Colorado

Dropped of the face of the blogging world again.  Sorry about that.

Last month Sam and I took a trip to Colorado!  And it was totally awesome.  We stayed for a week, rented a car, and visited his friend who lives in Boulder and his family friends who live in Lyons.  Here’s a little summary of our trip with a ton a pictures.

First stop – PDX airport.

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We walked around the entire airport while waiting for our flight and got to see both the old and new carpet.  Had to get a pic.

Once we got to Denver, we got our rental car and drove to Boulder.  We hasn’t eaten since breakfast (and it was late afternoon by this point) so we decided to grab some food in downtown Boulder before heading to Travis’.  We went to Mountain Sun Pub & Brewery and had some beer and pub food.  Little did we know, we’d be visiting this brewery’s restaurants throughout the trip… they’re pretty popular!  After we got some food in our bellies, we headed to Travis’s.  And then we headed out for a very soggy game of disc golf.  We were basically walking around in a swamp (I totally ruined my shoes) but it was beautiful.  These pics are from the disc golf course with the sun setting over the Flatirons.

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Went back to Travis’ place and then headed out to dinner with Travis at another location owned by Mountain Sun Pub & Brewery, closer to Travis’ house.  Caught up and ate some food.  Talked about things we had to do while we’re here.  Travis was a great host – he even put together a whole list of things to do for us.

Day 2 – First day in Boulder and everyone (Travis and roommates) had to go to work.  So Sam and I decided to find a local hike in Boulder.  We initially planned to run the trail and the website that I found the trail on said it was a great running trail, but it was waaaay to steep for us!  We blamed it on the elevation 🙂 But it ended up being a beautiful hike with a view of Boulder.  And I forgot my phone, so no pics.  After the hike we headed into Boulder for some lunch.  We went to The Yellow Deli – a funny little restaurant that reminded me a lot of the Oregon Country fair.  I had the Flatiron special, a sandwich with a veggie burger and tons of fresh veggies on a vegan kaiser roll.  I assumed that the sandwich was vegan since it said “vegan kaiser roll” but I am pretty sure it had mayo on it (yuck).  But I was hungry and on vacation and ate it anyway.  It was delicious and messy.

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The rest of day 2 we spent doing a grocery run (to Trader Joe’s of course) so we could pack lunches for our adventures and then lounging around reading and hanging out with Travis + roommates.  It had been a beautiful day, so Travis suggested grilling for dinner.  We grabbed tons of veggies and some sausages from the store and Travis grilled it all up.  Very tasty.  We also played games that night.  They are all really into playing games and I really liked that it was their default activity rather than watching TV!  We played quite a bit of Set during this trip and I love that game.

Day 3 – To the mountain!  We decided we should try to ski, and Eldora has tons of cross-country ski trails that we tried out.  I packed us some lunches and snacks and we took our rented Toyota Corolla up to the mountain.  The drive was easy, barely any snow.  It’s been a bad year there too.  It was fun to get out in the snow though and this is only my second time out this season, so sad.

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And here’s 4/5 of the roommates wrestling on the kitchen floor.

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We decided to go out to dinner again this night since I had been told so many good things about the food in Boulder.  We went to The Kitchen Next Door, a place we had passed on Pearl St before that looked good.  Unfortunately, we didn’t think about it being Friday night and it was really busy.  It took a long time to get seated.  Once we got seated, the food came out pretty quickly, but we were pretty disappointed by the quality of the food.  I hate to judge restaurants on busy nights like this because I’m sure the high volume makes the quality of the food suffer.  We had some kale chips to start that were REALLY greasy.  I didn’t eat very many.  I had a roasted veggie salad, but the veggies weren’t even cooked all the way through – the carrots were raw in the middle.  Sam had a salad too, but he started to feel sick probably due to eating too many oily kale chips.  We left disappointed.

Day 4 – Saturday so it was time to start rock climbing!  Travis and Matt took us (well, we drove) to Eldora Canyon, the same route we took to the mountain yesterday, and did some practice pitches so Sam and I could get back into how to rock climb.  It had been years for me.  It was a beautiful day and a nice way to hang out in the sun.

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I even got some yoga in 🙂

Day 5 – Definitely the highlight of the trip.  We went to Eldorado Canyon State Park to climb Rewritten with Travis.  This is a 5 pitch climb and it was really challenging for me, but also so amazing.

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My view for most of the day.  We rented sweet 80’s inspired climbing shoes.

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We made it to the top!

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This is a picture of what we climbed from the bottom.  It doesn’t look nearly as impressive in photos…

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The night after climbing we were exhausted – it was an all-day affair so we didn’t get back until around dinner time.  I really wanted to go out and try another restaurant so I dragged convinced Sam to go out again with me.  I’m so glad I did!  We went to Leaf vegetarian restaurant in downtown Boulder and it was probably one of the best meals I’ve ever had.  We got some mixed drinks to start – I asked the waitress for a suggestion because I couldn’t decide and ended up with a delicious ginger-y drink.  For my main I had a Moroccan-inspired tofu dish with couscous salad.  The tofu was so so good!  They had cooked it to get this great crispy texture on the exterior and it was coated in a delicious moroccan sauce.  And the plating was super pretty (sorry, no pics).  Sam had the flatbread (pizza), which he said was also delicious (not vegan). Next, dessert!  It’s such a treat to get dessert out because vegan desserts are basically non-existent at most restaurants.  I decided I wanted a drink with dessert too and since I had such luck the first time, I asked the waitress for another recommendation.  I ended up with a glass of port and we shared the seasonal crisp (apple) with coconut ice cream.  It was a perfect meal.

Day 6 – The next morning we woke-up and said good-bye to Travis and everybody else and then took our time getting ready to leave Boulder.  We drove to Rocky Mountain National Park to do an easy hike and enjoy the view.  It was so cool to be driving straight into the mountains, they were so beautiful.

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We hiked from Bear Lake trailhead to Emerald Lake.  It was a really warm day, which was perfect up in the mountains.  The trail was covered in snow, but it was so packed down that we could easily hike in our tennis shoes.

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After the hike, we headed back to Lyons to stay with Gary and Kate, family friends of Sam’s.  They were such great hosts and I’m so happy I got to meet them and their family.  The first night they made tacos for dinner and kept our wine glasses full!  We also took a short hike after dinner to a local trail and watched an insanely beautiful sunset over the Rockies.

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Day 7 – our last full day in Colorado.  We slept in and decided to not do much of anything this day.  It was our vacation after all.  We lounged around and read in the morning and then went for a run with Kate around Lyons.  It was nice to have a tour guide – she told us all about the flood that came through a few years ago.  After the run Sam and I walked into downtown Lyons to checkout what (little) was there.  We had lunch at a cute little cafe and read some more.

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That evening Gary and Kate took us out to dinner at the Mountain Sun pub in Longmont (told you we went there a lot!) and when we got back we played Apples to Apples, which is always fun.  We went to bed and started to watch TV, but I ended up falling asleep quickly.

Day 8 – Going home.  We thanked Gary and Kate for hosting us and got back in our rental car and headed home.  I took a picture of the view of the Rockies as we were leaving, but it’s hard to see.  It was beautiful, but I missed my green Oregon.

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I’m so glad we went.  We had such wonderful hosts that truly made the trip memorable.

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