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Sunday, 23 August 2015 13:58

Why You Should Travel Now

By Lynn O'Rourke Hayes

It’s easy to allow financial stress, busy schedules and a hectic lifestyle to get in the way of putting dates on the calendar.

Here are seven reasons to flag a family vacation as a top priority:

No one is getting any younger.

Not you, the grandparents, or your children. Family life is hectic and it can be difficult to carve out time to even plan a vacation, let alone takeone. Yet, before you know it, the kids will be otherwise engaged with school or team responsibilities, summer jobs and college internships. That means the opportunities to get away as a family will diminish even further. So, get planning!

It’s only money.

Sure, budgets are tight. We’re all trying to save more. But a hefty bank account is no substitute for a memory bank brimming with great visuals of your kids running on the beach, hiking in the mountains or climbing in the saddle for the first time. Allocate the dollars you can. Then be on the lookout for deals, promotions or creative low-cost options.

Keep it in the family.

Those busy work and school schedules often mean we seldom see family members about whom we care deeply. Add the geographic spread that is common in most clans and get togethers can be rare. Make this the summer you reconnect with grandparents, that favorite uncle or your long lost cousins. Share stories. Trade photos. Extend the limbs on your family tree.

Get outside.

A visit to a national, state or regional park can provide a bonanza of historical and natural insight and experience. Take to the trails, the streams or the hillside and enjoy nature’s bounty. Camping along the way provides a low cost opportunity to learn outdoor skills and tell tales around the camp fire.

Make it a photo opp.

We tend to remember those moments and events that we capture on film or on a digital memory card. Be deliberate about gathering the kids, friends and relatives together to snap a photo or a few moments of video. Be sure to capture those candid moments too. Then, share and enjoy!

Write it down.

Whether you keep a journal or notes with your photos, scribble a few sentences about your planning process and the trips you take. In time, memory seems to fade the details like dialogue, what people wore, jokes and stories told or memories shared. Save the individual strands of the experience. You’ll be glad you did.

Make a plan together.

Gather your family and get their input on your travel plans. Seek volunteers for researching possible destinations or low cost opportunities. Consider house trades, villa rentals, last minute getaways or just a weekend in a neighboring city. When the time comes, share packing and last minute detail responsibilities. In the end, it is the shared experience that creates the lasting memories and strengthens the bond.

bike Colorado
With more gold and platinum-rated bicycle communities than any other state and exciting cycling events for amateurs to pros, Colorado is the place to visit for fun on two wheels.
The 2015 USA Pro Challenge (August 17-23) and the inaugural Women’s USA Pro Challenge (August 21-23) will welcome spectators to witness the world’s best professional road cyclists and iconic cycling routes through Colorado’s Rocky Mountains and Front Range. For different cycling scenery and a group ride atmosphere, the 2015 Pedal The Plains Bicycle Tour returns to the plains of Northeastern Colorado September 18-20.
It is guaranteed the USA Pro Challenge will get spectators amped to do a bit of cycling themselves and participants in Pedal the Plains are sure to leave wanting more rides and views from Colorado’s plains. Below is a sampling of mountain, road and cruiser bike rides to be experienced in the host destinations of these two major cycling events.  For more information on cycling in Colorado, visit
USA Pro Challenge Host Destination Rides: 
Arapahoe Basin—The Argentine-North Fork and Lenawee trails allow mountain bikers to go up and over Arapahoe Basin into stunning views of wildflower fields. Road bikers can enjoy the 20-mile loop around Lake Dillon with rolling hills and a climb up Swan Mountain. For a scenic cruiser ride, the Summit County Recreational Pathway System (Rec Path) connects towns and resorts throughout Summit County.
Aspen—Top-rated mountain bike trails on Snowmass Mountain include the Cross Mountain Trail (intermediate), Wilderness Way (intermediate) and Banzai (expert only). The road to Maroon Bells offers road bikers some of the best scenery Aspen has to offer.  Although Aspen prides itself on its hardcore mountain and road bike rides, it is also a great place to take a cruiser bike ride. The Rio Grande Trail is a gently sloping, mostly paved surface that runs 40 miles from Aspen to Glenwood Springs.
Breckenridge—Mountain bikers can take advantage of a sprawling trail network of more than 50 miles found right in Breck’s backyard. Road bikers can check out the paved Blue River Recreation Path that follows the Blue River through town limits. Cruiser bikers can join the community for Breckenridge Cruisers every Thursday night in June, July and August for a themed bike crawl.
Copper Mountain—This ski resort offers riders an unlimited amount of bike hauls up the American Eagle chairlift for $15 per day. A wide range of beautiful high-country mountain trail rides lead cyclists of all skill levels through forest of pines and meadows. Road and cruiser cyclists can enjoy an exhilarating downhill descent when traveling from Copper to Frisco on the Rec Path or for those wanting more of a challenge, they can ride uphill in the opposite direction.
Denver—The Mile High City boasts more than 850 miles of paved off-road trails. Road bikers can’t miss the Cherry Creek Bike Path that begins where Denver was first founded at the confluence of the South Platte River and Cherry Creek. The path runs along the creek for more than 40 miles to Franktown. Cruisers can look forward to summer nights eachWednesday when Denver Cruiser Ride brings the party to downtown Denver with weekly wacky themes.
Fort Collins—With more than 280 miles of bike lanes and trails, Fort Collins caters to every kind of cyclist. Climb up into the foothills via various road rides that travel along Horsetooth Reservoir. Horsetooth Mountain Open Space offers several rides for mountain bikers who are looking for varied terrain and challenges. For paved winding trails that the whole family can enjoy, the Poudre River Trail and Spring Creek Trail both travel along river fronts.
Golden—Situated in between the plains and mountains, Golden provides a great combination of flatlands, gentle slopes and challenging mountain roads. The ultimate challenge for road bikers presents itself at Lookout Mountain. Tony Grampsas Park features the first purpose-built, mountain bike-only trails in Golden. Cruisers can look forward to the last Tuesday of the month until October when the city gets together for a family-friendly bike ride that takes riders through the town.
Loveland—Devil's Backbone, one of Loveland’s favorite mountain biking trails, is abundant with natural features such as grasslands carpeted with wildflowers that make this a beautiful and adventurous ride. Road cyclists can experience scenic views like Boyd Lake when they travel from Loveland to Drake and Estes Park through Big Thompson Canyon along US 34. For even more scenic landscapes that everyone can enjoy, cyclists can head to the South Shore or North Lake Park along Lake Loveland for a casual cruiser ride.
Steamboat Springs—Set against the western ridge of the Continental Divide this city has all three biking styles covered. Emerald Mountain hovers over downtown and is a local favorite for cross-country mountain bikers. For those looking for downhill thrills Steamboat Bike Park offers 2,200 vertical feet of descending flow trails. The Yampa Valley area provides spectacular scenery for those who are more inclined to road bike. The Yampa River Core Trail allows cruisers to travel alongside the Yampa River across town.
Pedal the Plains Host Destination Rides:
Holyoke—Traveling to Holyoke on Highway 6 or 385 allows riders to see the role that agriculture plays on this small town located 13 miles east of the Colorado/Nebraska border. Riders can expect to see rows of wheat, corn, sugar beets, millet and other fields that line the horizon. Cyclists will also see livestock on their ride across this area.
Julesburg—This gateway to Colorado is a rider’s first eastern greeting when traveling west toward the Rocky Mountains. What was once a city of the Wild West is now a quiet small town that welcomes cyclists who are traveling along the South Platte River. This town is perfect for bird watching and catching a glimpse of the abundant wildlife as you ride by.
Sterling—Located just off Interstate-76, this agricultural community is nestled next to the Overland Trail that runs along the South Platte River. Cyclists will enjoy the serene qualities of Sterling’s natural landscapes. Grasslands and rolling hills make for ideal views of the state’s frontier heritage.

Fly fishing for families

During a recent outing I was reminded why they call one of my favorite sports “fishing”.

And not “catching”.

It was a beautiful day in the Vail Valley and my son Alex and I headed out for a morning of “Walk and Wade” fly-fishing with a guide from Gore Creek Fly Fishermen.

Scott picked us up at The Arrabelle where we were enjoying a family weekend, and we made our way to a lovely stretch of the Eagle River.  After gearing up we headed into the water, eager for that first, satisfying tug on our line.  Despite our enthusiasm, hours went by with only a few tangled lines to show for our effort.

With Scott’s help, we identified the bugs in the air and traded out flies.

Still no luck.

Despite our lack of “success” it was a beautiful day and we were able to enjoy the cool breezes off the water, the graceful bends in the river and the soothing sound of the luminescent ripples over the rocks.

We practiced our patience and were prepared to depart the river, closed out for the first time in a while.

“Some days are just like that,” we acknowledged.

And then it happened.

First, Alex pulled in a beautiful brown.  With luck now clearly on our side, I landed a rainbow of my own.

Thankfully, the fishing gods had rewarded our patience. And appropriately reminded us that fly-fishing is a total experience. It is immersion into natural beauty. It requires focus and intention.  It’s instructive and meditative.

And while “catching” is desirable, it is only the most highly publicized perk in a diversified program. 


You'll find more family fly fishing ideas here.

Sunday, 21 June 2015 15:57

Adventure Inspiration

By Lynn O'Rourke Hayes

surfing adventure

Life is full of adventure!

If you are looking for a little inspiration, a few words to urge you into action, you've come to the right place.


"You can never cross the ocean unless you have the courage to lose sight of shore." – Christopher Columbus

“A man on foot, on horseback or on a bicycle will see more, feel more, enjoy more in one mile than the motorized tourists can in a hundred miles.” ~ Edward Abbey

“If you’re not living on the edge, you’re taking up too much space.” - Anonymous

Find 49 other inspirational quotes here!

Laguna Niguel

Reflecting on the memories of our life, and especially the memories of our treasured family vacations, provide the riches of joy and love in our hearts.

The nostalgia of looking back through the family photo album conjures up happy feelings of sharing our lives with the people that are the most important to us, sharing experiences that shape our lives, our hearts and our world.

The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel provides a beautiful, experiential platform to capture those memories while promising an extraordinary backdrop to allow your loved ones to unfold in beautiful and magical ways. 

In a new partnership with Pacific Dream Photography the resort now offers complimentary photo shoots for your whole family. Capture the smiles, the laughter and the moments which become the indelible marks in our hearts. Allow your emotion to shine as you engage with your loved ones while the experience is documented.  Your entire family will enjoy interacting with the professional photographers at Pacific Dream. They  bring their creative perspective, a good eye for a picture and the right technical and photographic skills to capture the aliveness that is you and your family. 

The experience of  this togetherness is a magical part of a memorable visit to Southern California. Twenty four hours after the photo shoot you will have the opportunity to view your images and select the ones you want to keep, with no obligation. There are many locations throughout the resort to choose from as a backdrop and many slots throughout the day to accommodate your schedule for the shoot. Choose the beautiful morning light on the beach or the dramatic bow of the sun setting over Catalina Island. 

To learn more and to set your photo session time, please visit HERE.

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