Colorado Road Trip: Boulder

Boulder Farmer's Market

After 16 hours on the road, we are finally home-sweet-home!  I’m excited to cook in my own kitchen, sleep in my own bed, and get back to my gym!  First I need to unpack, but wanted to show a quick glimpse of our last few days of vacation, which were spent in Boulder, CO.  We really enjoy Boulder.  It’s a bike-friendly community, has one of the largest farmer’s markets in the country, and is home to quite a diverse population.  It’s the perfect ending to our vacation!

Bob and Michelle’s Top Ten in Boulder:

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Colorado Road Trip: What’s That Smell?

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I love walking or running the towns we visit when on vacation.  It’s the perfect way to squeeze in some exercise, while seeing more of what the town has to offer.

The other day, while walking along the Yampa River in Steamboat Springs, CO, a pungent smell hit me.  It was like eggs . . . gone bad.  The stench was strong, too.

I kept walking, soaking up the sun, taking in the sights . . . but that smell just would not quit!  And then I came upon the source.

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Colorado Road Trip: The best cookie ever!

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Two years ago in Estes Park, CO, while ordering a cup of coffee, Bob saw a chocolate chip cookie next to the cash register and said to the barista, “I’ll take one of those, too.”  The sticker indicated that it was a vegan cookie.  Bob and I aren’t vegans, but it didn’t matter.  The cookie just looked delicious.

Little did Bob know what he was about to introduce into my life.  I usually only take a bite or two of his cookie (he’s a “cookie monster”, while I would usually rather have a piece of dark chocolate), but this time, I took over.  It was the perfect combination of soft and crumbly, with plenty of chocolate chips and chunks of walnuts.  Bob had to go back in and order another because he barely had any of the first.

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Colorado Road Trip: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

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For one of our last hikes in Estes Park, we went to Flattop Mountain.  We did this hike years ago (actually summited Hallett’s Peak as well–which you can see behind my head in the picture below) and have always talked about doing it again, but for one reason or another (weather, sprained ankles, etc.) it’s been pushed aside.

The good:  We did it!  And it was fantastic.  The bad:  The descent was painful and took forever.  It was also what had us in our condo like this a few hours later:

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Colorado Road Trip: Twin Sisters

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Bob and I hiked one of our favorites, located just outside of RMNP:  Twin Sisters.  Last year, Bob sprained his ankle on the way back, and now refers to this as “Twisted” Sister.  It’s a challenging hike, but well worth it!

Twin Sisters Hike

We started out early again, leaving the trailhead by 6:45 am.  There were some breathtaking views along the way:

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Colorado Road Trip: Eating in Estes Park

While in Estes Park, we cook almost all our meals at “home”.  We rent a small condo that has enough of a kitchen that we can manage some delicious meals and we are within walking distance of a grocery store.  There’s also a community grill on the front deck of our condo complex that we can use.  It’s perfect for the two of us–comfortable, clean, and close to downtown.  I even refer to it as our “home away from home”.

Besides helping to save money, we like to stay in because we have never found restaurants in the area that we truly enjoyed.  The exception for the past few years was a place called Nicky’s.  We liked the ambiance of the restaurant and the food was good.  I’m not sure that we’ll make it back this year . . . we’re really enjoying our time together in our own little place!

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Tonight, we had an appetizer of chips and salsa, with a sliced anneheim pepper for a little zip.  :)  We had packed our favorite chips from Trader Joe’s, and I found salsa at the grocery store–it was pretty good!  Check out the garlic chunks in there!

For dinner I purchased some organic chicken breasts and broccoli florets.  We used a seasoning blend I brought from home on the chicken, and Bob did a fantastic job of grilling (he was so excited when I asked for a pic–can you tell?).

 

 

 

 

Bob also worked his magic, and mixed some margaritas for us.  Fresh squeezed lime, lightly sweetened with agave nectar and our favorite tequila: Don Julio Silver.  Summertime perfection!

Colorado Road Trip: Deer Mountain

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A fantastic hike that Bob and I seem to enjoy year after year is Deer Mountain.  At the summit, the view overlooking Estes Park is awesome.  The trail isn’t too difficult (6 miles round trip, 1093 ft. net elevation gain), so it’s perfect for acclimating to the altitude at the beginning of our trip.  We work up at 5:30 am, had a hearty breakfast, grabbed our backpacks and got in the car to head into RMNP.

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Colorado Road Trip: how we travel

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I adore Colorado.  Seriously adore.  Every summer, Bob and I drive out to those gorgeous mountains and hike until our legs can’t take it anymore.

Hallett’s Peak, 2009

Really.  This year we packed 6 ice packs, China Gel and Biofreeze, compression socks, a roller and 2 tennis balls (to work out the most stubborn knots).  But if we’re going to drive  16 hours, one way, we are surely going to take advantage of the time we have.

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