Denver & Colorado

I live in and LOVE Denver. As much as I enjoy traveling, I am so happy to call Denver home. There is always something to do in this city! From racing to restaurants, there’s something here for everyone.

Here, you’ll find posts about my favorite things to do in Denver/Colorado.

Red Rocks: Workouts / Film on the Rocks

2011 Denver Out of the Darkness Walk

Bike Riding on the Cherry Creek Path

A Bachelorette Weekend in Vail

Denver Patio Ride

Canvas & Cocktails, Girls Night at Canvas and Cocktails!

Tease Studio (Pole fitness class!)

Bella Glass Studios

First Fridays: True Love Shoes  & Infinite Monkey Theorem

Indoor Skydiving

Yelp! Denver Events: Monster MashUp, Elite Event at Capital Grille

Rugby Games at Infinity Park

Gun Safety Class at Cherry Creek State Park

Get Out and PLAY! Colorado is one giant playground for people who love to be active and explore. 

Coloradocation (Part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4)

Glacading at St. Mary’s Glacier

Birthdaycation in Breckenridge! (part 1, part 2)

Learning to Winter Camp (part 1)

Denver Eats! There is no shortage of great food in this city.

Izakaya Den Sushi

India Oven

Banzai Sushi

Bull And Bush

Dining Out Paleo: Chipotle, HBurger, Garbanzo

Euclid Hall

Trip Report: Swanson’s Arete, Multipitch Climbing in Eldo Canyon

Trip Report: Swanson's Arete Eldo Canyon // lgsmash.comIn the vein of Throwback Thursday + the fact that I’m heading back to Colorado TONIGHT, I’m posting a trip report from my first multipitch climb in Eldo Canyon!

In July, a week and a half before we moved, Alex and I headed up to Eldorado Canyon (affectionately known as Eldo or Eldo Canyon), a famous climbing area just outside Boulder and a short 40 minute drive from Denver, with our friend Lucas for a 4th of July multi-pitch climb. Lucas has spent lots of time in Eldo and picked Swanson’s Arete to lead us up. Swanson’s Arete is a classic beginner’s climb, rated at 5.5 but much of Eldo is considered to be ‘sandbagged’ or rated at a lower difficulty than many perceive it to be.

Trip Report: Swanson's Arete Eldo Canyon //

Parking shortly after sunrise made for a cool hike into the canyon. A really cool thing about Eldo is that routes start right off the road so as park visitors drive through the main drag (or as climbers trek in), they can marvel at the routes being climbed just outside their window.

We hiked in about 20 minutes, gaining significant elevation in the short, ~.5 mile hike, and arrived at the base of our climb. Our route: Rewritten > Swanson’s Arete

Lucas briefed us on what do expect in the first pitch (‘take your pack off when you get to the chimney’) and up he went. We’d opted to ‘caterpillar climb’ meaning Lucas would climb, Alex would belay from below; then Alex would climb and Lucas would belay from above; lastly, I would climb and Alex would belay from above.

Trip Report: Swanson's Arete Eldo Canyon //

Trip Report: Swanson's Arete Eldo Canyon //

Going in to this climb, I was pretty stressed with the chaos of moving and had a hard time getting into the right headspace. As any climber knows, confidence, focus and determination are integral to your success and I spent much of the first pitch struggling to get a handle on my brain. It had helped watching Lucas and Alex head up before me because I was able to plan my route while I waited for my turn.

Trip Report: Swanson's Arete Eldo Canyon //

P1 was not my favorite; it looked a lot easier than it was and, with a lack of confidence, I slipped halfway up the pitch and fell partway back down the route. Which shook me up and put more doubt in my mind about if I’d be able to finish this climb. I let myself have a few moments of panic, realizing that the only way to get through it was to go up, before I refocused and found my determination. At the top of the pitch is a chimney – something I’d never tackled before. If I’d been in a better headspace, I would have enjoyed this challenge but I did not enjoy it in the moment. Regardless, the chimney is short and extremely doable.

Fortunately, the belay station between P1 and P2 was a pretty large ledge so I was able to calm down and regroup and these guys had room to snap selfies.

Trip Report: Swanson's Arete Eldo Canyon //

P2 brought us through Swanson’s Arete and, again, Lucas gave insider tips about where we could find bomber holds and how best to navigate the arete. Lucas first, then Alex, then I climbed; I flew through this pitch and found myself really enjoying it. It was a beautiful day with not a cloud in sight and I made sure to pay close attention to my surroundings; this was to be my last outdoor climbing in Colorado for a while and I wanted to soak it all in.

Trip Report: Swanson's Arete Eldo Canyon //

Getting my booty over Swanson’s Arete! AND SMILING!

And then…we got to the belay station of P2/P3. Airy belay stations are still something I’m not super jazzed about but I was proud of myself for (mostly) keeping it together. The team decided to switch from ‘caterpillar climbing’ to climbing in tandem where Lucas would lead and belay both me and Alex at the same time.

P3 had a funky start, immediately having to overcome a ledge with not-obvious holds, and I was thankful to have Alex there with me, rather than figuring it out on my own. It took us a few tries but we finally found the right hold to get up and over.

The rest of P3 was really fun with good holds and fun options. Alex climbed a few moves ahead of me and I was happy to summit shortly after he did. Success!

Trip Report: Swanson's Arete Eldo Canyon //

summit with a view!

Trip Report: Swanson's Arete Eldo Canyon //

Quite possibly the internet’s worst summit photo

This was only my second multi-pitch and, despite my lack of confidence to start, I felt so much more comfortable here than I did on my first multi-pitch on the Boulder Flatirons. A combination of gym climbing + more exposure to exposure (outdoor top-roping, mountaineering school outings) really helped.

I can’t speak to the down climb as I was pooped and just following directions but I do know we followed Option 2 here. We did 3 rappels and had a super short hike back up to the crag before calling it a day and hiking back down the canyon to the car.

Trip Report: Swanson's Arete Eldo Canyon //

Trip Report: Swanson's Arete Eldo Canyon //

Back in the parking lot, we stopped in the ice cold South Boulder Creek to cool off before heading back into Denver.

Trip Report: Swanson's Arete Eldo Canyon //


Trip Report: Swanson's Arete Eldo Canyon //

It was such a perfect ending to our outdoor adventures as Colorado residents; climbing in the classic Eldo Canyon with one of our best friends…not much more this gal could have asked for.

Moving East Road Trip: Vegas, Vail and One Last Day in Denver

After spending 2 adventurous days in the Grand Canyon, we ventured further west into the desert to live a bit lavishly in Vegas. I’d only been to Vegas for a work trip (boring) and the summer prior to visit my sister (fun but didn’t do the Strip) so I was excited to stay on the Strip and really ‘do it up,’ as Alex said.
Road Trip: Vegas, Vail + Denver //

The 4.5 hour drive flew by; we turned on a long podcast, stopped for lunch in Hurricane, UT (stop at Sonny Boy’s BBQ – so good!) and 2 short more hours on the road, we parked our car in Vegas.

We stayed at the Trump because Alex was able to snag a good deal on Hotwire but I would not recommend this hotel. It was nice enough but being off the Strip made it difficult to get to the ‘fun parts’ of Vegas very easily, among other things. Our first night in Vegas, we walked the entire length of the Strip and racked up nearly 20,000 steps on my phone’s pedometer!

Road Trip: Vegas, Vail + Denver //

Originally, we’d planned to be in Vegas just Saturday and Sunday nights, leaving Monday for Zion National Park but after a crazy year and in the midst of this major life change, we both wanted to stay one more day in Vegas, relaxing. We checked out of the Trump on Monday morning and checked into the Venetian, thanks to a steal on Hotwire. We slept in, read books by the pool, gambled most of our Vegas allowance away just for Alex to win it all back in the last game of roulette.

Road Trip: Vegas, Vail + Denver //

Road Trip: Vegas, Vail + Denver //

Vegas was a blast and, just like everyone says, 2 nights of play time is enough; it was time to leave behind the hot desert and copious amounts of people, smoke and expensive prices for the wilderness.

Road Trip: Vegas, Vail + Denver //

The next stop on our tour was Vail to camp with our good friend Justin. Justin recently moved to the area to run a vet clinic in town but he’d already scoped out great camping in the White River National Forest (highly recommend checking this out, Denver friends!). We parked our cars shortly before dusk, set up camp and, most importantly, drank beer around the fire swapping stories of our past few weeks; Justin shared entertaining stories of mountain vs. city pet emergencies while we relived our time spent on the road.

Road Trip: Vegas, Vail + Denver //

Road Trip: Vegas, Vail + Denver //

We’d built in one extra ‘free’ day into our schedule and decided to spend it in Beavercreek with Justin. Putting our new-found frisbee skills to use, Justin brought us to the top of Beavercreek mountain to play frisbee golf! Road Trip: Vegas, Vail + Denver //

Spoiler alert: throwing a frisbee disk is far harder than throwing a regular ol’ frisbee. I found that out preeeetty quickly and spent most of my afternoon digging through grass to find my lost disk. But it was fun, regardless. Any afternoon spent in sunshine, on a mountain, with friends? Winning.

After a quiet evening in Beavercreek, we packed up and trekked into Denver! Coincidentally, my brother, who works on Harry Connick Jr’s tour, and Alex’s high school friends both were in town on that same day so we made sure our trip coincided with theirs. We spent the afternoon at the Ellie Caulkins Opera House with my brother, getting a behind the scenes peek at what goes into a major concert, and the evening with our Cincinnati friends, showing them our city and enjoying one last dinner in town at our favorite restaurant, Euclid Hall.

We had a couple of hours between seeing my brother and our friends so we drove through our old neighborhood and decided to stop into the State Capital, knowing there are free tours throughout the day.

Road Trip: Vegas, Vail + Denver //

This was Denver bucket list item for me; for my 25th birthday, I visited the Denver Mint and after that tour, I’d wanted to check out the Capital, too, but because tours are only offered Monday through Friday, during the day, I hadn’t been able to swing it. Road Trip: Vegas, Vail + Denver //

The tour was really interesting! Only 30-45 minutes long, the guide shares many interesting historical tidbits and facts about how the building was constructed. At the end, tours are allowed up into the iconic gold dome and onto the viewing deck outside for incredible views of the city. It was a perfectly Colorado thing to do on our very last day in town. Road Trip: Vegas, Vail + Denver //

Early the next morning, we stopped by the kennel where Philly had been staying for the past week and officially began the easterly portion of our trip. It was a quite ride out of Denver, both of us just soaking it all in and realizing, HOLY SHIT. This is happening right now. 

Road Trip: Vegas, Vail + Denver //