Last Saturday we headed up to Estes Park for the day. We love this mountain town and often bring visitors here.
My parents bought the boys fishing poles for Christmas last year and we were excited to take them fishing for the first time to try them out.
Mark had gone to Trout Haven Ranch to fish as a child. So it was a special day for him to bring his boys to a place where he had learned to fish growing up.
Auntie and I also grew up fishing with our Grandpas and Dad. And Mal has just recently picked up the sport again. So we were all excited for this outing!
Trout Haven has a stocked pond, so you are guaranteed a catch. They supply all the bait, nets, bobbers, etc. for ya. You just pay by the inch for what you catch. No catch and release here.
Nolan loved the worms and shrimp.
Showing off their bait.
Mal using a pole that my Dad had given me awhile ago. It's his lefty pole, so we all had to get used to reeling it.
It was funny because Nolan expected to just put his pole in and instantly have a catch. We had to explain to him that fishing is a relaxing activity. That you have to be patient, and enjoy nature, and that part of the fun is the reward of the catch after the wait. Once he watched others, and tried casting a few times, then he got the hang of it, and even told Heath to enjoy and relax.
Heath just wanted to cast and reel it in and cast and reel it in over and over again. He lost many a worm reeling his line in and scraping it against the rocks. We did have to help them both cast because we were in close quarters with other fishermen and it was easy to cross lines. But Heath definitely wanted to be independent.
Nolan playing with his bait before I put it on his hook. I kind of love putting worms on hooks. Weird, I know. But I like the feeling. Auntie, on the other hand, does not.
Mr. Independent and his own style of fishing!
Nolan is a lefty, but most children's poles only come right handed, so he had to get the hang of reeling the line in with his right hand.
After about 45 minutes, many nibbles, and 2 locations at the pond, Flob had the first catch.
The boys were beyond excited!
Flob the Fish- a nice rainbow trout!
Heath liked touching the fish!
Nolan caught a fish shortly after Bob did.
He caught a golden trout. He was so proud!
Flob the Fish and Goldie!
This time instead of just touching the fish, Heath decided to give it a smooch!
And finally, Heath got a catch! Another rainbow trout, so we named him "Bowie".
Heath's hook was through the fish's jaw. So it took a little work to get it out and blood squirted all over.
The boys liked how wild they were in the net and bucket!
And this guy had fun hanging out and watching all the fun! Someday soon, he'll be able to join us.
After our three big catches, remember- we were paying by the inch, we took the fish in to be cleaned.
The boys watched the workers bang the fishes heads on the counter to kill them.
Then they chopped their heads off and cleaned them out. The boys were fascinated.
After fishing we packed a small picnic for the kids and ate outside by the pond.
Then we headed into town to walk around a bit.
What a cute couple!
Us adults got lunch at Penelope's. We ate outside and the kids played by the river while we ate.
I love walking around little towns and peeking inside of all the shops. The smells wafting out onto the street from all the cookie, candy, popcorn, taffy, and ice cream shops are amazing.
Auntie bought Heath a cookie from Grandma's Mountain Cookies. It was HUGE and soft and delicious! The perfect cookie. He ate it all but one tiny bite.
Nolan got to pick out some candy at this old time candy shop. I loved this shop too. It reminded me of one that we used to go to in my Grandpa Jack's town- Hayward, Wisconsin.
After walking around town for a bit, we decided to check out the aerial tramway. We've gone on it before. It's a fun ride and the view from the top of the mountain is beautiful. But since it was 4th of July weekend, the line was super long and we didn't think the boys would enjoy the hour long wait after an already busy day. So we decided to head out of town instead.
We stopped at a scenic overlook to take in some views.
Just like we would have seen at the top of the mountain, there were chipmunks everywhere! They were so cute!
The boys had fun climbing on the rocks and trying to find the chipmunks.
They would eat peanuts right out of your hand. They are used to being fed, so they come right up to you. The boys thought this was so neat.
Estes Park is a pretty beautiful place.
Love these shots with Mark.
We were excited to get home and cook our catch!
Mark and Bob watched You Tube videos and learned how to fillet a fish. Despite a not so sharp fillet knife, they did a great job. Mallory pinned some trout recipes. We picked out an easy one and Mark grilled up the fish with a lemon, mayonnaise, and basil dressing.
The fish was delicious! We served it with mashed potatoes and broccoli. There was something so satisfying about catching and cooking your own food and having it turn out great! Then we capped off the evening with drinks and a beautiful sunset on the deck. It was the perfect end to a fun day.