Snow Mountain Ranch is our favorite launching ground for summer trips! It is civilized camping at it’s best, and our kids favorite place out of everywhere we go. This year’s group was like no other! Even though many of them were strangers when the trip started, kids and adults got along so well! Managing big groups can be tough, but this group was so agreeable and the most timely group of people we have ever seen, making it super easy to plan and fit in lots of activities. It went by so quickly, but we had so much with this group… and so many laughs 🙂
The drive out was uneventful, aside from the major flooding through the Midwest. Lots of snow days delayed our departure, but we left right after the last day of school let out, and never looked back! We made a stop at Walmart in Nebraska. Ethan can’t seem to escape waking up in a Walmart parking lot on his birthday each year.
One of our favorite hikes in the area is the East Inlet Trail past Adams Falls, and it did not disappoint. The waterfall was roaring from heavy snowmelt, and we even saw two moose on our way out to the valley. We had to take a shot of the 5 of us who had graduated from Oak Forest High School… many years ago!
Leaving Penny (our dog) at home with Grandma and Grandpa each year is really tough, but thankfully, we were able to hang out with the Snow Mountain Ranch Sled Dogs on several occasions. Hanging with the Huskies is such a treat!
The free tubing hill is another treat, and perfect for big groups like ours. This awesome activity never gets old!
This group had lots of hikes on their mind, so we were able to hit many of the local trails. The waterfall hike on Snow Mountain property was different this year, as there was lots of snow. We will never forget the snowball fight here this summer!
Each year, we have been able to see the bald eagle that hangs out by the reservoir, and this year was no different. The eagle took flight for us, and we were able to watch him do a little fishing.
The homestead is another favorite. We love seeing all the old farm tools and seeing how the families lived here long ago.
One of the highlights of our trip was taking the sled dogs for a walk at Cabin Creek with Steve and his wife Shelby. We had a blast walking six of these beautiful pups!
Afterwards, we were able to help Steve work on the dog’s park by filling in holes, setting up posts, and hanging shades. He couldn’t have been more appreciative, and we love getting a little more time with this great guy!
Another favorite hike is Nine Mile Mountain. It is a short hike, but quite steep. Because there is very little shade here, we love taking this hike at sunset and watching the light bounce off the mountains.
Perhaps the kids favorite activity is making ceramics in the craft shop. Each year, their creations get better and better, and we love using them all year back at home.
It seems like there is never enough time hanging around camp cooking by the grills, playing in the campsite, and practicing the guitar.
Our last hike was a trip around Monarch Lake, a beautiful 4 mile loop trail. The highlight here this year was building boats and setting sail at the end of our hike.
There are so many activities offered at Snow Mountain, including zip lining, archery, canoeing, biking, fishing, and our favorite, rock climbing. The kids always race up the wall to see how many times they can get up the outdoor wall.
Where can you play mini golf above 8000 feet… and for free, nonetheless? Snow Mountain Ranch of course! Through the years, the game has changed, many variations have been created. Any time we have a few extra minutes, we find ourselves racing down to the mini golf course.
The Kiva was more fun than ever this year. Everyone is getting old enough to enjoy different activities in the Kiva, so we found different groups skating, playing basketball, volleyball, and ping pong upstairs. While we have enjoyed dodgeball and Hungry Hungry Hippos before, this was the most epic game of Hungry Hungry Hippos ever, and Rich was proud to lead the kids to a win at last!
We didn’t see rain until the last couple nights, but it was a welcome treat. It gave everyone a chance to hang out and play games. There were families in the campground, yurts, and Indian Peaks this year, and we loved spending time in each of these locations.
Our last night was spent saying goodbye to some of our favorite semi-locals, and we loved spending another evening planning for our Lake Powell trip with this crew. The R family brought back treats from different countries, and the kids loved a night of taste testing.
With house boat plans beginning to unravel for the next stretch of our trip, we picked up a portable toilet from the G families house, not quite able to imagine what this next stretch would look like.
Last but not least is the trike park. You would think these kids would get sick of riding around on tricycles, but this year was their favorite trike racing ever! Some things never get old 🙂 The traditions here have always been a highlight of our summer, and this year was no exception! (travel dates 6/8-6/15/19)