A Very Colorado Weekend

Sometimes you just have to force yourself to unplug. After a busy couple weeks at work and an overwhelming amount of projects to complete for freelance clients and my invitation business, I made the difficult choice to step away from the computer for the majority of the weekend (until now, of course), and enjoy the beautiful place in which I live.

Instead of turning down Anthony’s umpteenth request to go for a hike, I strapped on my boots for the first such excursion since my knee injury in late-summer. And boy was it worth it! To aid in my enthusiasm, Anthony let me choose the trail, and I picked a destination that is a particular favorite of mine, just south of Denver. Castlewood Canyon was one of the first places we hiked together upon moving to Colorado, so I knew it would be appropriate for a winter hike. Only in Colorado can you feel woefully underdressed and shivering one minute, but step into the sunny side of the canyon and strip down to your t-shirt the next.

Castlewood Canyon

Castlewood Canyon hike, 2012

We were joined by some good friends — both two- and four-legged — and set off mid Saturday morning with Sarah, Keith, Pheobe and Newman. Olive was quite excited for the canine company, along with Keith’s unwavering dedication to the “throw the snowball in the air for Olive to catch” game. After much running, jumping, catching, and munch-munch-munching, our snow-loving pup finished the hike exhausted and with a tummy full of icy goodness. She and her pal, Newman, happily retreated to Olive’s giant new bed immediately upon returning home.

Pups

Newman and Olive unwinding

While the hike was a good burner of human energy as well, three of us awoke early again the next morning for another mountain adventure. Keith and Sarah took me to Keystone for my first snowboarding trip of the season.

Although the doctor cleared me weeks ago for snowboarding, the soreness in my knee made me tentative to try it out. However, his prediction was correct (ahh, doctors… sometimes you don’t let me down), and my knee handled the slopes well. As a side benefit, all of the work I’ve been doing to strengthen my legs to aid in healing seems to have helped me transition into the sport better than I have in past seasons. Usually, my quads are burning well before lunchtime, especially on the first day out, and I’m barely able to walk the next day. However, this time, I was pleasantly surprised by some extra endurance and could’ve gone much longer! Isn’t it nice when your hard work pays off?

snowboarding

The view from the top - Keystone, CO

Now, I’m not saying I didn’t have my share of ugly falls and periods of trepidation (even on the blue runs, those steep areas can sometimes really creep up on me!), but all in all, I was pretty pleased with the day. In addition, the weather was absolutely gorgeous. Unfortunately, the sunshine was indicative of the type of winter our mountains are enjoying, or rather, struggling through. While we were spoiled with about a million powder days last winter (no exaggeration, I swear), the snow has simply not been falling in the mountains this year. This means a lot of scrubby grass where there would usually be a big soft pillow of white, and a whole lot of manufactured snow on the runs that the resorts open. The snow that’s there isn’t horrible, but definitely not ideal.

Snow or no snow, however, the view from the chair lift can easily take my breath away — no matter how many times I see it.

Keystone, CO

Gondola ride in Keystone

And how do you top off a great Colorado weekend? Why, with a mountain-top Colorado microbrew, enjoyed with the company of a room full of other outdoors-lovers, of course!

beers

The "Outpost" in Keystone

The icing on the cake was a bonus day off today in honor of MLK (which I somehow always forget my company celebrates), and I filled it with brunch with a friend, a nice run and doggy play-date with Olive, and a bit of cleaning up around the house. As I plug in for yet another week, I am already daydreaming of what adventures my next Colorado weekend will provide.

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