Pre-Blending in Colorado

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Whoa… it’s been a crazy start to the day. After being up for 20 hours yesterday (waking up at 3:30 am to catch a flight and then being way too wired at night to fall asleep) I actually slept through my alarm and missed my spin class! In my four years of being an instructor, this has never happened to me. I feel awful about missing class, but I know that my group will understand. I’ll just make them work twice as hard next time.

So, yeah. We got home from Colorado yesterday… and I’m already just a bag of emotions. It’s so bittersweet to travel to Colorado- because it’s SO WONDERFUL when we’re there, but coming home is so difficult. Knowing the we’ll get to see Lance and Jackson is really the only thing that makes coming home bearable. I don’t feel this way about traveling anywhere else- I usually kind of look forward to coming home and getting back into a routine. But not Colorado… I just want to go out there with a one-way ticket. Alright, enough of this sad stuff. My face has pretty much looked like this for the last five days, and that’s what I need to focus on. :)

I know you are probably all dying to hear all about Blend… But you’ll just have to wait a little bit longer.

Here’s a little teaser photo in the meantime that I took during our awesome Saturday morning boot camp:

:)

Let me start back at the beginning of our trip. We flew out of Baltimore on Wednesday afternoon and landed in Denver a little before 6 pm (gotta love gaining those two hours when you fly out west!). We checked into our hotel, grabbed a quick bite for dinner at Whole Foods (which was right by the hotel) and called it a night. We had to be up bright and early for some adventure the next morning!
I was so excited for Thursday’s fun! We hit the road and headed out west to the mountains. But first, we stopped at the Whole Foods in Golden, which is always our breakfast spot before heading west. The weather was gorgeous and we got to dine al fresco and soak in that beautiful Colorado air. I discovered these awesome breakfast rounds and had one with some fresh ground almond butter and banana and some Greek yogurt.

Greg had his breakfast burrito, as always.

After stocking up on some trail mix and apples to take along with us, we got back on the road. I LOVE the scenery driving out on 70- it’s almost sensory overload! I get really giddy when I first see the view of the snow-capped mountains.

We finally reached our first destination: Loveland Pass!

It’s become a tradition that we head out there on our first full day in Colorado- we’ve done that four years in a row now! The hike only takes us about an hour and a half (depending on how much time we spend at the top soaking in the views) but it’s STEEP.

And you feel the altitude immediately. My legs always feel like they have big bricks attached to them and my heart rate gets super high. I actually had to stop a few times, including a standard “in the snow” shot.

This is not real. Greg was not really next to me. That’s the magic of Photoshop. :)

I can’t complain though, and love every second of it- how can you not with this view all around you!?

When we reached the top, and went to do our traditional photo in the rock bowl, we noticed that it was filled with snow!

So our traditional shot IN the bowl was more ON the bowl.

I just stood there and took it all in… I can’t believe the beauty that surrounds me when I’m up there.

After taking a bunch of pictures and soaking in the beauty, we hiked back down (which takes about half the time that it does to get to the top!). I really try to savor each and every second at Loveland Pass- its the most beautiful view in all of Colorado!

Our plan after Loveland Pass was to head to Breckenridge and rent bikes to get down to Frisco. However, since it’s the off season, the bike path was closed for construction- and most of the bike rental shops were closed anyway. I really wanted to get a nice bike ride in, but my leg felt like jello from the hike, so I wasn’t really TOO bummed. So, instead, we went to Breckenridge Brewery and drank some beer. It was DEAD! It’s weird- I’ve never been in the “off season” so I’m used to everything being crowded! We weren’t complaining though!

We got the sampler because every single beer is good- it’s nice to have a little taste of each. We were happy campers. :)

After a nice chat with our friendly bartender, we  shopped around a bit (including a stop in my favorite store, Magical Scraps!) . The whole town was so quiet!

We left and drove to Frisco to get some lunch at a restaurant called the Boat yard. I got a fabulous salad with tofu, chicken, goat cheese and cherries (amongst other things).

After lunch, we walked around a bit downtown (also quiet)

and went down to the water – right where we got engaged two years ago (well, we it was a little further out- on one of the little islands that you have to kayak to).

It would have been nice to rent kayaks of course, but that’s something that we’ll have to do when we come back in July.

We left Frisco and headed back to our hotel to freshen up for dinner. We had made plans to meet up with my friend Brock, who moved from Maryland to Denver last year, and his girlfriend Melissa. We had a reservation at Root Down for 745, but left the hotel about an hour early to h it up the REI flagship store, which I had never been to (shocking!). And it was massive.

Of course I saw a bunch of Prana and Patagonia dresses that I wanted and tried them on (yes, REI actually has AWESOME dresses!)

I ended up buying the third one from the left. I was very torn between that and the pink one, which I might have to go back and get later.

After REI we headed over to Root Down!

I had made plans to meet up with Denver bloggers Lynne and Tiffany at 7 to get some drinks before dinner. I was so excited to meet theses girls, because we’ve read each others’ blogs forever but hadn’t actually “met” before. They were both exactly how I expected them to be, and even more gorgeous in person! It was so much fun to chat and laugh together!

The girls left when Brock and Melissa arrived, and Greg and I enjoyed our second dinner dates for the night. :) we ordered a few different dishes to share (which make Greg cringe- he Hates sharing food, but he went along with it) and everything was delicious.

“Devils on Horseback” (red peppers stuffed with goat cheese and wrapped with Serrano ham),  Spinach/asparagus gnocchi, Lamb and Duck confit sliders, Strawberry Ice Cream (Bad lighting + iPhone camera + flash)

Greg and I had been to Root Down a few years earlier and remembered loving it then. It was great to hear Brock talk about how much he loved living in Denver, which of course made me want to move there even more! It was also really great to talk to Melissa, who is a Colorado native. They’re planning to visit Maryland in June, so I hope we’re able to get together then!

Our first full day in Colorado was just about as perfect as it could be- and we were pooped by the time we went to bed!

**

Day two also began bright and early, because when you’re in a place as awesome as Colorado you really have to take advantage of every moment! We decided to head into Boulder after we checked out of our hotel and check out the hike at Green Mountain. We’ve never done this hike before, but it sounded great and was supposed to have a crazy view from the top. I read in a hiking book that it would take about four hours, which sounded like a perfect amount of time.

Hello, Boulder!!

Once again, we stopped at Whole Foods to fuel up (this time it was the one off Baseline Road in Boulder). They had an oatmeal bar, so I opted for that.

We also grabbed some sandwiches and snacks for lunch during and after the hike and loaded up our bags. The trail head was just a little past Chatagua, which is where we’ve hiked the Flat Irons several times. We started off on the Gregory Canyon trail.

This hike was so much fun- and SO butt-kicking! And the views were just incredible. They kept getting better as we hiked higher and higher!

Greg and I both LOVED this hike. It’s definitely now my favorite in all of Boulder… maybe in all of Colorado??

After a very rocky and steep climb up, we finally reached the top! At the very top of the mountain is a big rock that you can climb up on, and we had a fellow hiker take our picture.

There’s also a big plaque that maps out the peaks all around!

VERY COOL.  (And we’d love to hike Longs Peak someday!!)

We took a different trail down to the bottom, which was also pretty steep and rocky- but well worth it. When we got to the bottom, we enjoyed a rockin’ picnic lunch.

I know how to pack a picnic, eh?

Upslope is one of our favorite Colorado breweries. Unfortunately we weren’t able to make it over there, but at least we could find some cans at a local liquor store! That and coconut water… talk about refreshment. :)

When we got done eating lunch, it was about 2:30. We had a bit of time before we were supposed to check in at the cottages for Blend, so we made a quick stop over at one of other favorite places in Colorado: Celestial Seasonings!

If you’re in Boulder, GO DO THE TOUR!! We have done the tour twice and it’s awesome! (We didn’t do it this time.)

We sampled some teas and I bought a bunch of stuff from the gift shop. I actually didn’t buy any tea this time, but got some Alba and Jason skin and hair-care products (who are owned the by the Hain-Celestial group) and some magnets and Kombucha.

After that, it was time for BLEND to begin. After our first two days in Colorado, I really didn’t think it could get any better. Boy was I wrong!

Stay tuned for all of the juicy details tomorrow!