Papa Rich Comes to Town

My dad came to Vail on vacation in 1978 and never left. Well, sort of never left. In 2011, after I graduated from college he moved to Belize to start a new construction business (Tata Duende Builders). The housing market in Vail had not recovered after the economy collapse in 2008, and there were some (seemingly) good opportunities in Belize.

Side note: I love to hear people talk about Belize. “That’s so cool your dad speaks Spanish!” “I love Belize!…where is it again?” “You better Belize-it!” So let me get some facts straight: Belize is an English speaking country south of Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula. While Belize has islands (known as cayes), it is not an island, and my dad lives on the mainland. images (1)

Now that we have that cleared up….

While living in Belize SOUNDS amazing, I can assure you that after living in/growing up in the mountains, beach life isn’t all its made out to be–especially when your family lives in Colorado. So, unlike most families when the kids go visit the parents, my dad comes to visit us. He came to town a few weeks ago for surgery (which went well!)

The best part about my dad coming to visit, opposed to the other way around, is that my dad has plenty of time to go on adventures. Before surgery, my dad was still able to bike a little bit, so I took him to my favorite trail in Eagle called Haymaker followed by beers at Bonfire Brewery.

After surgery, biking wasn’t really an option and I have made it my goal this summer to explore new places in the Vail area that I have never been to. One day hike up the North Trail in Vail for a few hours and got an amazing view of Vail Mountain. photo 1

A few days later, we made our way into the Holy Cross Wilderness. Again, we drove up a rode I have driven by hundreds of times. We decided to hike a trail called Cross Creek, which is only a mile up the road, but because I had never been on Tigwon Road, we decided to drive all 8 dusty, windy miles to the top. The view of Vail’s back bowls were amazing. The end of the road is at just below 11,000 feet in elevation and leaves you at the trailhead to Mount of the Holy Cross, one of Colorado’s 14,000 foot mountains. We made our way back down to Cross Creek, hiked out for a few miles,  and found a beautiful spot to hang out on the river for a while.

Exploring with my dad is a good reminder that no matter how long you live somewhere, there are always new places to explore. In theory, I should go visit him in Belize again soon, but I’m not overly excited about his termite decaying house (kidding!, sort of).

For the record, I call my dad, dad, but on social media he is affectionately known as Papa Rich. One of my friends started calling him that in college, and it just sort of stuck.


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