For the past several years, I’ve wanted to head to the mountains for a family weekend in the fall.
Of course, because it is fall, we always seem to have things going on – all the extracurricular activities start up after the summer and it’s hard to find a free weekend. So when we were invited to the YMCA of the Rockies in Estes Park for a yoga weekend, I jumped at the chance and cleared the calendar. A weekend in the mountains? Focused on healthy living and de-stressing? With things for the kids to do? It was a no-brainer.
We arrived Friday evening just in time for dinner, then headed to our cabin. Before turning in for the night, the kids and I gathered on the front porch and stared at the stars for a while. It’s amazing how many more you can see here in the mountains than in the suburbs. I showed the kids the two constellations I can actually spot, and we marveled at the fact that we could see the Milky Way. Then…well, we cheated and looked at the Night Sky app to find a bunch more constellations. The kids headed off to bed so we could be up and ready for our day of yoga on Saturday.
The next morning, we met our group for breakfast. The family yoga weekend included catered meals in the Ram’s Horn Combo, and they were delicious and healthy! After our scrambled eggs and fruit, we headed to a session on essential oils. We spent a few minutes learning about how different scents can help to energize, calm, or otherwise affect your mood (or your kids’ moods!) for the day…but our favorite part was making our own bath bombs. The kids had a blast mixing up all the ingredients, picking the scents, and even adding glitter to their creations.
After lunch, my teenage daughter and I decided to try Aroma Flow Yoga, while my husband took our seven-year-old and ten-year-old to try the Kids’ Yoga. They had a blast. They learned some basic poses, and also tried poses based on different animals. My daughter loved the butterfly pose, and even made up her own – The Roly Poly Pose. I’m not entirely sure it’s legitimate, but she enjoyed herself so much, she kept re-creating it that night back in our cabin.
When our afternoon classes were over, the kids and I got together and made a group decision…to send my husband to Yoga for Stress Relief. The poor man needed it. While he was de-stressing, we headed to roller skate at the Longhouse nearby. We all met back up for dinner, and then took a leisurely stroll down to the lawn in front of the administration building. The kids made friends with other visiting families and even got a few together for a rousing game of Gagaball (if you’ve never played – you need to try it! It’s addicting). My husband and I relaxed on a bench, talking and keeping an eye on the kids…and then the elk arrived. An entire herd wandered onto the grass to eat, while a huge bull elk kept watch and even bugled on occasion, to make sure we all kept our distance. We finished up the next morning with breakfast together and one last yoga session, and then the kids talked us into a round of mini golf before we headed back down the mountain to reality.
While Family Yoga Weekend was a little different – it was a special event that cost more than usual for a YMCA weekend – there are lots of great things to do at the camp for an affordable price. Rooms start at $84/night, and cabins like the one we stayed in start at $109. Our cabin fit the six of us very comfortably, with room to spare, which is not always a given for our big family! The Stay Passes everyone receives when they check in allow guests to play mini golf, swim, play Gagaball (seriously – try it!), access the game room, roller skate, hike, and more. There are family programs like movie nights, parachute games, and guided nature walks. During the fall, guests can also take an Elk Ecology Class, or come for a Fall Fest weekend between Sept. 22-Oct. 6 with fall-focused crafts and activities. The Halloween Spooktacular event on October 27 encourages families to dress up, participate in spooky activities, and trick or treat throughout the camp.
In the midst of our crazy fall schedule, this weekend was a much-needed break for us to relax together, see the gorgeous fall colors, learn a little yoga, see the elk and other wildlife, and enjoy the scenery you can only find here in Colorado. It may only be ninety minutes away, but it made a world of difference.