Our last few days in Breckenridge, we played. Hard.
First up, we rode the gondola from town to the base of the ski resort. In summer, the slopes transform into a mountain amusement park with alpine slides, a coaster, bounce houses, human maze, pony rides and more*.
By far, the favorite activity was panning for "golden," as B called it. The kids are given a bag of ore that they can sift through and discover all sorts of precious stones. Of course, all rocks are precious to these kids, so they stuffed their bags full of quartz, fools gold... and lots of gravel.
Next, we headed to Kite Lake, an alpine pool nestled at the base of several 14,000-foot peaks (Mounts Lincoln, Cameron, Democrat and Bross). Kris explained how he's climbed four peaks in a single day, and promised to take them to the summits someday (they are some of the least technical Colorado 14ers to climb, so the kids could theoretically do them when they're a little older).
The lake sits above 12,000 feet and is surrounded by a carpet of thick green tundra and swaths of rocky ridgelines. We approached the lake and told the kids they could do whatever they wanted. The agenda was theirs.
Play in the mud by the lake until your shoes fall off? No problem.
Wrestle in the wildflowers? Sure.
Eventually, they decided they wanted to hike around the lake -- make a big circle, hop on rocks and skip across the feeder streams and end up back where they started. So we did.
To celebrate their first circumnavigation of an alpine lake, we ate this:
But not before testing its weatherproof-ness by dunking it in the lake:
When we cut into the wax, the chocolate was not only dry...it was delicious.
With my eyes, I scouted the perfect flat spot to build our little, one-room log cabin. We'd need a wood-burning stove, but the lake with all its clean snow-melt and trout would be plenty to sustain us. And the views? We'd never stop smiling. My cheeks hurt from all the smiling.
I could live here, in this exact spot, and let my children play in the shadow of these mountains forever.
*note: FunPark tickets were provided to us by Breckenridge Ski Resort.