Day 1: The Prelude
It's an 11 hour drive through the desolate, eye burning browned rows of corn fields that never seems to end. I fell into a deep restorative sleep during Rachels driving , hoping we'd had finally exited Nebraska and were in the iconic land of Colorado, only to find we were only nearly half way through the enormous state. We snacked on Lesser Evil Popcorn, played colorful question games, and took ownership over every my cow seen.
We brought one of our three doggo's on this trip and she made up for all pup cuddles as seen below in real footage captured.
We arrive in Denver as the sun is pouring orange across the sky a soft breeze cooling the evening air. One of Rachels best friends lives nearly a mile outside of the heart of the mile high city; along a beautiful cherry creek with views of the mountains just across the city skyline. I see a smile race across the blacktop parking lot up to the Kodiak Brown Bronco were idling in front of the entrance gate as she dials in the key access code. As we re-park Bonita an air of free spirited joy embraces as the two friends reunite - it's an epic thing to be apart of! We exchange names and grab our weekend backpacks from the trunk and head inside for Denvers number one unknown ABNB best vegan dinners awaits. For an 11 hour drive across rolling corn fields and cow scenery it's an early evening and we're sleeping on clouds preparing for a day of adventure ahead.
Day 2: Red Rocks Hike , Hamburger Mary's, Tony's- Morrison, Colorado
We plan to start the day with an iconic Hamburger Mary's brunch Drag Show and arrive with appetites and rhythm in our toes , but sadly you must buy tickets in advance so instead and really rather joyously we head to the back patio in the glow of the mid-morning sun. Chicken & Waffles, a breakfast bowl, and veggie burrito line the table and our bellies for nourishment it's a colorful vibe literally and in spirit with a highly recommended review when in passing. The neighborhood was littered in bright colors and laden in love , as all neighborhood should be.
We move towards Red Rocks - just 20 minutes outside of Denver! We arrive to a highly populated two way road winding up to the top where the amphitheater , known as a fairly famous venue, we manage parking near the base of the trail. We take a less trafficked dirt trail away from the crowds and find incredible views overlooking out and beyond the the Red Rocks and in view of the city.
The contrast between white snow and red rocks , towering trees, and low valleys peak throughout the landscape. We hike up to a beautiful outcropping and pose for some photos as natural as the rock staging themselves.
We bag this mini peak and head for a full looper just across the way two parking lots further down. We start in the shivering shade and by the end are heated by the sun and warm quickly, melting layers like the ice in the grass.
We wrap up a calf burner of a day and head into Morrison for some food. The parking lots were confusingly labeled - make note there's an entire block dedicated and extensively labeled with warning signs for towing to a single cafe not even open at the time. So we took our chances and to our delight Bonita had not been touched in our face stuffing over at Tonys Italian restaurant - strongly recommend the stuffed cheese bread with jalapeños. We ended dinner and set out separate ways, us in hopes of some first season spring camping but much to our dismay, and horrible research, most of the campsites did not in-fact open for another two weeks. My tried and true methods of secretive car camping failed and when we finally set on an easy going tucked away trailhead an officer , lights breaking into the dark night sky, informed of us the 150 dollar ticket for being there at all after hours. We decided it wasn't our time and after a few scenic hours of aloof driving made our way back to our five star aBNB where our gracious host welcomed us with hospitality and hot showers.
Day 3: Green Mountain, Boulder Peak, Sonder Coffee , Korean BBQ
The day starts with one of my favorite words and things - coffee as soft and complex as the idea of worlds as vivid and rich as our own existing in everyone all around us - Sonder. We drive the easy half an hour drenched in mountain views and snow capped clouds swimming aside summits soaring through the baby blue skies until we reach Boulder. The city streets leading to the trail tops are paired with dedicated bike lanes, towering homes, and murals. It's beautiful. We reach the top of a series of death defying corners and look out over the tree tops and luscious rich forest greens.
We climb out over and on to the rocks pouring out over horizon puppies in tow.
We navigate our way to Green Mountain and begin our slippery and snowy ascent to the summit.
The snow deepens as we climb higher up, the shade freezing the air and ground.
Hiding my heavy breathing about as well as my footprints a quarter of a mile at a time, stopping for well placed tree breaks and open views.
The trail , Green Mountain was labeled and reviewed as dog friendly. We enjoyed the trail up but at the top it posted as no-dogs and fine heavy so instead of doing the loop, we went back down the way we ascended; it was confusing and poorly marked normally I'd risk it given the inaccurate labeling up but given our run in with the ultra intense police the night before we decided they were on a literal 'nother level here and aired on the side of caution. .
Going down in snow is always a little slicker and feels like skating down a mountain slipping from one side of the trail to the next. It's also remarkably faster.
We made our way down and culminated with some bouldering on a corner - also unappeasable photo op.
Side bar, but bar none the less - the world has a way of reuniting people in the most unlikely of times and places! One of my buddies I was stationed with in Fairbanks, AK was at grad school in Boulder and saw some of my stories sharing the epic joy of Colorado and we were able to link new friends and old friends over some classic Korean BBQ. He elected to not join the hike since he had a marathon prep 20 miler that morning - I suppose it was valid excuse. The world takes us and surely surprises us, and sometimes we take the world by surprise.
We ended the trip with a classic post hike hot tub soak session - I say classic as if it's something I engrain in my trips but truth is usually a hike for me is followed by my calves stretched into the gas pedal of my car steeping a long drive back. This was a super nice bubble in that tradition.
Day 4: The drive back
We, in a less calculated and organized manner, stuff our bags and gear back into Bonita and set out for some Sonder Coffee, lavender latte, and begin the less grandiose drive through the midwest to our return destination. Filled with amazing memories; unforgettable steps, summits, and stories. Red sands on my boots, snow on the paws, and love in our hearts a short weekend but a lifetime of retelling and relived photos. Enormous gratefulness for the orchestration and conduction of some an awesome trip and I most certainly can not wait to explore more of Colorado in up coming trips with the wifey and all three of our doggos, friends near and far, new and old- summits ahead and rivers below there's absolutely no end to all the places we'll go ....
Happy Travels Friends<3