<![CDATA[ACCESSIBLEADVENTURES.NET - Blog]]>Tue, 29 Aug 2023 19:08:36 -0700Weebly<![CDATA[Breckenridge, Colorado - Accessible Adventures for the whole family]]>Wed, 29 Mar 2023 23:38:25 GMThttp://accessibleadventures.net/blog/breckenridge-colorado-accessible-adventures-for-the-whole-familyWe visited Breckenridge, Colorado with a family group of 3 generations. I never imagined a mountain town being so inclusive.  My son Robbie uses a wheelchair and has developmental delays. He is 8-years-old but cognitively more like an 8-month-old infant. This guide will explain how each activity was accessible and inclusive for our entire family.

Accessible outdoor activities:

Golden Horseshoe Sleigh Rides made no hesitation in helping us in any way they could to make our experience accessible and fun for the whole family. We pushed Robbie’s wheelchair to the warming tent and were given the option to go around the tent to the side with no steps. Remember this is a winter outdoor activity. Our son’s Convaid Rodeo handles well in the packed down snow and for more difficult to manage areas we pull him backwards on the two larger wheels. The warming tent offered delicious hot cocoa that is included and unlimited with the cost of your ticket. It was delicious and a great way to warm up before the main event. They also had a dairy free option of hot cider, talk about inclusion! Each group has time to meet and pet the horses. Our daughter takes riding lessons, and these gentle giants were the highlight of her trip. We pushed Robbie’s wheelchair right up to the side of the sleigh and they brought us a step stool to help with transferring him into the front row. The ride itself was so beautiful. Short enough that none of the kids got antsy but long enough to truly enjoy the scenery and take in the full experience. 
Carter Park is a FREE sledding hill right in town. Our rental was walking distance and we brought Robbie’s adaptive sled with us. He uses a Kettler Snow Comfort Bob Sled and it is adapted with a FireFly GoTo seat for additional support. We started Robbie in his wheelchair and pushed both his chair and his bobsled to the base of the hill before transferring him. You do have to push to the top of the sledding hill here but it was doable with his adaptive sled. This sled has a footbrake which was great for slowing them down and keeping it in control with precious cargo. The views of the mountains from Carter Park are nothing short of spectacular. 
Isak Heartstone is a 15ft tall wooden troll sculpture that is an absolute must see while in Breckenridge. In the summer, this is what our family would consider wheelchair friendly. You can find more detailed accessibility information for the trail here. Due to the fresh fallen snow we chose to carry our son in his child sized Kinderpack. The walk took less than 5 minutes each way and pictures do not do this sculpture justice. It is something you must experience in person. The trailhead can be found in the southeast corner of the Stephen C. West Ice Arena parking lot, which is also a Breck Free Ride bus stop. All Breck Free Ride buses are handicapped accessible, and they also offer complementary para-transit services through Mountain Mobility, in addition to the fixed routes. From the parking lot, follow the troll signs and always remember to leave no trace.

Staying warm indoors:

​It was nice to have options that got us out of the winter weather. There are two FREE museums in town, and they are an easy walking distance apart. First, we visited the Barney Ford House Museum. I want to start by highlighting the accessible parking located behind the building. There are only a few spots, and the wheelchair accessible entrance is a short path from that parking lot, not the front of the building. Barney Ford’s story is incredibly moving. If you have never heard of him this short tour is well worth the 30 minutes we spent here. You can do a self-guided tour or talk to the historian on site about his remarkable life. Just a 2-minute walk or roll away is the Breckenridge Welcome Center. This 4,000 sq ft multilevel museum is a perfect place to start your trip. It is fully accessible with elevators and has interactive maps of the city. If you are looking for information on shopping, dining, and local activities, this is your one stop shop!
The Breckenridge Recreation Center was the highlight of Robbie’s trip. Water is healing for him in ways that are hard to put into words. This location made an afternoon of water play incredibly inclusive for Robbie and easy for us as caregivers. To start there were accessible changing rooms big enough for Robbie’s wheelchair and both parents. We brought the pool wheelchair right to the changing room and transferred him to it as soon as he was in his swimsuit. We were able to push him from the changing room all the way into the slide pool which had an accessible ramp and was nice and heated! Robbie uses a LJ-A adaptive life vest so once he was transferred into the pool, he was able to float around freely. It was our 3-month-old baby’s first time in a pool and the warm water was perfect for her. The adults in our group loved taking turns in the hot tub and soaking our cares away. Our older kids moved over to the lap pool which has a neat rock-climbing wall coming out of the pool. Robbie wanted to follow them, so we pushed him using the pool wheelchair to the lift and transitioned him into the lap pool. I can’t tell you how much accessible options like this save our backs as caregivers.  The recreation center is a perfect addition to your trip no matter the season.
We had an opportunity to meet the team at the Breckenridge Outdoor Education Center and feel their passion for inclusion in the outdoors firsthand. Who are they? The BOEC is a non-profit organization that has a focus on including those with disabilities in the outdoors sine 1976. Stay tuned for when we return this summer to test out adaptive sports with Robbie! For now, I will leave you with a list of adapted activities they offer. In the winter, they host adaptive ski and snowboard programs. In the summer, they have an adaptive ropes course, biking, rafting, kayaking, hiking, and camping. Basically, if you have a passion to try something and there is a way, they can help make it happen they will.   Their staff supports our community with so much love and enthusiasm.

​Our family travels all over the United States and we were truly shocked to find the most inclusive location we have been to so far was right in our “back yard”. While Breckenridge is well known for its beautiful scenery, our family was fortunate enough to see the true heart and inclusion that takes place here.

<![CDATA[How to get FREE diapers through Medicaid]]>Mon, 15 Aug 2022 06:36:01 GMThttp://accessibleadventures.net/blog/how-to-get-free-diapers-through-medicaid
Click here to see if your child qualifies!
     As a traveling family with a Disabled child, we have a lot to juggle to make our unique lifestyle work. Accessible road trips take time to plan and require efficient scheduling and timing. Things we must manage before even leaving our house are scheduling trips around medication refills and supply deliveries. For us that means we need a company that is on time every time and takes the leg work on themselves.
     Aeroflow Urology has checked all those boxes and more. Many children with special needs often experience delayed potty training, potty training regression or incontinence (bladder and/or bowel leakage). Our son Robbie is in diapers/ pullups 24 hours a day and doesn’t have the cognitive awareness to use the restroom. For years we purchased incontinence supplies ourselves, that meant spending over $300 monthly and hunting down his size (which most stores didn’t carry).
      Aeroflow Urology helps parents across the country including myself get their child’s diapers and pull-ups at no cost through their Medicaid plan. What’s even better is they do ALL of the work. Between being my son’s caregiver and planning our adventures I keep a full schedule.
     They help to navigate the process from start to finish - from filing the insurance claim to getting necessary documentation from your healthcare provider. The whole process is straightforward, all you have to do is fill out the quick form, and Aeroflow Urology will take care of the rest!
     All states require that a child be over the age of 3, some require ages 4 or 5. Coverage depends on specific state Medicaid guidelines and benefits. If you are approved, your products will be mailed to you on a monthly basis, straight to your door and from my experience always on time.
     One of the best parts is when you first get started, they will send you product samples to test with your child, this ensures the absolute best fit and comfort.  We tried about 6 different products and realized we liked both the Sleepover Pullups and Tena XS Briefs that are more like diapers. Aeroflow even lets us split up our order monthly to provide both so Robbie is always comfortable whether he is sleeping or crawling all over the house!
​To see if your child is eligible for FREE supplies click the link below!
Click Here to Apply for FREE diapers!
<![CDATA[Visiting Moab Utah with a wheelchair]]>Thu, 02 Jun 2022 04:16:52 GMThttp://accessibleadventures.net/blog/visiting-moab-utah-with-a-wheelchair​Moab is the home to three amazing parks with so much to see from a wheelchair! We spent two and a half days here and hit all of these parks and the Mill Canyon Dinosaur Trail which if you have kids is a great stop! A wheelchair friendly trail circles the park with life size dinosaur replicas and there is a little playground and a swing that Robbie would have loved if he wasn’t napping.
iArches National Park
We spent about half a day at Arches National Park and did the following stops. Balanced Rock has a flat paved trail that is short and perfect for all abilities! There are some stairs at the top if you wanted to get closer but it absolutely isn’t necessary. Park Avenue Viewpoint has a Short paved path to viewpoint and is absolutely worth the stop! Panorama Point has great wide view and is easily accessed. Double Arch Trail is a flat hard packed dirt trail to the base of a beautiful double arch (hence the name) this was our favorite! Delicate Arch Viewpoint is right next to the parking lot and there is a view in the distance of the infamous Delicate Arch. I like to print a list like this before I enter a park then bring a marker and circle all of the trails I have found that we can do. This way you know what is coming next and if it worth a stop based on your needs.
 Canyonlands National Park
Canyonlands National Park is unbelievably underrated. I mean that in the best way. Do not skip this one; it is like a mini Grand Canyon! The Island in the Sky district is the most accessible and has many pull overs with scenic overlooks that are a short walk from ADA parking. One trail that we loved was Mesa Arch, this trail is not wheelchair friendly but at only .5 miles it was short enough to carry Robbie in his Kinderpack! We spent one full day in this district and then driving Shafer Trail to Potash Road. This trail is has sheer cliff drop offs and spectacular views. A few warnings, we did it in our Tundra but don’t recommend vehicles that big because we took up most of the road and the switchbacks were not fun in a big truck. 4X4 wasn’t absolutely necessary but you definitely need high clearance. We saw a lot of jeep rentals taking this path so that may be an option. Personally we love scenic drives because they are accessible to anyone in your vehicle! I am attaching two YouTube videos below, one highlights Canyonlands and all of our photos of the trails I mentioned above and the other is strictly the scenic drive down Shafer trail.
​Dead Horse State Park
We did this the day we got to Moab, it only took a few hours and we made it right before sunset. The views overlook the trail I mentioned that starts in Canyonlands and there is a wonderful wheelchair accessible sidewalk behind the visitor center.
​I truly hope this helps you plan your accessible trip to Moab Utah, please leave a comment if you have any questions or if you plan to visit!

Kristy Cook

Just a medically complex Mom trying to show my family the world and help you do the same.

<![CDATA[Wheelchair friendly things to do near Flagstaff Arizona]]>Thu, 12 May 2022 01:47:59 GMThttp://accessibleadventures.net/blog/wheelchair-friendly-things-to-do-near-flagstaff-arizona​We spent a week in Williams Arizona it was our family’s favorite trip so far! If you haven’t already you absolutely must see the Grand Canyon. It is one of the most wheelchair friendly National Parks we have been to. One full day is sufficient here if you are hitting all of the roadside stops and walking the wheelchair friendly paths along the rim.
​We stayed at Raptor Ranch and if you are looking for some Flinstone nostalgia this is the place for you! Our 9 year old daughter loved running in and out of the different houses and going down their big dinosaur slide. They also have a great show and fly the Raptors and feed them, very educational for a homeschool family. 
​Another family friendly spot you cannot miss is Bearizona. This isn’t just any zoo, you drive through exhibits and bears, wolves, bison etc walk right next to your vehicle. This feature also made it perfectly accessible for anyone who can ride in a vehicle!
This might have been the highlight of our trip until we stumbled upon The Grand Canyon Deer Farm. Our daughter is still begging to go back. More deer than you can count will follow you around to eat from a cup of food in your hands. You can pet them and honestly they are a riot along with the other animals they house. We are a homeschool family so hands on experiences, zoos etc are wonderful but we have a special spot in our hearts for National Monuments. 
​We made a day of visiting Tuzigoot National Monument and Montezuma Castle National Monument. If you are in the area and like history these are great places to see, Montezuma Castle is completely wheelchair and pet friendly. It’s not a lot of walking and we learned so much about ancient cliff dwelling life in about an hour. Tuzigoot is visually even more impressive, you can walk on sidewalks up to the ruins. It is a bit steep but we did just fine pushing our son’s wheelchair here as well. You can really immerse yourself in the history and for us the homeschool experience couldn’t be beat.
​We spent the next two days seeing Walnut Canyon National Monument, again great history here, and then we knocked a bucket list item off. In case you didn’t know Sunset Crater National Monument is the home of a volcano! Seeing the volcanic rock and fields was truly an experience and a great lesson for the road! Down the same road is Wupatki National Monument which is more ancient ruins, more history and has a great wheelchair friendly viewing trail. Our week in this area of Arizona truly couldn’t be beat and I hope more travelers discover these gems!

Here is a map of the area with everything we did!

<![CDATA[How to Plan RV trips with a wheelchair]]>Thu, 24 Feb 2022 05:34:00 GMThttp://accessibleadventures.net/blog/how-to-travel-with-a-wheelchair
​     When we began traveling with our disabled son that uses a wheelchair for mobility we realized quickly it would entail more planning. I am going to walk through my process on planning trips. We tend to plan a lot of our road trips around seeing National Parks. Most of these parks have accessible parking, scenic drives, boardwalks or pullovers with amazing viewpoints. When looking for information on what to do at these National Parks the first thing you want to explore is each National Park's website. There will be an option for Accessibility that will outline each visitor center, restroom, pull over and fully accessible trail. I begin here making a list of things that look interesting that are 100% wheelchair friendly. I typically have a word doc and copy and paste the information from their website into the document so I can print it and have a physical copy in my folder for that trip. Next I head to YOU TUBE! You could start by searching that park and the word "wheelchair" or "accessible" but by this point I know the areas that fit the ADA guidelines because of step one. I’m looking for things that are stroller friendly, for instance typing in “Stroller friendly things to do in Rocky Mountain National Park”. Here is why; accessibility is a broad spectrum so even if a park has a paved sidewalk all the way up to a monument if the incline is too steep etc. it won’t make the initial list you find on their website. You know your abilities and further research may open more options for you!
     A good example of this is Tuzigoot National Monument (pictured above). There are sidewalks throughout the monuments base but there is a steep enough incline that there are warnings for wheelchair users for good reason. For us anything that is level enough ground to push a stroller even with an incline I am adding to my word doc list and noting the condition that made it not make the initial cut. Pictured below is Mesa Arch at Canyonlands National park.
​     All Trails is another great site to look at to find short but epic hikes. You can also use this app/ website to check recent comments and for trail conditions. Unexpected ice on trails can really ruin a well-planned day. We will back carry our son if a hike is less than 2 miles round trip, doesn’t have a ton of stairs or cliff drop offs etc. A great example of this is Mesa Arch in Canyonlands National Park.  The hike to Mesa Arch is .5 mile and not extremely rugged, we saw hikers of all abilities going all different speeds on this trail. 
      I personally like to map out any location we are staying in and the places of interest close in proximity. This helps me visually so when we are driving around I know what options we have friendly to our needs. This example is of everything we did while staying in Williams, AZ south of the Grand Canyon. Some trips I color code the maps like this one so as I am flipping through my folder I can easily locate each destination and any notes I may have made. It can be hard to gauge how long you will need in each area, if you have a map handy you can determine what other things are close by IF you have time! You can also do this by starring locations in Google Maps but I like to have a printed out map and accessibility info just in case we are out of range or I break/lose my phone.

​     The travel community and full time RV families on social media are also amazing at posting family friendly places to see and answering questions. Do not be afraid to reach out to me or any traveler you find on social media that has posted in the location you want to travel to! This is how we get some of the best travel plans, word of mouth. If you aren’t already I invite you to follow us on instagram at @accessible.adventures as we geo tag wheelchair friendly locations we visit. If you have any questions or your own great tips on trip planning I would love to hear them in the comments!