Posts Tagged ‘holidays’


We only had a few days in Hawaii, and the highlight of the trip for Gorgeous Girl was the opportunity to try surfing for the first time. We found an instructor who operated away from the main tourist beaches (and hence was much less expensive) and he was great.

Gorgeous Man also took part in the lesson. Before they were allowed in the water with the boards they had to practice on land.


Practicing their moves…surfing2

We had brought Gorgeous Girl’s wetsuit with us and Al the instructor provided a life vest. Gorgeous Girl was very confident in the water thanks to all the snorkelling in Fiji last year, and the life vest added to that water confidence. They started in close to shore.


Standing up with the board supported.


Standing on her own catching a very small wave!


Then it was time to paddle out to the break and catch some real waves.


Gorgeous Girl did really well, unfortunately my camera didn’t zoom that far and all of the pictures of her surfing at the break are blurry. She fell off a few times, but climbed right back on and kept going. She managed to catch a lot of waves  and stood up more than she fell off. The beach was perfect – uncrowded and the water was very calm. I’m pretty sure that she’s going to want to try surfing again on an Australian beach very soon.

Hawaii was a great way to end the trip and I’m hoping that we have created some memories that will stay with us for a very long time.


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This is the last snow post I promise. On our last day in Estes Park we decided to go sledding again. This time we tried a different location. The hill was a bit steeper and longer. Once again we hired our sleds and set off.

By this time Gorgeous Girl had the steering and management of the sled down pat.

YMCA sledding1

Heading back up the hill.

YMCA sledding2

I managed to get better photos of Gorgeous Man this time. Since we were the only people there (it was a school day), it was easier to get closer to the action.

YMCA sledding3



Another family turned up and Gorgeous Girl and their little girl had great fun riding in tandem on  their sleds. They had a tube. Here’s Gorgeous Girl’s method of carrying it up the hill for their little girl. (I’ve cut their girl out of the picture).


And more conventionally.


Yes, she really was wearing short sleeves in the snow…

I have to admit that I didn’t really like sledding on the plastic sleds. They felt too fast and out of control for me. I also took a pretty good tumble out of one on this hill. Nothing was hurt, but I rolled over a few times. The other family persuaded me to have a go on the tube and I really enjoyed it. Much more my pace and I felt a lot more secure in it.

It was a great way to spend our last day in Colorado.



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Feedback from family (grandparents) and friends is that they are enjoying the holiday pictures, so we will continue…

We watch a lot of nature documentaries. Gorgeous Man and Gorgeous Girl are committed bird watchers and Gorgeous Girl has her own life list of birds that she adds to. [Side note: if you are coming to Papua New Guinea and you are interested in birds do get in touch Gorgeous Man frequently hosts visiting bird enthusiasts].

One of the documentaries that we watch often is about North America and has a segment on elk who wander through a town during the summer. The town featured on the documentary is Estes Park, so we were really hoping to see some of the native wild life while we were visiting. We had a competition going to see who could spot the first animal. I won with a sighting of these elk. These were spotted as we were driving to the National Park.


I have to say I was really charmed by the beautiful houses in Colorado. I’m very partial to the use of wood and there were lots of wooden houses around.

Inside the Rocky Mountain National Park we spotted these mule deer.


I love the new camera I got for an early birthday present last year. It has a much larger zoom than my old one which makes taking animal photos much more satisfying.

More deer having a rest.


But we didn’t have to go into the National Park to see animals. There was great excitement (from all of us) when these guys turned up in the front yard.


There were quite curious, but didn’t stay for long.


We also saw these guys up close in town.



But much to our disappointment didn’t spot any moose.

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Keeping with the theme of outdoor winter activities…

We booked in for a guided snow-shoeing walk in the Rocky Mountain National Park. These activities are offered for free and are conducted by rangers and volunteers, but you do need to book in advance.

We once again hired equipment and headed for the park. We were early and so took a practice walk before the group was due to meet up.

We walked across a frozen lake to this frozen waterfall. I discovered that I quite like snow-shoeing. I think that if I lived in a snowy place it’s something I’d like to do much more of. I certainly felt more comfortable doing this than sledding and it was much less painful than the ice-skating.


It was really cold. As we were waiting for the group to assemble it started to snow. The ranger checked the temperature and announced that it was -13F (-25C). During the pre-trip briefing she said that if anyone in the group felt too cold to continue at any time they should let her know and one of the volunteers would escort them back to the starting point (car park). About 4 seconds later Gorgeous Girl informed Gorgeous Man that she was too cold to do the walk. So she and I sat in the car while Gorgeous Man tromped through the snow.

It was this day that we realised that the winter clothes that Gorgeous Man and I had with us were inadequate for the weather and on the way back from the National Park we stopped at a thrift store and purchased a warmer winter coat for the princely sum of $5 each. The cabin we were staying in had a washer and dryer, so a few hours later they were ready to wear.

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Ice skating

Are you tired of reading about our trip yet?

In keeping with our winter sports theme, Gorgeous Man also took Gorgeous Girl ice-skating. They purchased a day pass at the YMCA in Estes Park and this gave them access to the frozen pond and skate hire.

Gorgeous Girl took to ice-skating very well and enjoyed thoroughly. If we lived in a different place I suspect we’d have a winter athlete on our hands.

A ice skating

We all went back a second time. I tried ice-skating. I used to love it when I was a kid, but it just caused too much pain this time (not surprising given all the trouble I’ve had with my feet over the last few years). On our second trip to the YMCA Gorgeous Girl also took advantage of a friendship bracelet making class that was on offer. I sat  in and learned how to make a new design from the ones I’d made in high school, so that was cool.

As a result of this class we made a trip into Fort Collins to visit JoAnn’s and pick up some embroidery cotton, among other things.

An added bonus to the ice-skating is that Gorgeous Girl discovered yesterday that she’s much more confident and sturdy on her rollerblades.

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We had a quiet Christmas. Fresh snow, a sleep in, roast lamb and vegetables for lunch and an open fire. We didn’t exchange a huge number of gifts because a) we were travelling and b) the trip itself was part of combined Christmas birthday gifts for everyone and I believe that experiences are more important than things.

After Christmas we had some fabulous clear sunny days and so decided to take Gorgeous Girl sledding. We hired some sleds from The Hiking Hut in Estes Park (which doesn’t appear to have a website) and headed for Hidden Valley in the Rocky Mountain National Park.

Here Gorgeous Man and Gorgeous Girl are dragging their sleds from the car park. Anticipation was high.


There is no filter on this picture. When we arrived the slope was quite empty (it filled up before the day was through though).


A nice gentle slope for first time sledders.

Gorgeous Girl squealed a bit the first time, but then took to it like she’d been sledding all her life. She was leaning and using her hands to steer the sled (this became more critical as the slope filled up) around other sledders. I was very impressed at how well she did.


The concentration was high, sledding is serious business.

I took a turn.


It was fun.

Gorgeous Man took many turns. Both solo


and with Gorgeous Girl.


We created some wonderful memories that day.

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