We recently discovered an awesome family adventure course called Go Ape. We have 2 gift certificates to giveaway for 2 lucky winners! With the holidays just around the corner, this would be a great git for an adventurous family!
Go Ape gift certificates are the perfect gift for an outdoor lover! Our forest adventures are the perfect gift experience for any special day, whether it be a loved one on Valentines or a treat for a hairy primate on their birthday. They also make a great stocking stuffer!
A Go Ape Treetop Adventure Course is an outdoor experience that provides participants 2-3 hours of outdoor fun and exercise. The result is spectacular. The course allows participants to explore the park from an otherwise unobtainable vantage point while navigating through the treetops using zip lines, obstacles and tarzan swings.
We start by equipping participants with harnesses, pulleys and carabiners, give them a 30 minute safety briefing and training and let them loose into the forest canopy, free to fly on zip lines, swing through the trees, and observe the surroundings. Of course, instructors are always on hand, regularly patrolling the forests. The Go Ape Treetop Adventure course gets the adrenalin pumping, gets people out of their comfort zones and above all, it’s a great outdoor activity for families, friends, and corporate groups.
We currently have seven locations: Rockville, MD, Bear, DE, Williamsburg, VA, Pittsburgh, PA, St. Louis, MO, Indianapolis, IN, and North Myrtle Beach, SC with more locations opening up in 2015! To find out more information about Go Ape! visit us online at https://goape.com/gift-certificates .
We recently put a call out for Guest Bloggers and Gilliam Herrle rose her hand! She submitted an excellent post about her families cross country move from the midwest to the old west with their two young boys. Check out her post and some amazing photos!
Last summer, our family finally made the long awaited decision to move from Ohio to Colorado. My grandparents live in Evergreen, Colorado and have been pushing for us to move out here for years. My husband and I have definitely always craved a little move adventure in our lives and last July, the timing was right. So we sold almost all of our belongings, packed what we could fit into our car and drove out to settle in Fort Collins, Colorado with our two young sons.
After living in the Midwest all my life, the main thing that has impacted me the most in Colorado has been this: the mountains. Our ideals as a family have always been to spend a lot of time outdoors. We live a simple life and love to be outside where conversation can flow and children’s imaginations can run wild. Being near the mountains have just exploded our feelings about this. Summer was the perfect time to move out west and to be able to explore our new surroundings. There are so many amazing places to venture to and discover.
One aspect of Colorado that I adore is that the landscape and scenery differ so vastly throughout the state. Prior to moving here, mountains were mountains to me but since traveling around and seeing only SOME of the West, I realize that each place here holds its own unique beauty.
Living somewhere so beautiful has certainly changed our habits as a family. For me, the mountains are a constant reminder that there is MORE to life than just me, or my house or the suburbs. They are a constant reminder of the bigness and realness of nature. I was insistent that we live as close to the foothills as possible when we were looking for a place to live here. Now, I love that when I am headed back from anywhere in the city, I always drive towards the mountains to find home. When I look out my window, I can always see the Front Range and it is almost always calling to me and reminding me to get out and enjoy the world.
As often as we can, we pack the kids in the car and head out to go hiking. We aren’t seasoned hikers or campers or backpackers, yet. We don’t have a lot of fancy gear. But we all get ready and we get ourselves outside. My oldest son likes to pack a little bag full of things that he’ll need and I sometimes bring my camera. As we drive west, we can all feel the weight of the everyday melting aside and as our feet hit a familiar path we all start to feel just a little more free.
For me, the mountains have been healing in a strange way and sometimes, I don’t see how I have lived without them all my life. But I know that mountains aren’t the end all and that adventure can be found wherever you go. Even when we aren’t heading out for a bigger hike or trip, we have started spending so much more time outdoors. There is favorite nature preserve down the road where we love to go to when things are getting rough inside between our two rowdy boys. It’s amazing how nature soothes them. Our littlest son struggles with a lot of “high needs” but when he is outside and his mind can focus instead on rocks and mud, he feels peace.
Spending time outside has always been a part of our lives but now it has become a necessity. I’m so glad that we took the risk to move across the country. I’m so glad that we are spending more time in nature and that we are doing new things. Going west has impacted our family in so many ways and reminded us that it is always good to say “yes” to adventure, whether big or small!
Gillian Herrle runs a lifestyle blog and is a professional photographer serving the northern Colorado area. Visit her blog here and on Instagram here!
Are you interested in writing for Adventure Family in Motion? Send us an email about what you would like to write about! We can’t wait to hear from you!
Last March we made it our family mission to escape endless winter in our home town of Bend, Oregon and emerge into warmer climates. Of course, our goal was to bike with our tiny toddler, while she’s still willing and has no choice. Bonus to baby Iris for still being in diapers. At not-quite 2, our barely 20 lb. offspring was an intrepid traveler by Chariot trailer, with her custom green-with-pink-grips-and-saddle Strider strapped on the back.
We had been riding around Bend with her for a good year on short trips when we decided to take our show on the road. Our first overnight bike-with-baby adventure was to be a guided tour by a mom, blogger and twitter socialite named Elle. That’s pretty much all we knew about the trip when we took off for Sacramento from Bend, a good 8 – 10 hours driving. We knew we were going to be loaded with tents, sleeping bags and other camping gear, but we didn’t know how it would shake down, since we had really never done this before. We knew the sun would shine, and it would be warm and we would make new friends. And that’s really all we needed to know.
The route was a well-worn one for Elle and her own 2 boys at 2 and 4, and her parents and hubs Jose. Sacramento has a brilliant bike path that connects two towns. The American River Trail is long and flat, and winds along the sub-urban edge of California’s Capital, providing a hum of activity and a route for every flavor of cyclist. We visited Practical Cycles to buy Iris a new helmet for the trip. We spent the night in a hotel in Folsom, had breakfast at Karens Bakery and drove to our departure point to park our Honda Element at a park marked by urban blight, some unsettling features such as sleeping drunks and graffiti bathrooms all locked up. We worried about whether we’d ride away from our car and never see it again, and we wondered where everyone was.
And then we had a yard sale. Everything needed unloading and re-loading to balance, squeeze and rationalize our load to make lunch, diapers and such necessities accessible, and to bury all the unmentionables. I thought we’d never be packed, or each of us would surely have at least one conniption each before it all became mobile. My husband had it more under control than I suspected, though, pulling the baby’s rig behind a well-loaded ExtraCycle, complete with cooler, while I towed only my loaded panniers. When we did start to see people rolling in, they were in a huge flock, kids and bikes and flags and bells. The party had arrived! We said hi, met about 6 families, and Elle got her first look at the crazy family she had invited via Twitter, and did not expect to ever seriously join. Soon we set off in a parade of 20+ souls, winding along the trail and regrouping occasionally. Dads had kids on platforms, moms had Mundos, some kind of dog-trailer contained a pet, and we had Iris, who passed out before mile 2 was underway.
A playground picnic, a potty break, a group broke up and I broke away, for a solo mom spin at about mile 20. It was shaping up to be a longer ride than expected, since stopping and chatting and running around happened about every 7 miles. 30 miles was easily going to turn into a 3 hour tour. Miles of smiles, though, as weather was breezy and mild, sun was abundant, and all was right with our band of merry pedalers.
As we broke into small groups at the end, our destination came into in sight at the trail’s end. The river winds to a narrow channel at Negro Bar, and that’s where we crossed over on a bridge at Folsom, and wound down steeply to a sweet little campsite. We were the first group to arrive, and our reserved campsite had been taken over by a large boyscout troop, who had spread a dozen scouts into our space! We had to tussle with them for our rightfully reserved spot, but they eventually retreated and our site became free. It was shady and well-appointed with tables and a firepit, and we cozied in to a nice flat spot to pitch our tent. Everything was right there, dry and handy. No hiking to and from the car, we just unrolled. As we spread a tarp and made our home for the night, Iris made herself popular with Elle’s kids by sharing her new Strider, which she had not started to truly glide on yet. The kids ran and screamed and whooped at the freedom of arriving by bike. The adults unwound and chatted, and we mused about how we vanquished the boyscouts. We have so much in common and many great stories about our travels and challenges as biking families.
Then Elle’s friends showed up with a pizza and some PBR, and we readied the firepit for s’mores. An early evening, a great night’s sleep, a walk to the camp facilities and we snuggled together with the baby for a bit of a chilly evening. We love sleeping outdoors, waking to camp-coffee and our oatmeal, rolling out just a bit after sunrise with the ‘early’ crew.
Our roll home was another easy flat 30 miles, and we pushed the pace a bit to be the first ones back again. We like to ‘win’ the bike tour. ☺ Low and behold, the car was safe and sound, right where we’d parked her. We rewarded our accomplishment with a walk around downtown and some gelato, and then we hit the road for home.
The first outing was so great, and so successfully executed, that we tried another bike camping trip a few months later in Eugene, OR. Less miles, more people, and a huge potluck feast, with live music and wading in the water as well as a nature scavenger hunt, dozens of kids to meet and play with. Did I mention the really nice welcoming people? Shane MacRhodes does an amazing job organizing ‘Kidical Mass’ group excursions in Eugene. Jon and I even won the grand prize donated by REI for the raffle, and ended up with a pop-up canopy, which will surely be handy for this year’s adventures. We are giving some thought to inviting all our new friends to ride right here from home to a nearby site in Tumalo or Sisters, OR. Now that we know how to do it right, we welcome and invite anyone to come along.
Biking to camp with our kid has been the best low-cost vacation option as has these added benefits:
We ‘unplug’ for the weekend, letting our kiddo have our full attention
Nice fresh air, great exercise and yummy food
We see people and things we’ve never seen before, such as families just like us, who practically live on our bikes
We show our child a quiet, relaxing mode of transportation that she can actually enjoy, with other kids and families doing the same. We give her that gift of a healthy lifestyle habit.
We see strange birds, animals, people and have remarkable new experiences together, solve problems together, and make decisions together about when to go or stay, when to stop and take a break, to eat and drink and how and where to ride, as a group and a family, teaching coping and social skills that kids need to work together with others all their lives.
If you need tools or ideas on how to organize your first community bike camping trip, get in touch!
Just a little more about Sami: A former League of America Bicyclists Director of Education, and a current League of American Bicyclists Certified Cycling Instructor as well as a former Safe Routes to Schools Coordinator, currently a full-time mom in Bend, OR.