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Last week, my family and I took a trip to Avon, Colorado (near Vail). My dad brought up the idea a few months ago and my family quickly jumped on board. How could I not? After a few quick looks at where we would be staying and activities in the area, I knew we would have a fun week. Here are some highlights

We flew into Denver, got in our rental car, and after a few pit stops, arrived in beautiful Avon. Along the way (in between naps) I couldn’t help but get a sense of wonderment as we passed rivers, trees, and mountains. It just got better and better as we approached our room, which was incredible as well. Unfortunately, we don’t have any pictures, but our hotel was right on the Eagle River. Our place was two bedrooms, and everything was rather open, which I love. We settled into our room and the fun began.

On Sunday, after a leisurely breakfast, we decided to go mountain biking in nearby Beaver Creek. Again, the entire area was absolutely scenic. The family rented bikes and up we went! I’m not sure what my mom, brother, and sister had in mind for mountain biking, but once we got to the top and they realized what they would be riding down, they became a bit more apprehensive. So I took off, not content to go down at about 5 mph. After a little while, I slowed down so my dad could join up, and away we went. I started to develop a bit of a lead, but I still took the turns somewhat slow and wide because I’ve only mountain biked a few times in my life. On one of the turns, my dad started to catch up and while I went wide, he proceeded to cut the inside corner in an attempt to take the lead. He succeeded…momentarily. He came in a little fast and started to veer towards the edge. For a second, it looked like he was about to go down, but then he corrected course. Unfortunately, right after he looked back at the edge and his bike followed. Crash!

I came to an immediate stop and went to see if he was ok. I could tell he was pretty banged up, but there was not much I could do other than let him recover slowly. Sure enough, after I gave him some space, he was able to get back on his bike. He was really cut and bruised, and we later found out that he damaged his rotator cuff, although I’m not sure to what extent. Regardless, like the boss that he is, he got back on his bike, road down the mountain, and then came back for another run with me! Impressive to say the least.

The highlight of Monday was when my brother and I took an awesome hike up to Beaver Lake. We were supposed to take a shuttle to near where the trailhead began, but instead we failed to find the shuttle stop so we decided to just walk to the trailhead, adding a nice 3 or 4 miles to our hike. Regardless, we booked it to the top, passing through a couple rivers, streams, and waterfalls to make it to an absolutely scenic lake. To make it even better, we brought along some books so we could kick it by the lake, read, and enjoy a beautiful day.

Tuesday we celebrated my dad’s 58th birthday. Wow Dad, you’re getting old! But more importantly, he’s young at heart (sometimes too young, as evidenced by the mountain biking incident). It was a rather relaxing day and we went into Vail for a free concert and dinner.

Thursday might have been my favorite day of the trip. My dad and I got up, took a free lesson on how to fly fish, and then the family (sans injured dad) went white water rafting. We took our trip on the Eagle River, which is actually the river that ran right past our hotel. I have gone a couple times before, including a class III/IV river last year in Costa Rica, so I wasn’t too nervous. However, my mom, brother, and sister were. The biggest thing they were worried about was that we would get knocked into the water, partially because the water was frigid compared to California, and because I think they were a little scared after my story in Costa Rica last year. Briefly, I got knocked out of the boat and basically turned into a human pinball as I sought to reorient myself. I was fine, but I got my fair share of scrapes and bruises. My family did not want this to happen to them.

As we started down the river, we soon came to what maybe was a class I rapid, but more likely a class ½. I could tell everyone else was uneasy, and I chuckled when the guide told them that this didn’t count as our first set of rapids. The uneasiness soon turned to shrieks as we hit the first set and our boat dipped down and the water sprayed our raft. They started out as yells of apprehension, but as we conquered rapid after rapid, they soon turned into yelps of adventure and fun. Along the way, we enjoyed the wonderful landscape, relaxed during the calm parts, and I even took a swim in the refreshing river. A couple hours later, we came up on our last rapid (Rodeo), the most challenging of the afternoon. Our guide yelled out “All paddle” and we charged at the rapids, tossing and turning and fighting to keep our boat upright. There were a couple seconds where I thought we might flip, but the family and the guide did a great job of navigating and we made it out unscathed.

The rest of the trip flew by, although my family and I did watch a rodeo, which was completely awesome. Props to anyone crazy enough to ride a bull. It was an excellent week, although it went by a lot faster than I imagined. Colorado truly is a picturesque place and I would love to go back, especially to ski. Plus, I had a blast just hanging out with the family. All in all, it was a great trip.

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