Colorado Recap Part IV [The Last Two Days]

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Happy Sunday! I hope I haven’t been boring you to death with all of my Colorado re-caps here, here and here… I’ve got just one more to do- and then it’s back to business as usual tomorrow.

Sunday was our last full day in Colorado, and we enjoyed sleeping in a little bit (you know, until like 7:30). When we did wake up, we decided to head back to Chautauqua for another hike.

We wanted to hike a trail that we hadn’t done in a while, and set out on the opposite side of the park than we had on Friday. We ended up gaining a lot of elevation really quickly, and the first 30 minutes were pretty much straight uphill and totally butt-kicking. I was really starting to feel the results of so much activity during our entire trip, and my body was tired. We ended up running into a woman that was hiking with her two Golden Retrievers (who were siblings!) and talked to her for a while- and it was nice to take a little rest break. After that, we decided to just take it easy for the rest of the hike, and tried out some lower trails that were new to us.

We got to see a different view of the Flat Irons too, which was pretty cool!

I posed on a rock

And hugged a tree

And never wanted to leave. :(

But we did, eventually.

For lunch, we hit up the salad bar at the massive Whole Foods on Pearl Street. I put together the most beautiful salad in existence – almost too pretty to eat!

Of course I ate it.

We had dinner plans with Greg’s best friend that lives near Boulder later in the evening, but decided to take the afternoon to stop by a few places nearby. The first stop was to Celestial Seasoning Tea Shop.

I always stock up when I go there- not on tea- but on personal care stuff! They sell all kinds of awesome brands (like Jason and Alba) for super cheap, and I take full advantage. I also love visiting the tea room to sample all of the different types of teas they are offering that day.

I sent a text to Heather and Kim letting them know that we were headed over to Left Hand Brewery to see if they wanted to meet up- and they did!

Kim is a regular at Left Hand, since she lives so close, but it was the first time visiting for the rest of us. I’ve had a few of their beers in the past, and have liked every one of them. They had a nice selection in the taproom!

For $1, you could get a sample of any beer (which I think was about 4 oz.). I knew that could get dangerous really quick. :) Greg and I chose a few to sample and shared them (and paced ourselves).

It was great to hang out with Heather and Kim again- two times in three days!

Kim had to get back home, but Heather and I (along with our husbands) decided to keep the party going and headed over to Oskar Blues, which was just a short drive away. Since Greg and I didn’t get to sample many of the beers in their taproom, we had wanted to go back.

Heather and I talked and laughed and had a great time while the boys bonded over stories of golfing and snowboarding. :)

I’m so jealous of Heather and Kirk (her husband). They moved out to Colorado recently and are loving it!

It was eventually time to part ways, and we headed back into Boulder to meet up with our friends for dinner at The Med. I don’t have any photos from it- but I can tell you that it was delicious! And by the time we finished dinner, we were ready for bed!

**

Monday was our last day in Colorado. We had packed up our stuff the night before, so that we wouldn’t have to worry about it the next morning. Our flight home wasn’t until 7:30 pm, so we pretty much had the whole day to spare! We decided to do an early hike, and allow enough time to get back to the hotel and shower up before checking out an noon. El Dorado Canyon was only about a 20 minute drive from where were staying, and Greg and I had really liked hiking there a few years ago.

Of course, we stopped for breakfast on the way:

A different Whole Foods with an oatmeal bar- and a made-to-order breakfast burrito station for Greg!

After fueling up, we set out towards El Dorado Springs, and made it there with enough time to do a two hour hike. We chose to hike the same trail that we had before, El Dorado Canyon Trail, since we had remembered liking it a lot the first time.

The trail was an out-and-back, which I have mixed feelings about (I tend to prefer a loop). It is nice to do an out-and-back when you’re somewhat limited on time, because on a trail like this, it takes about an hour and 15 minutes to go out and 45 minutes to go back (there is a lot of elevation gain on the first half of the trail).

We didn’t see a single person on our way out- it was so nice and quiet!

The scenery is really pretty, and you can even catch a train going by across the way every now and then. And these “blue” berries are everywhere (we saw them at Mt. Galbraith too)-

I’m assuming that they’re not actual wild blueberries, because we have those near us and they grow on tall bushes. They sure do look similar though! I wasn’t about to taste one to find out.

We got to a point where we had to turn around, snapped a few photos, and were on our way.

(I was running down to Greg to try to beat the self-timer!)

On our way down, I just tried to savor every single second and really soak it in. I was getting pretty sad about it being our last Colorado hike for awhile. I know that may be rolling your eyes at me whining about how much I love Colorado again- but I just can’t explain it. I feel a connection to so many places there (especially at Chautauqua) like I have never felt before. I really hope that my Colorado friends never take for granted the beauty that surrounds them!

Like most out-and-backs I’ve hiked on, the hike back to the trail head was a little steep downhill at times. When we were about ten minutes away from the trailhead, I did the inevitable- tripped and fell.

No big deal, just a little blood and another scar to add to the collection (and now I have matching ones on my right and left knee!).

Besides my graceful tumble at the end, the hike was wonderful- and the perfect way to wrap up an amazing week of outdoor adventure.

After our hike, we quickly went back to the hotel to shower, change and check out, and headed into Denver to meet up with Katie (and her daughter!!) for lunch.

Katie had suggested City ‘O City, which is a vegetarian restaurant downtown. Since I know that she has great taste in food, I was sure that the place would be great. The place had kind of a hipster vibe, but the decor was funky and industrial, and the staff was very friendly.

Katie was one of the masterminds behind the Blend retreat, and we had met for the first time last May. Since then, we’ve stayed in touch through our blogs, email and social media- and I’ve been glued to her Instagram feed to see the photos she posts of her daughter.

If you know me, you know that I  do not get all crazy and ga-ga over babies (dogs? that’s another story…), but I mean… LOOK AT HER.

She was petting my hair like I was a dog! :)

We had a fabulous lunch and conversation, and it was really great to learn things about Katie that I didn’t know. And oh yeah- the food was awesome too. I got a housemade veggie burger with an EGG on top.

I had to eat that sucker open-faced with a fork!

Baby A kept us entertained (and all of the tables nearby were captivated by her) by walking around, staring out the window

Eating her stroller

And just being too darn cute for words.

She is truly the happiest, most charming little lady I’ve ever met!

I didn’t want the lunch to end, but it eventually had to. We said our goodbyes

And off we went (and I got a nice “BYE BYE” from little miss charming!)

Katie’s going to start thinking that I will try to steal her baby if I post any more photos, so if you want more cuteness overload, check out this post here. Seriously, I die.

Since Greg and I had a few hours to kill before we went to the airport, we decided to walk a few blocks over to the 16th street pedestrian mall. We passed by some impressive government buildings on the way!

I won’t pretend to know what they all were…

Honestly, we weren’t that impressed with the pedestrian mall. We walked about 6 blocks down it, and it was a little… seedy. I have to say, I definitely prefer the hippies on the Pearl St. Mall in Boulder any day!

We got back to the car and killed the remaining time by driving up to Louisville- just because I had read about it being “America’s best community to live in” in Money magazine, and wanted to check it out. We walked around the downtown area a bit (which is very small and charming), got an ice cream cone, and headed towards the airport to come back home.

With all of the time zone changes, we eventually landed at 1 am, and got home a little before 3 (which was around the same time that we woke up to catch our flight to Denver the week before!). The next day sucked and we were both kind of useless- but of course, it was all totally worth it to spend an extra day in Colorado.

I hope I’ve kept your attention reading through all of these re-caps. Hopefully I’ll be back out there again SOON!

Do you return to the same destination year after year for vacation? Where do you go?