Written by Ariella, Apprentice Pro for Challenge Aspen
For the past two weeks I have had the pleasure of working with the Gold family and their son Toby. The Gold’s were on vacation for two weeks, and wanted a fun-packed itinerary of activities that the whole family could enjoy together.
The first activity on our list: a day of fly fishing on the Challenge Aspen ranch, followed by sailing and power-boating on Ruedi Reservoir. Toby quizzed me extensively about my movie knowledge on the way to the ranch, and by the time we met our fishing guides we were fast friends, having bonded over our mutual love of the Harry Potter films. Toby was very relaxed to stand at the edge of the pond casting and chatting about movie characters, actors and casts. He caught several fish, and even picked one up for a picture! After lunch we headed to the Aspen Yacht Club. The power boat, it turns out, is a great place for a nap: after boating down to the dam at one end of the reservoir, Toby lay down on the deck in the sun. It was fantastic to see someone normally so active, now so relaxed.
On our next day together, we went whitewater rafting on the Colorado River. Toby was a little apprehensive about the big waves, so he and I waited downriver while his father, Jamie, and sister, Sophie, rafted the class 3 Shoshone Rapids, and then picked us up for the remaining 11-mile stretch of river. I was happy to see Toby try something he had been quite nervous about—and to hear that he wound up having a great time getting splashed by some of the smaller waves! Afterwards, we took the gondola up to the Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park. Jamie and Sophie headed for the rollercoasters while Toby and I went for a tour of the fairy caves. “Hey, that rock looks like a dinosaur!” he exclaimed a few minutes into the tour, and I knew we had picked the right activity. Toby quizzed our guide about the Indiana Jones movies, and asked questions about the caves, the different kinds of rock and what animals came down there.
We were all especially proud of Toby for trying out rock climbing. Our guide took us to a “crag” in Independence Pass, where he set up several top ropes for everyone to try out the different climbs. After he scraped his finger a few feet into the route, Toby wanted to come down, but with a little encouragement he continued climbing for 20 more feet, almost to the top!
Another highlight of the week, for me, was horseback riding at T-Lazy 7 ranch. None of us were sure how long Toby would last—the family had booked an hour and a half trip and Toby often tires of new activities after just a few minutes. The ranch assigned us an extra hand named Mackenzie, who helped Toby onto his horse, Cactus, and rode with him at the back of the line for the entire trip. As we headed off into the woods, Toby struck up a conversation with Mackenzie about her favorite movie villains. The conversation lasted the next hour and a half. When the riding trip was over we headed to the Aspen Rec Center pool where Toby and I tested out the waterslide, the lazy river and the hot tub.
This was our last day together, and when we got out of the pool Toby asked “is today the day we have to say goodbye?” I told him that yes, today was our last day together. “I’m going to miss you,” he said. “If you decide to come to Toronto, you are welcome.”