Ever wanted to take your whole family on a short hike to a waterfall, or stargazing or fly fishing? You can do all this and more when you sign up for Critters, Creeks, and Crows program for families and grandparents at Shadowcliff.
Gail Spinden will again lead this year’s edition, with even more activities planned and led by community experts and facilitators . . . and that means you won’t have to hear, “What are we doing next…I’m bored!”
Gail herself was a Park Ranger for more than 10 years at Rocky Mountain National Park and now teaches at Mountain Sage Community School in Fort Collins. She is very familiar with the West side geography, history flora, and fauna. One of the great advantages of Shadowcliff is its location and prime access to the Western entrance of Rocky Mountain National Park and its excellent biosphere. “We will see a lot of critters,” said Gail. “The whole camp is a wonderful family memory building trip for parents and their kids, and even grandparents. It’s great natural fun.”
Here’ a partial list of the activities planned:
- A critter hunt in the nearby creeks, streams and ponds. Turning over rocks and using a “kick net” will uncover a variety of residents of the area’s waterways. Geoff Elliott, a water specialist for the Grand County Water Information Network will help you see water as habitat and in a whole new light.
- A boat ride on Grand Lake, Colorado’s largest natural lake. Participants will learn how water flows over and through the Rockies and will help measure its quality. Ryan Lotkeff will lead this adventure.
- A campfire complete with songs and s’mores with a Park Ranger at a ranch in Rocky Mountain National Park.
- All-ages fly fishing with Jeff Rodriguez! See below for more details.
- We’ll also have a stargazing expedition, hiking, bird watching, waterfalls and more!
We also feature home-cooked meals using locally sourced meat and produce whenever possible. So again, there’s less that you have to be responsible for – like a REAL vacation!
New this year is a chance to have a Rocky Mountain fly fishing experience. Jeff Rodriguez, the fishing lead at the Orvis Store at Cherry Creek in Denver will be leading the effort and yes, he’s bringing the equipment, too. Adults who are interested in learning to fly fish will need a Colorado fishing license for the day. (Contact Shadowcliff’s Program Coordinator Kelly Yarbrough to find out more.)
Jeff says that fly fishing is great fun for the whole family. This particular experience will be limited to about 4- 5 families and will be on a first come, first served basis because of the equipment needed and the teaching nature of the event.
“I think the sport (fly fishing) has gotten a bad rap for having a lot of barriers to it like, ‘you have to travel a long distance, it’s pretty expensive, and it’s difficult to learn.’ My goal is to keep it as simple as possible and to get people having a good time and hopefully, we can get them a fish,” Jeff says. “It’s a really rewarding experience. You get to experience the whole ecosystem of the river. It’s not like white water rafting. You’re a little bit more in tune with the river,” Jeff added.
The prime age group for Critters, Creek & Crows is for kids 6 to 14 years old. Other ages will be entertained too and there is some flexibility based on those attending. “We purposely keep the camp limited so we can cater as much as possible to a smaller group,” Gail said.
This is an awesome chance for families to reconnect and to disconnect from their technology. “The rule for us has been that when the campers come outside with me, like on a hike or when we are eating, electronic devices need to be put away,” Gail says.
The deadline for Critters, Creeks & Crows is fast approaching. If you want your kids (or grandkids, nieces, nephews, etc.) to have a wonderful, nature-intensive vacation and retreat in the Rocky Mountains, where the activities are planned and led by someone else and where the meals are natural and delicious, then get on board with this Shadowcliff Colorado memory making experience.
Your kids will love you for it!