For a family who prides ourselves on being pretty independent, the last 3 years, we have been rescued in one way or another by the M family. When our popup camper crashed down on our first night out in Nebraska, they were more than happy to take us in for the night while our cable was repaired. The following year, our van had transmission problems once again in Nebraska, and they not only offered to tow us to Denver if we ran into trouble, but took us in again, this time for several days, as we waited for parts to arrive at Honda. There is nothing like being stranded in Colorado with friends who like to play hard, and have all the toys to do it 😉
This year, we arrived with only our backpacks,
ready to visit and play with some of our favorite people, fully realizing that the forcasted storm may cause travel over Berthoud Pass to be difficult with predicted prime avalanche conditions.
Worse yet, a storm would arrive in Denver the day we were to fly home. Sometimes, we seriously wonder if we bring trouble. The first day there, the water went out in their mountain home, so we poured buckets of water from the neighbors into the backup toilet tanks, and filled containers for drinking and hand washing. Did the well go out, or maybe the pump broke? Only the M family could be relaxed enough to sleep on it, wake up, and plan for a weekend of fun while trouble shooting what may end up being a really big problem for months on end until a new well could be drilled.
While we watched a big bull moose wander along the ridge above their home,
and the kids entertained themselves with a car stuck in the driveway of a neighbor’s rental property,
the guys handily figured out the issue was a severed wire and subsequently blown fuse. Only Rick could go from an unresolved problem like that to pulling out a fleet of snowmobiles for 8 kids to play with.
Despite the fact that I am not the biggest snowmobile fan, my kids think they are the ideal form of snow play.
Chuck even had his turn with Rick one early morning.
The boys loved hearing the tales of dad’s adventure.
In the meantime, Julie managed to pull together breakfast, lunch, and dinner so that cooking time didn’t interfere with mountain fun.
Last year, they happily agreed for us to come for a last minute visit when we found a similar deal, already knowing they would be entertaining for 30 that weekend.
Seriously, they are the coolest.
As we headed to SMR while Rick finished the pump repairs, we received the first warning that our flight may be cancelled or delayed.
We could either head back to Denver quickly, in hopes of getting out the next day, or take our chances and hope for the best. Knowing we didn’t want to leave without some good mountain fun, we decided as a group to take our chances and enjoy our much anticipated time with our friends.
After a day at Snow Mountain, and another full day of skiing, we spent our last morning in the high country snowshoeing.
While this is one of my favorite snow activities, the kids didn’t agree so much on a colder morning.
It was a stark difference to the year before, when everybody had a blast.
Chuck pulled the girls all the way up the mountain in the sled,
only to discover they all wanted nothing more than returning to the M family’s mountain palace.
Sometimes, I wish for a kid free hour or two to enjoy the peaceful quiet of the snowy mountains, but I love introducing them to what we love and I enjoy spending time with all of them. Plus, I do believe the outdoor challenges build character for them, and much-needed patience for me.
Even though our Monday night flight was cancelled
and rescheduled for early Tuesday morning, we were in a hurry to get over the pass and back to Denver before roads closed. Fortunately, they were not terrible, and we made it back to their Denver home in a couple hours without any trouble.
The snow continued to fall throughout the day, and conditions worsened throughout the night. We were concerned our new flight would get cancelled too, and knowing the only other flight of the day was full, we thought we may get stuck in Denver for a few days. It seemed that our 7am plane would never fly, but upon our 4am wakeup, our flight said ‘on-time.’ Roads were closed past Denver all the way to Kansas and schools were closed, but aside from a very early and long drive for Rick,
and lots of de-icing on the runway, we made it out without any hitches!
Call it fate or an unwillingness to leave a place we love more than anywhere, but time and again, we find ourselves stranded or voluntarily extending our stay. What family could have the patience for seven surprise visitors over and over?! We were reintroduced to the M family the first time we came back to Colorado with 5 kids in tow. Rick invited us over for dinner, and thankfully his adventurous wife agreed.
From the day we met Julie and the kids, they embraced us with open arms, making an instant connection that we are thankful for daily. They have seen us at our best, and unfortunately, also our worst.
We laugh and play together so well, and count down the days until we are reunited this summer. Thank you M family!