Monday, November 18, 2013

Denver - Hot Chocolate, Hot Tub, Cold Hike, Cold Beer

I am back down to a normal elevation.  Get ready for a lot of pictures from Denver!

Friday evening we went downtown to explore 16th street, which is an outdoor pedestrian mall, blocked off to all traffic except free buses and pedicabs.  Chicago would be a much greater place if Michigan Ave was for solely for pedestrians and FREE buses.  We went in a few cliche souvenir shops, but unfortunately did not buy anything.

We had dinner reservations at a Mexican restaurant called Rio Grande, known for their margaritas.  Anne and I got frozen mixed strawberry and mango - on the receipt that comes up as "Manberry."

For my meal, I had tequila shrimp tacos, which were good, but a little too spicy for me.  We were super tired and had big plans for the rest of the weekend, so we called it a night after 2 margaritas and A LOT of chips and salsa.

First up for Saturday was the Celestial Seasonings tea factory.  We didn't take the tour, but we took advantage of all the free tea samples.  I think I tried 4 different kinds, and then we bought a few boxes from the gift shop.

The main event on Saturday though was our hike!!

Anne and I met up with her friend Darja (who also went to UD!) and set out to climb Bear Peak in Boulder.  The beginning was a little bit of both up and down as we made our way up and around the mountain.

Then it started to get steeper the further we got and was more like climbing than just hiking along a trail.  It also got a lot colder the higher we went!  At one point we made quick conversation with a couple on their way down and they warned us of the cold and wind that we would be approaching soon.  I didn't really believe that it could be such a drastic change in conditions, but it was!  I couldn't take any more pictures because my fingers were numb.  But 2.5 hours after starting, we finally made it to the top!

We quickly turned to head back down since it was so cold up there.  One of my favorite signs along the route warned hikers about bears and mountain lions and one tip said, "If attacked, fight back."

The return trip only took 1.5 hours, which was good since we were all a little cold by this point and darkness was approaching.  We headed to a pizza place in Boulder and then to a coffee shop for a toasty cup of hot chocolate.

Despite being so cold, we talked an awful lot about ice cream and made a fro yo trip in the evening.  But before the fro yo, we sat in the hot tub outside for awhile, which was perfect on a cold night, until it started raining a little.

My flight home was not until Sunday evening (luckily, or else I probably wouldn't have made it back to Chicago until super late due to the bad storms yesterday), which meant we had another full day of activity on the schedule.

First up was a trail run!  Anne, her friend Jodie, and I set out on our run and I really didn't know what to expect or how far we were going to g.

It was still hard to breathe in the higher altitude and after just a little while I was really hurting going up, up, up.  But they were powering through so I just followed along!  We made it to the top in about 35 minutes, and then back downhill (not the same way, it was a loop), for a total time of 59 minutes.  It was super hard, but surprisingly went by really fast.  Running for an hour here in Chicago seems like forever, probably because I am usually alone and bored, and Anne said it goeso by faster when you're concentrating on where to put your foot next, going up or down hill, making sure you don't fall, etc.  I wish I could do runs like this all the time, but I sure am sore today!

To re-fuel after the run, we went to a restaurant in Golden, CO that had an awesome salad and pizza buffet.  I had to take a picture of my salad (one of them, you can't have just one when it's a buffet), because it had the very secret ingredient that makes all salads a million times better.

GOLDFISH!!  There's also some pepperoni in there, I wasn't a huge fan of that.  Save the pepperoni for the pizza.  I think the only other place that has had goldfish at a salad bar has been my beloved Pennellwood.

After salad and pizza, it was time for beer!  (Actually, Justin and I each had a beer with lunch too.)  We headed to the Coors Brewery and learned all sorts of great stuff about how the beer was made.  Adolf Coors started the brewery when he was 26 years old...makes me think I need to do something more meaningful/awesome with my life.

The end of the tour meant it was time for sampling.  I had a Blue Moon and a Colorado Native.  Hoppy, hoppy, hoppy.  I learned what hops are, not that I needed to go to a brewery to do so in our age of Wikipedia.  Anne and Justin had been on this tour multiple times, so I'm glad they were willing to go again with me!

I would like to go back to Denver soon, but I'll at least wait until winter is over because now they are going to start getting snow!  I do not like winter.

What is your favorite type of margarita?  Favorite type of beer? 

How long was your longest hike?

1 comment:

  1. 1. I love winter.
    2. The Pennellwood salad bar also had pudding. Pennellwood was pre-Erin-eats-salad era, so she just got Goldfish and pudding all of the time.