Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Rocky Mountain High...

...Colorado (ala John Denver). What an awesome time! I was really excited to get away and unplug from it all, and the trip did not disappoint. It was the perfect mix of alone time for me and Tyge, and also family time with Travis, Karrie and Lila. Gorgeous weather, great food (I think I gained 10 lbs!), fun company, and beautiful CO scenery - what more could a girl ask for?

So Tyge and I started the trip by getting up at 3 AM on Thursday for our 6 AM flight. We arrived in Denver, got our rental car and headed up to Golden where we started the trip with a delicious breakfast at the Golden Diner, complete with a green pork chili omelet. Seriously, CO folks put that stuff on everything! Since we were in the area, we decided to tour Coors brewery before heading into the mountains. Very cool to see how beer is brewed, and the free samples at the end weren't bad either. ;) After that we drove past Tyge's old Golden house and snapped a few pics for his parents. 

Next we stopped at Red Rocks, which was breathtaking! 

We then pointed the car towards Evergreen, taking the scenic route along Bear Creek. We stopped at a place along the creek for lunch and had another amazing green chili covered item - burrito for me, burger for him. It was such a beautiful location and so peaceful out - we enjoyed our food and walked around the creek a bit before leaving.

Once we got to Evergreen, we stopped at the same Baskin Robbins Tyge used to go to as a kid and ate our treats by the creek. Since good old GPS couldn't find it, the cashier helped us find the road Tyge used to live on, waaay up in the mountains. After a few wrong turns, we found that house as well - still standing and for sale!

Tyge's old tree house that Grandpa Reuben built was still there, which was nostalgic for him to see.

We headed back down the mountain and checked into our B&B (Highland Haven Creekside Inn - highly recommend!). Since it was almost 5 PM and most of the shops on Main Street were closing soon, we hurried into town to our first stop at Creekside Cellars Winery.

We sampled a variety of their finest wines and again enjoyed the creek side view. I was just reveling in the idea that we didn't have a schedule, had nowhere to be, nothing specific to do....it was a great feeling! Once they closed, we walked around Main Street a bit more and did a some shopping before having dinner at Beau Jo's pizza. Amazing pies with the best crust, and they even give you honey to dip the crust in for dessert. Yum. Because we were tired from being up so early, after dinner we walked back to our room and went to bed. Sleeping next to the babbling creek with the CO mountain air blowing in the windows was a.m.a.z.i.n.g. We slept for 12 hours! Tyge awoke Friday morning to the sound of an elk calling (mooing? braying?) so shot up out of bed, grabbed the camera, and was gone for 30 minutes. He came back saying he chased the noise up and down the mountain but never saw the elk - so sad. We then headed into the dining room for the homemade breakfast, which was again, fantastic! We sat outside by the creek sipping our coffee as we looked at maps and made plans to do a short mountain hike before driving to Fort Collins that evening.

The hike was definitely one of the highlights of the trip - or the first two hours of it was anyway. :) We picked one of the "shorter" trails on the 13 mile loop, which was four miles up and four miles back down the almost 10,000 foot peak. Because we can walk around our four mile lake at home in an hour, I figured the hike would take us around two hours - haha, what a hiking novice I am. We packed a small backpack with the map, camera and two Gatorades (later wished I had packed more, and maybe some trail mix!) and off we went. A few minutes in, as Tyge was saying he didn't see a lot of animals on hikes when he was a kid, he looked to his left and said "holy crap!” as about five feet away was a HUGE mule deer. He posed for us as we took pictures for a few minutes, and then moved on.

We also saw a snake - I stayed away from that one while Tyge snapped pics.

The hike was beautiful and the leaves were just starting to turn. The early part was great with a fairly flat trail and little incline so we walked side by side and enjoyed the scenery – the sky was blue with fluffy white coulds, and you don’t see mountains like that in MN!


As the trail got narrower and steeper we walked single file, me behind Tyge. This was about the time his brother was having surgery back home in MN, so it turned into a silent prayer walk surrounded by God’s beauty – so peaceful and such a rare opportunity. We truly were in the middle of Rocky Mountain High, as John Denver sings:

"Now he walks in quiet solitude the forest and the streams
Seeking grace in every step he takes
His sight has turned inside himself to try and understand
The serenity of a clear blue mountain lake

And the Colorado rocky mountain high
I've seen it rainin' fire in the sky
You can talk to God and listen to the casual reply
Rocky mountain high"

So now two hours in we weren’t even at the top yet and time wasn’t on our side, as we had a two hour drive to Fort Collins to make before dark. We almost turned around because there was still 11 steep switchbacks to hike before the peak, and some 55+ year old couple passed us going down and said “you’ve made it this far – you have to continue!” – if they could do it, so could I. We made it to the top another hour later and the view was magnificent – so worth it!

We started the trek back down, which was much easier than up, and finished the hike a few hours later. What I thought would take us two took almost five hours – oops!

We were shaky with hunger so had an outdoor patio lunch in Evergreen then packed up and drove to Fort Collins. After hitting some Denver rush hour traffic, we arrived and were greeted by Travis, Karrie, Lila and Emi the smiling red dog (Keely’s twin) - it was so good to see them! Since they knew we’d be exhausted from hiking and driving all day, they had planned a quiet night in with a yummy homemade dinner – perfect. We stayed up late talking and catching up, and even managed to get a few hours of sleep. Saturday morning we rented bikes and rode around the adorable college town of Fort Collins, stopping for sandwiches and a beer before heading home for Lila’s nap. Actually, we all napped. When we woke up we hopped on the bikes and rode to O’Dells Brewery, which was another trip highlight! The atmosphere there was so laid back and fun – they had live music, and of course, beer. We sampled 18 kinds of beer and I learned that I like more than just Coors Light!

When we were done there, we biked into Old Town for dinner, where we got to watch the Irish beat Purdue – another treat! The rest of Saturday night was spent talking and laughing with Tyge and my cousins around their backyard fire pit. I forgot how much I enjoy spending time with them and so wished they lived closer! However, I was grateful for the time we had with them. Sunday morning we had breakfast in Old Town before saying goodbye and leaving for Denver.

All in all, it was such a great trip and I am so grateful that we were able to go. Tyge and I decided we need more 3-4 day trips throughout the year like that – so rejuvenating for both of us. Maybe even Colorado again this winter for some skiing and snowboarding action? We’ll see! J


  1. Looks and sounded like a beautiful, peaceful and memorable trip. Glad you had a great time.
    ~Natalie Klauser

  2. What a fun trip and relaxing trip! Thanks for sharing!
    -Chelsea Shelton