return to the motherland |

getting in touch with my inner colorado girl


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Lazy days

It’s not a huge secret that I absolutely love living in Colorado during all times of the year. My summers are full of hiking trips and my winters are full of weekend skiing. I have to confess though, we are currently in the midst of one of my favorite times of year: the transition season. Allow me to explain.

I spent all summer (by choice!) waking up at 4:30 a.m. on weekends to hike 14ers, running in relay races and generally just getting after it. I had a blast, don’t get me wrong, but it was also somewhat exhausting. I basically treat Denver like a bedroom community to the mountains. I think this gives me the best of both worlds but I admittedly sometimes neglect to spend much time in the city.

This brings me to the transition season. Okay so a few ski resorts are open and we’ve had a couple snowstorms here already but it’s not quite full blown ski season yet. It’s also still possible to go hiking but there is now snow in the high country. We are in a middle zone, somewhere between peak hiking season and ski season. Consequently, in an unprecedented Paula move, I’ve just been bumming it in the Mile High for the past few weekends. It’s peak Denver season! And you know what? I’ve been having a great time.

1/2 mountain girl, 1/2 city girl.

This past weekend I went to the Denver International Wine Festival on Friday night with my friend Cayce. We ate at Euclid Hall downtown beforehand, enjoying mussels and duck confit french fries. It was the first time I’d spent an entire evening in downtown Denver in many moons.

City life tastes so good.

I spent most of the day on Saturday recovering from the wine festival and laying on my couch. With the exception of that horrible time that I had strep throat, it was the most quality time that my couch and I had spent together in awhile. On Saturday night I headed to Boulder to watch Flow State, this year’s Warren Miller movie with a group of friends. Every single one of my activities on Saturday involved sitting, and I didn’t hate it.

On Sunday morning I slept in and woke up in time to make coffee and sit on my couch and watch the Broncos game. That’s right, more sitting. It’s what I do best these days.

Really I’m enjoying these precious few weekends in the transition time, because I know ski season and early morning wake-up calls on the weekends are just around the corner again. You know what though? There is something to this whole “lazy weekend” thing. It doesn’t suck.

Maybe I’ll have to have another lazy weekend in the middle of January! Probably not though, let’s be real.

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Way down South

Apparently I now spend all my free time in Colorado Springs. Okay, I’m being a little dramatic, but I stayed in Colorado Springs last weekend for the Garden of the Gods 10 Miler and I was in Colorado Springs again this past Friday. The scary thing is that I don’t hate Colorado Springs at all. In fact, I kind of like it. Weird, right? I think us Denver kids are sometimes wired to think that anything that isn’t Denver is wrong. But really once you get past the Focus on the Family National Headquarters being located in Colorado Springs, it’s kind of a lovely place. Because it’s closer to the mountains than Denver, Colorado Springs just has a completely different vibe – in a good way.

So what was I doing in the Springs this past Friday? Blame Groupon. You see, Groupon thinks I live in Colorado Springs and sends me the Daily Colorado Springs Deal. To be fair, I do buy more Groupons for Colorado Springs than anywhere else. For example, last year I did a Groupon with three of my friends for rock climbing at the Garden of the Gods. Anyway, when a rock climbing Groupon popped up on the Daily Colorado Springs Deal, I immediately jumped at the opportunity.

I’ve really gotten into climbing lately, and so my intent was to hopefully learn how to belay and tie knots. The Groupon was for a guided climbing trip outside of Canon City, which is just southwest of Colorado Springs. I happened to have Friday off of work, so I decided to just combine my morning climbing trip with an afternoon trail run in the Springs with my friend Molly.

My day began bright and early at 5:00 a.m. Yes, I wake up earlier on my days off than on days that I work.  I was on the road by 5:45 a.m. because I wanted to miss rush hour in both Denver and Colorado Springs. Priorities.

On the road.

The best part of my drive started when I began heading towards Canon City from Colorado Springs. I was actually headed past Canon City to a little town called Cotopaxi (population 47). The highway was along the Arkansas River and it was just beautiful.

Good morning beautiful!

 

How was the climbing? Great! I purposefully wanted to learn how to belay outside, not just at the 30 foot wall at my climbing gym. I got exactly what I wanted out of the trip, learning how to set-up a climb, belay and tie figure 8 knots. I still have a long ways to go but a girl has got to start somewhere. I could at least be a semi-contributing climbing partner now.

Nothing like climbing outside.

All the essentials.

 After spending the morning climbing, I headed back up to the Springs. It was trail time. Molly recommended running at Palmer Park, which she assured me was some of the best trail running in the Springs. I was not disappointed.

Palmer Park.

It was a little cloudy when we started our run, but we weren’t convinced it was actually going to rain so we went ahead with our run anyway. The clouds ended up being a blessing in disguise, as it made our run much cooler. The trails were awesome and the views were even better! Trail running with views of Pikes Peak and Garden of the Gods? Yes please!

Not a bad view. At all.

Miss Molly and me at the overlook.

It was so fun to have a running buddy, and Molly and I ran at least 8 miles and probably 9. My rule for running is that you always, always get to round up, so we’re calling it 9.

As I drove back to Denver from the Springs on Friday night, I have to admit, a little part of me was sad to be leaving. And it wasn’t just because I was sad to be leaving 96.1 The Beat, Colorado Springs’ Party Station. I was sad to be leaving the Springs because you know I apparently like it now!

Thanks for the hospitality Colorado Springs. I’ll definitely be back.