and put your feet up, Nora,” she said, “you’ll be just fine”.

As we successfully conquered the first rapids, we heard a holler followed by the loudest “THAT WAS AWESOME!” from Nora and knew the experience would never be forgotten.

Although this leg of the trip was supposed to be roughin’ it, we did utilize our technology to watch the US Women’s Soccer Team win the World Cup. USA! USA!

I mean how many others watched the win while crowded together on a picnic table, all watching a small screen on the side of the flowing (and fast) Arkansas? What an amazing memory.

Part 2 – Condo in Keystone

The second leg of the trip found us relaxing in a condo in Keystone.

  • Real beds -  
  • Showers -  
  • Junk food -  
  • Pool and hot tubs -  
  • Seemingly endless drinks on the patio -  
  • Wifi so Nowell (11) could stream Stranger Things and binge the new season at night -  

We explored in Breckenridge.

We did happy hour in Dillon.

We shopped in Silverthorne. Who knew the most important souvenir for two middle-schoolers would be a new pair of crocs? (Anyone else find this trend so weird?)

Colorado 2019: an amazing trip….family time, adventure, geography lessons, off the grid (except for the USWNT championship and Stranger Things), one-with-nature, laughter.

Memories made together!

It’s simple.

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