Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Colorado!

So last Thursday we flew to Colorado for a babymoon/first year anniversary trip. 
Though I was happy to be going because I wanted to get away and relax and spend some time with Amy, I generally consider myself a city and/or ocean sort of guy, so I had no expectations for a trip where we were headed to the mountains.  I had never been to Colorado before, or, for that matter, to any place with really big mountains at all.
It turned out to be a great trip.  Turns out I like mountains.
We stayed in Boulder.  We stayed in an Airbnb duplex on Mapleton Avenue.  It was really nice, and it gave us a spot for both hanging out in Boulder and for launching off on adventures in our rental car.
The duplex was in a quiet neighborhood with older homes, with lots of leaves that were changing colors.  Our weather was perfect- sunny and cool without ever really being cold.

(the Mapleton Avenue duplex)

The first night that we got there, we walked over to check out the Pearl Street Mall.  I had a beer and shared a snack with amy, and then we walked around and did a little window shopping.  We had dinner at Pizzeria Locale.  We wandered in and got seated at a bar by the kitchen, and got to watch the cooks make pizza while we had an appetizer and relaxed.  Afterward we walked back to our duplex and passed out.
On Friday we got up and drove out to do a little trail hike near The Flatirons.  The walk/hike turned out to be really nice.  Beautiful place.  Very peaceful and scenic.  We got a nice little hike in and then headed back to town in the early afternoon.

(Flatiron Vista)

(Mountain Sun)
We went back into Boulder and had lunch at Mountain Sun brewpub.  They not only had good beer (I ordered a sampler flight), but had good food, as well.  Mountain Sun is on Pearl Street, so we were sort of wandering around near the mall after eating when we got a text from our friends Kelly and Tommy, a couple who both work with Amy at her office (Tommy plays drums, so I've played music with him on a few occasions).  They were on vacation and passing through Boulder on their way from Estes Park to Colorado Springs.  They stopped by the duplex that we were renting and had a couple of beers.  It was nice to see them!  It's cool to run into friends when you're out travelling around.  Sort of the familiarity of being at home while the fun of being out in a different environment.  Plus, they gave us some pointers for our trip.  






On Saturday we got up and drove out to Estes Park and then Rocky Mountain National Park.  What can you say?  It's a beautiful place.  There were so many breathtaking views in so many different directions that at one point, Amy turned to me and said, "I feel like I'm getting tired of saying how beautiful it is."
It was meant as a sort of joke, but I knew what she meant.  Pictures don't do it justice because in photographs you only see a little sliver of the mountains, fields, streams, lakes, and forests that surround you on all sides.  In pictures you don't get the amazing sense of depth that comes from having incredible mountains in the background.  They're are just big.  The mountains are big and colorful and amazing.  Valleys open up below you, and they look more like detailed oil paintings than real life surroundings (the changes of color as the mountains and valleys roll off into the distance are also extremely difficult to capture on camera- especially with my limited equipment and skills).  Very, very cool.

(Sprague Lake)

(snuck this one in while she wasn't even looking...)
 
We were at the park during elk mating season, and we managed to see some elk.  It was during the afternoon, and they were up under some trees, sort of chilling out.  They say the best time to spot elk is early morning or twilight, so we weren't sure we would see any before we had to head back to Boulder.  It was really cool.  Rocky Mountain National Park is a great place.  I'd like to go back and see it again sometime, for sure. 
 

(We saw elk!  We might have been more excited to see them
than vice versa...)

We drove back home through Estes Park, and stopped for some pretty tasty Thai food when we got to Boulder. 
After out late lunch we drove over to the campus at University of Colorado Boulder, just to take a look around.  UC Boulder is a really pretty campus.  The red brick buildings are impressive, the campus is large enough to be interesting while still feeling welcoming, and the leaves were changing on the many trees around campus.

(this building at UC Boulder is called Old Main.
Apparently it is old.  And famous.
But it can't help them beat UT)

When we got home that evening we walked around our neighborhood, and found a small, well-kept, interesting trailer park just a block or two behind our place.  It had neat little gardens and interesting porches and old fashioned street lamps.  We got home and looked it up.  It was the Mapleton Mobile Home Park, and it's a subsidized, affordable housing neighborhood in Boulder.  In a city where the median home price is over $500,000, the Mapleton MH Park is one of the only bets around for affordable housing for working class folks (and the old school trailers, only 12 feet wide, still go for well over $100,000).
On Sunday we got up and went out for breakfast.  Amy found a place called The Walnut Cafe, and it was really good.  I had an omelet with green chilies in it.  Muy bueno.
Afterward we headed over to the Celestial Seasonings factory.  It was fun.  They let us taste a bunch of teas, and we went on the tour of the factory.  The factory smelled really good.  There was a room full of bags of mint that cleared my sinuses right out. 
On the way out we saw prarie dogs, which made me excited, and in turn, Amy annoyed at my excitement.  Amy, strangely, was not at all impressed by prarie dogs.  I guess her heart is two sizes too small for a love of the prarie dog.  Oh well.  She loves her some elk.
After Celestial Seasonings we went to Chautauqua Park.  It's another really beautiful spot on the southwestern edge of Boulder.  We did a little bit of hiking on their trails, and wandered around to look at the buildings and cabins.  It would be fun to stay there sometime.  We had a nice hike and a nice visit of the grounds.

(Mountain Steanso at Chautauqua, overlooking
Boulder)




(Amy, mountains, and water bottle)

After that it was late afternoon.  We drove around Boulder a bit, just to see some more of the town, and grabbed some tasty sandwiches at Salvaggio's Deli (a good recommendation from my friend, Laura).  Then we walked around the neighborhood near our duplex for a bit.
We hung out at our place, and had a late dinner at an Indian place (well, Amy ate soup, and I had dinner).
And that was it!  The next day we drove back into Denver, wandered around Aurora for a little while before eating lunch, and then caught our plane home.
It was an excellent trip.  I really enjoyed Colorado.  I really, really enjoyed having some time to relax with Amy.  We both needed a chance to get away, and it was nice to spend time with her away from Austin.  We have a nice life, but we get so darn busy in our day-to-day!

Hope everyone is doing okay back here.  Hooray for the Longhorns for picking up a win in our absence (and when I couldn't get the game on TV- if I look away, they win!!!).

Good trip.  We came back feeling refreshed.

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