Colorado and New Mexico: July 20, 2010

Highlights from today: (click here for pictures)


(Click here for video #1) (Click here for video #2) (Click here for video #3)


(Click here for a map of the zip line course)


It was the day that we had been waiting for and I can now mark one thing off of my bucket list.  We set 4 alarms because we didn’t want to miss our train.  We were up probably before the alarms went off and were headed out the door to catch our train.  Since we walked past McDonalds, we grabbed a bite of breakfast and walked another block to the train station.


We saw the Soaring Colorado sign and they took our name and showed us to our seat.  The Durango and Silverton Railroad takes 3 trips each day to and from Silverton.  It looks like a neat town but the two train cars that we were on were filled with people who were going Soaring.  The cars were pretty plush with cushy leather benches, ottomans and complimentary water bottles.  The train should have left at 8:15 but we waited and waited.  Finally, we found out that there was an air hose that was broken.  It was nearly 9 when we finally left and we were a little worried that we would miss some of our ziplining adventure. 


The scenery was beautiful.  We were beside mountains, in the valley and following a river.  It was a fairly long ride-around 2 hours.  And in the middle of it our train stopped on the tracks.  We heard one person say something about a fire but later someone clarified that something was wrong with the “fire box” and they had to use the “ice stick” to fix it.  I don’t know what that means but since we were already running late, I didn’t care what was wrong but that they only got it fixed quickly.  Soon enough it was fixed and we were back on our way.


We slowed at one point and 2 Soaring “sky rangers” boarded the train to give us some instructions and within a mile we were all getting out at the Tall Timber Resort where Soaring Colorado is located.  Here is a brief history of the ranch: Grandpa bought the entire valley from peak to peak when he was 19.  His son saw a movie with someone ziplining and had their lawyers look into if there any type of trademarks or patents.  After 2 years designing the course, they opened Soaring.  They also closed their overnight resort since Soaring took off so well.  The only way in or out is by train or private helicopter.  They also own a helicopter company in town.  The whole family works and lives there-including the little granddaughter.  She just played out in the yard during most of the day.  The sky rangers live in cabins a mile down the tracks and walk to work everyday.


As we pulled up, all of the staff were lined up waving at us.  The whole day reminded us of our float trip through the Grand Canyon-everything was first class and the staff was wonderful.  The first item of business was signing zillions of consent forms-that always makes you feel good.  Then they made us all go and potty and put our stuff in lockers.  Next they tightened harnesses on us and those harnesses were checked and double checked throughout the day. 


They gave us some instructions and then we were off - our first zip was out the second story of a building.  It wasn’t too long-maybe 50 feet.  It was awesome.  After that we went through zipline to zipline-sometimes we would arrive and leave from the same platform, sometimes we would have to climb higher on the platform and sometimes they would lower us to the ground with a pulley system.  Fairly early in the morning, they passed out caramel cranberry bars and water bottles.  The bars were absolutely delicious-maybe they were so good because people in chef’s clothes were passing them out. 


Next was most ziplining and the thunder started.  It looked like it was going to storm but it only sprinkled a little.  They assured us that if it started lightening they would take us down-since we were standing on metal platforms, attached to a metal rope and wearing a metal harness.  But it was only a sprinkle and soon we were gliding in for lunch.  As Robby and I walked to the lunch area, we saw a big black bear behind one of the buildings.  He walked around and then stood up to peer in a window.  By now other people had seen it too and the little granddaughter playing in the yard starts yelling at her dogs to go and get the bear.  They chased the bear off-which I am glad off since I was walking backwards away and Robby was walking towards the bear taking pictures.


Robby chose the pulled pork sandwich made on coconut bread and I had the pineapple sandwich.  We both had pasta salad, homemade chips, a 3 berry cold soup and topped it all of with a homemade ice cream sandwich.  I was expecting it to be the store bought ice cream sandwich but it was delicious!  The afternoon parts of the course consisted of crossing over the river each time we zipped.  It was awesome and the spans got increasingly longer.  The storm clouds arrived again and now it was sprinkling pretty good as we walked up the hill to our last span.  They offered everyone rain coats but we didn’t take them-should have because soon it was pouring but we still stayed fairly dry under the trees. 


The last span was over 1400 feet long-it went through the trees and across the river.  They say that you can reach speeds of over 30 miles per hour.  I believe it.  I tried to take a video but I would just spin on each zipline and hardly ever stay straight.  Some people, like Robby, were more adventurous and would let go and go upside down.  The last zip seemed super long and was a perfect end to the day.  The day went perfect and I couldn’t more highly recommend this place. 


We refilled our water bottles and waited on the train to come and pick us up and take us back to Durango. When they pulled up, you could see the look of envy on the other passengers faces as we re-boarded the train.  We slept a little and read our magazines on the way back and were back in Durango.  The sky rangers had told us to eat at Tequilas for supper and we found it on the other end of Main Street.  It was very good-but the air must have been out there because it was hot and our food was hot and that just made us hot and full.  But after our walk back to the hotel and calling our folks to check in, we are feeling good and about to head out for gas and groceries.


Dennie Kid Update:  Everyone slept well again last night.  Reagan was the last to wake up and Grannymom commented that she slept the latest yesterday.  Reagan replied that she wanted to wake up last today.  On the way to school, Reagan noticed that Grannymom had brought along Campbell and told her that Campbell couldn’t stay at school.  Grannymom said that she knew that but Campbell couldn’t stay home alone either.  That is when Anderson piped in and told her that he could have stayed at home with her.


Graham drop off went as expected.  He was fine until he reached his class and then he loses it.  I am sure that he calms down (eventually) and still has a good day (probably).  They were excited to talk to us tonight and we heard that Anderson hasn’t taken off his bracelet from our hotel in Branson.  He said he is leaving it on so he can go back to Branson and go swimming-smart boy.  He then wanted to know if Daddy “really saw a real bear.”  Graham was happy to hear Dad’s voice and Campbell was drinking some milk during the phone call so it sounds like all is well in Dennie Kid Land.

1 comment:

The Proctors said...

That looks like so much fun!! Glad you guys are having a great time!