Well it’s back to the grind after a quick whirlwind trip to Colorado for a wedding. I’m so glad we got to go even with it being such a fast trip.
Our friends Halie and Mario got married on Aug. 1. Gabe and I were able to arrange our schedules to make the trip, but it had to be a short one due to work responsibilities and a conference. Regardless, we got to see and do a lot despite only being there Thursday to Sunday.
We flew out and arrived in Denver at 11 a.m. We met up with another friend who would be sharing the rental car with us and headed downtown for lunch. On a recommendation from my cousin, we went to Terminal Bar in the renovated Union Station where we had some really good burgers, brats and fries. Gabe and Kevin also had some yummy beers, but as the driver I decided to abstain since being at a higher altitude can definitely make the alcohol hit you faster.
After relaxing for a short bit, we hopped back in the car and began the trek out I-70 to Salida. I opted for the route that would be a bit longer but very scenic. On our way, we stopped in Morrison to see the Red Rocks Amphitheater, which had just closed for a concert. It was still neat to walk around and the area was very pretty.
Once back on the road, the boys promptly dozed off while I continued the drive. I saw some big horn sheep on the side of the interstate, as well as some other interesting characters including a skateboarder and a cyclist. Not sure an interstate is where I’d do either of those activities, but that’s just me. I took a detour off I-70 to head up Rt. 6 to drive through Loveland Pass. I’d been up there in the winter a few times, but not in the summer. It offered us beautiful views, some snow and way cooler temperatures.
Getting off a plane, heading straight up a mountain and then running on a trail, albeit briefly, was not my brightest move. I’d never had an issue with altitude out there because I’d always had a day or two to adjust before any sort of physical activity. We first noticed the change at Red Rocks when we were walking up steps. We just felt heavy. We got back in the car after our trek out to the snow and I had a migraine and basically had to grit my teeth as we headed down the pass into Dillon. On the way down we passed two favorite ski resorts of mine, Arapahoe Basin and Keystone.
We stopped in Dillon for snacks, Advil and water. After hanging out for a short bit to let the Advil kick in, we got back on I-70. The rest of the trip was beautiful. Once on 91 and 24, we passed several 14ers…aka peaks that are 14,000+ ft.
We arrived in Salida around 6:30 p.m. and went straight to the Tudor Rose B&B where everyone was staying in really nice chalets.
We cooked out that night and after a short rain shower, we watched a beautiful sunset.
On Friday, Gabe and I hit the road early to head to Colorado Springs to see my aunt, uncle and cousin. We stopped in Salida briefly at a really nice coffee shop where Gabe had an egg sandwich on a jalapeño biscuit. I opted for a yummy blueberry muffin and really tasty iced tea.
For this trek we used Rt. 50, which followed the Arkansas River for much of the trip. The scenery on this route was completely different than the day before. We were in a canyon for a nice chunk of it. The rocks were really craggy and it appeared rather dry, with the exception of the river of course. Salida is actually in more a desert area so this made sense. Once again we saw big horn sheep along the road. One even had a radio collar on.
After arriving at my aunt and uncle’s house, we picked up my cousin and headed to Garden of the Gods. I’d been there a few times, but it’s always beautiful and offers great views of Pikes Peak. It was my grandma’s favorite place to go when she lived out there too. They recently renovated the visitor center, and we sat through a new video presentation that was really fun and interactive, as well as a volunteer presentation on Zebulon Pike, for whom the peak was named We then drove around the park before heading to lunch.
We had lunch on the patio at the Broadmoor, a five-star historic hotel in Colorado Springs. It was a beautiful day for it. The food and drinks were quite good, as was the company.
We walked around the grounds and the hotel, which now has several buildings. It also boasts three golf courses, a beautiful pool that reminded me of the boathouse in Central Park in NYC, and even a bowling alley. I’ll let you guess how much a night there costs 😉
It was a quick day, but worth the trip. I’m so glad I got to connect with some family. We headed back around 4 p.m. and managed to beat everyone to the rehearsal dinner. It was outside and we had to deal with a minor rainstorm, but were treated to a beautiful double rainbow afterwards that was very vivid.
On Saturday we got up and headed to a local breakfast place before relaxing awhile before the wedding in the afternoon. Gabe and I took a short walk around the grounds where we were staying and took some great pictures, such as the one at the top of this post.
By 2 p.m. we were at the Steam Plant helping with final touches for the outdoor wedding and indoor reception. The weather, which had been beautiful all day, stayed lovely despite some threatening clouds that went by.
Mario is the lab manager in the same lab as Gabe, and he and Halie managed to incorporate honeybees and wildflowers into their wedding decor.
Our friend Ariel served as the officiant and the ceremony was written by the bride. It was all really nice and very special. The outdoor ceremony was along the Arkansas river and many people stopped to watch and admire the event. It added a little extra energy to the whole thing.
After the cocktail hour, we headed inside for the reception. The food was yummy, the music was fun and it was a great night.
Gabe and I headed to bed rather early as we had to be up and out the door by 6 a.m. We opted to get on the road and then stop later for breakfast. On this trip, we opted for a shorter route back to Denver on 285. Once again the scenery did not disappoint. We had mountains to see and climb and lots of beautiful ranch land. We even went through Fairplay, hometown of the creators of South Park. The one thing we did realize was that there was no place to stop for a quick bite to eat. I’m serious. We didn’t see a Starbucks, a McDonalds or even a grocery store until we were practically in Denver. By then I just kept driving to the airport. Still wondering where people buy food…
After dropping Gabe and Kevin for their early flights, I headed into downtown Denver. First stop was Larimer Square where I had a yummy iced chai and a muffin at The Market. People were very friendly and overall I couldn’t believe how many people were out and about on a Sunday morning running, cycling, walking and just being active. It was so refreshing! I then killed a few hours over at the Cherry Creek Shopping District, where I stocked up on some Colorado-themed items, including two shirts from the Boulder Running Company.
My flight wasn’t until 6:30, but I dropped the rental car off around 1:30, checked into my flight and had dinner at a restaurant in the terminal. I’m a nervous flyer and there were storms brewing over the mountains but luckily my flight wasn’t too bumpy and we eventually flew out of the clouds the further east we went. I got into Baltimore around 11:30 p.m. and headed back to PA Monday afternoon.
A few days out from the trip, I finally feel like I caught up on my sleep. I had such a great time and I can’t wait to go back for another visit…hopefully a longer one. There is so much to do and see!
How was your weekend? Have you ever been to Colorado?