Monday, June 13, 2011

Our Soaring Adventure

We thought about flying, but driving was much less expensive... about $30 each in gas instead of over $200 each for an airline ticket. We had never met Peggy before so we really lucked out that she was such an awesome traveler! Her and Becky, our coworker, have been friends since they were 13 years old and lived inYuma! There was no lack of conversation that is for sure! They joked about them talking so much and Kenny and I wanting some peace and quiet, but in reality they had lots of interesting things to talk about and we enjoyed them. We made the best of our 7 hour drive and made lots of pit stops and ate lots of junk food- Reeses and cheese snack mix- yum! We stopped at the four corners, of course, and even took time to look through all the shops
We checked into the Durango Lodge and went exploring in downtown Durango. We found a great little book store that was literally busting at the seams with books! We all found something we couldn't live without and made our purchases. As I was paying I told the gentleman working there that there was a show about this type of situation (Hoarders) and he said - I didn't do this I just work here. lol They even had a storage shed and a vehicle filled with books as well! 

After searching all over the resort town for a reasonably priced meal (most places were between $20-40 per plate!), we ended up eating at Francisco's, a Mexican food restaurant, in the center of town. The food pretty good, but not the traditional AZ type Mexican food we are used to. The company was great and the 4 of us sat their talking for hours (they were nice not to kick us out! lol) 

Saturday morning we woke up pretty early, considering Colorado is one hour a head of us, and enjoyed a free bagel and doughnuts at the hotel. We headed to the train station filled with pure excitement for our adventure! 

The first class car we got to ride in was SO nice and comfy and since there was only a small group that day we got to spread out and live it up! 
I was so impressed with the train and just sat back enjoying the fresh clean smells, the cold Colorado air blowing in from the open window and taking pictures. We saw a few deer running along the side of the track and lots of people waving to the train. It was cute how practically ever person, walking, sitting in their cars etc all waved like we were old friends. 

The coal burning train was built in 1881 by Chinese and Irish workers in just 11 months! If you think about that as you travel the winding track through the tough train you realize what hard work they must have poured into that project. The train isn't the quickest way to travel normally, but to get to the Tall Timbers Resort it is... the only other way in is to HIKE! Emily, our escort on the train told us we would actually be traveling more quickly on the ziplines than on the train! WoW.

Before we knew it the 2 hour train ride was over and we had arrived at the Soaring Tree Top Adventures Resort.

We put our things in a locker and were off to get geared up in our harnesses for the day. The harnesses they use are first class... used for people who work on bridges, sky scrapers etc. Then we walked over to the old Lodge and after a short presentation on the equipment and the process we were out the door on the second story onto the first zipline.

The first 5 ziplines were only about 2 stories high and between 50-100 feet long... they were to get acclimated before we got into the more exhilarating part of the course. To get to the highest point of the day, 10 stories in height, we we pulled up on a helicopter lift! Pretty fun!
As we zoomed from tree to tree I tried to enjoy ever second of the experience- the beauty that was around us, the amazing weather and the sheer joy of soaring through the tree tops. The Sky Rangers (as our guides were called) were amazing in making the experience wonderful... you really didn't have to worry about anything but having fun.

After Aspen Alley, one of my favorites, we stopped and had a wonderful homemade granola bar snack and received an awesome metal water bottle with chilled water in it (we got to keep the water bottle too!).

Our next set of lines were the switch backs, which were 3 lines sort of stacked on each other. Super fun! We tried and tried to get pictures of all of on the lines at the same time but it didn't work out. Peggy and Becky were on the lines at the same time and so were Kenny and I... I got a picture of Kenny taking a video of me.
Here is an example of the sky rangers' jokes- he jumped off right behind Peggy and told her she pulled him off the platform.

Right before lunch we had to go one of the most challenging things of the say (for me anyway) and that was jump off a platform attached to an automatic belay (used at the rock climbing gyms)... not sure why but taking that leap off the platform was scarier for me than all of the ziplining!

Since I LOVE food lunch was one of the best parts of the day for me! We got to eat on a platform in the trees right near the river! Although, it was pretty windy and cold the four of us toughed it out in the best seats, closest to the water.
Earlier in the day we had chosen our lunch off a menu... Kenny and I got pulled pork sandwiches on a pineapple/coconut bun with chips (which were made out of veggies, fruit, potato salad, chilled berry soup (which tasted like a smoothy!) and for dessert a ice cream sandwich made of cookies and homemade vanilla ice cream... actually everything was homemade. It was delicious.

The first line after lunch was another one of my favorites... across the river AND low enough to touch, or almost touch the water! Kenny did !

After lunch was more walking to each platform, but the ziplines were longer and more adventurous so I loved it more than the morning half. 

Here are some of my attempts at self portraits- 

These are the racing spans--- Becky and Peggy raced and Kenny and I raced. Kenny won...

Since we had a small group and were ahead of schedule they let us ride two of the lines twice... and Kenny and I got to ride tandem on one! It was really fun soaring across the river with my hubby!

The last zipline was the longest of the day... 1400 feet... thats 1/4 mile! When you got to the platform on one end you could not SEE the end of the line... The first section whipped through the woods and then you were in the wide open crossing over the river one last time... well except they let us ride that line TWICE! We gladly hiked back up to the top of the hill to experience that awesome line again!

Once we had completed a total of 30 ziplines (27 different ones and 2 repeats) we removed our gear and hung it on the racks for inspection later that night and had some nice cool water waiting for us!

It was sad to leave, but once great thing about the experience is it didn't really leave us wanting more... we were all dog tired! I would love to go back someday and take our nephews!!

The train ride back was quiet since there were tons of people sleeping! Kenny and I walked up 3 cars to the beverage car. It was pretty fun 'jumping' from car to car.

Remember when I mentioned before everyone was waiving to us... well on the way back there were lots of teenagers on the river, they didn't wave; they mooned us!! 

That night we decided to take Emily's recommendation and try Steamworks, a restaurant/brewery that served local beer. We all enjoyed the food, but I have to say mine was the coolest... I ordered something I would never order if we weren't on vacation (mostly because it cost $24)- Steamworks Original Cajun Boil- which included Alaskan Dungeness Crab, Wild Texas Shrimp, Audouille Sausage, New Potatoes and sweet corn... wow it was good, BUT HOT! I didn't care for the shrimp, but ate almost everything else they brought out! They put a giant piece of butcher paper down on the table and bring out your meal in a giant silver mixing bowl and dump it on the table... you eat it all with your hands! It was more than a meal it was an experience , for sure. 

Sunday was a lazy relaxing vacation day.. we slept in, had more free breakfast and then hit the town. We walked through lots of shops and looked around town. Kenny quickly grew tired of shopping and opted to get the car washed (it was pretty bad after the drive) and go see a movie. The shops were pretty interesting to look at, but I didn't buy much... the prices were high and I am trying really hard not to buy nick nacks or things without a useful purpose... I did take lost of pictures of interesting things... 
flowers made out of re-purposed bottle caps

a frame made out of recycled keyboards 

We spent some time walking along the river. It was so beautiful. The cotton floating down from the cottonwood trees looked like snow falling. I have never seen anything like it. The weather was amazing too. 

Sunday night the ladies all thought Kenny should pick the restaurant since he was such a good sport all day while we shopped. Applebees was delicious and afterward we just had to go to Baskin Robbins for dessert. 

Monday morning we left nice and early so we could get home and have a little time to recoup before heading to work on Tuesday. The drive seemed longer going home.... I was ready to see our puppies! I did finish these two projects while we were driving- 

We really lucked out having Becky and Peggy as travel buddies, because they were super awesome, fun to be around, laid back, positive and just nice people! Where we going next ladies? White Water Rafting??? 


  1. Looks like a blast! You guys do so many cool things!