Mile High Fun

Once upon a time I went to Denver!  Besides a race here and a race there, we spent some time in Denver itself!  So to recap, a long time ago (about a year) life was definitely up in the air.  So…I (along with others) started playing the “where else might I want to live game”?  Denver was on the list and the trip kind of fell together.

(Warning – it has been awhile since this trip so my memories might be a little hazy and in turn this report might be a little all over the place.)

When I checked the weather prior to leaving it was predicting sunny and warm.  When we arrived it was rainy and cold.  Say what?  Apparently Denver is known for crazy weather changes.  We picked up our rental car (a fabulous Ford Focus) and headed to the hotel.  I was surprised by how flat the city was!!  By the time we got to the hotel and checked in it was waaaay past my bedtime and I collapsed into bed.

I felt very ill-prepared for this trip.  I had no book (and if you’ve ever travelled with me, you know how I swear by a travel book!).  Since today was one of our few completely free days we had decided to head to the Rocky Mountain National Park for some hiking.  This would turn out to be a fantastic idea on one hand, and not the best idea on the other.

Because of the late night, by the time we actually got on the road it was close to noon.  About an hour and a half later we were at the gift shop where we both bought jackets as we had packed for warm weather and with the wind, it was far from warm.  Next to my Disney sweatshirts, this might be the best purchase I have made!  Ha!  Thank goodness for gift shops.

Driving up to Rocky Mtn National Park

Next to the gift shop was a visitor’s center where we asked for advice on what hike to do.  He suggested a 3 mile hike up to Deer Mountain Summit (so 6 miles round trip).  We set off with bottles of water and snacks.  The combination of the wind and snow (yes, snow!) made me doubly glad I bought the jacket!

Hiking up to the top

The hike gained over a 1,000 feet in elevation.  So, already dealing with the altitude and then gaining 1,000 feet was not a good combination.  But the hike was beautiful – I loved the aspen trees and the view from the top (once we finally reached it) was amazing!

Deer Mountain Summit

By the time we got back down, we were STARVED.  We did not bring adequate snacks with us.  We ended up at a pizza place (shocking).  I was able to choose my own toppings – pineapple and black olives.  Yum!  But maybe only to me! 🙂

Friday we split up and I decided to head to the capital where I learned that the stegosaurus is the state fossil.  The dome in the capital building is currently under construction and therefore I couldn’t climb to the top.  Boo.  Most of the marble in the capital comes from Colorado, except for some Italian marble, which they needed to finish it off.  After my tour I walked into downtown to see the crazy bear statue peeking into the convention center.  I was walking back towards the capital when I came across a street market taking place so I stopped and looked around.  And guess what I found?  A Barnes & Noble!!  Where I picked up a much needed book about Denver.  I felt so much better after that purchase.

Colorado State Capital

On the steps of the capital, one mile above sea level

Hey Booboo

I met back up with Jessica and we headed to the street market to look around before dinner where I had a beer and a bison burger!  We finished off the night by watching Men In Black 3 (very enjoyable – I do love Will Smith).

Saturday morning was the Color Run.  We split up again and I drove out to the Coors plant and took the brewery tour.  It was pretty good as brewery tours go.

We met back up and went to the botanical gardens before heading back downtown for dinner.

Denver Botanical Gardens

Sunday I drove to the race expo and explored Boulder.

Monday morning was the BolderBoulder.  Afterwards I met back up with Jessica and we drove back out to Rocky Mountain National Park.  We found a definitely easier trail that went by a beautiful waterfall and ended at a lake.  We learned from our last trip and brought peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, which we ate at the lake.  Fun!  This trail went deep into the woods and through snow and disappeared at times – we had to keep our eyes open to pick the trail up again.  We thought maybe the trail was leading us to Snow White’s house!

I think we’re going to Snow White’s house!

At the waterfall

PB&J at the lake

We ate dinner in Boulder at Pei Wei!  (I forgot to mention earlier we had eaten at Sonic – two pluses for Denver – Pei Wei & Sonic!)

Tuesday was our last day.  We spent the morning stuffing our suitcases.  We had a tour at the Denver Mint which was really interesting.  I loved the chandeliers in the hallway at the end of the tour.  They only make coins at this mint.

We had lunch at Chick-fil-A, another huge PLUS for Denver (if I ever were to contemplate leaving Seattle) before heading back to the airport.

And just like that our trip was over.  I liked Denver.  I could see myself living there (if the opportunity were ever to come up).

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