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

First and Last Years in Colorado

As I was shopping for shorts a few weeks ago that are more age/work appropriate (ah, the joys of working for a startup!), I realized that as I close out my time in Colorado, so much has changed from my first summer 6 years ago and this, my last, summer. In 2009, I was wearing shorty-short shorts, as 23 year olds do; this year, I shopped for shorts that covered my booty and are much classier, as 29 year olds do.

I couldn’t help but think of other ways I’ve changed from my first to last summers here. I moved here immediately after graduating college and it’s been the singular place I’ve called home as an adult. I did my ‘growing up’ here: learning how to grocery shop and budget a salaried paycheck, buying a car (!!), building a community around me from scratch, changing my relationship status on Facebook from ‘Single’ to ‘In a Relationship’ to ‘Engaged’ to ‘Married’ (I may have broken up with Alex after college, before moving to Colorado, in a showing of fierce independence.)

And while my interests/hobbies didn’t really change, the degree to which I did them did.

First and Last Summers in Colorado // lgsmash.com

I knew I loved the fresh air and outdoor adventures Colorado offered; I’d spent elementary and middle school years living in Denver and my family went hiking often while we lived here and the outdoors was a key draw for me in moving back. When I first moved here, I hiked on very short day hikes, knowing I didn’t know enough to do much else. Over the past 3 years, Alex and I took many outdoor classes with the Colorado Mountain Club to expand our adventure horizon. We took classes in Winter Camping, Wilderness Trekking, Basic Mountaineering and Ice Climbing, we learned to rock climb and honed our backpacking skills. The more I learned, the more we were able to do outside and it ruled! I know this stint in the midwest will be short; we are mountain people in our hearts. First and Last Summers in Colorado // lgsmash.com

Running was something I rarely did before moving to Colorado. In my world, running was reserved for sprints at volleyball practice only! But soon after moving to Denver, my best friend Sarah somehow talked me into signing up for a half marathon. We made a mini-vacation out of it and picked a race in Phoenix in the middle of winter; I was hooked after crossing the finish line that day! As the years passed, I transitioned from running on roads and paved paths to mountain trails. I’m certainly not a competitive runner and I haven’t been able to run long distances much this year but I still love the sport and running on trails. First and Last Summers in Colorado // lgsmash.comOnce upon a time, neither Alex or I knew how to ski or snowboard. In our first winter out of college, we met up in Park City with our friends and decided to give snowboarding a try. It sucked. It was really hard and, because our friends were so much better at skiing and snowboarding, it wasn’t very much fun for anyone. After Alex moved to Denver, we learned to ski and never looked back. I love skiing so much and wish I’d taken it up earlier (if only that pesky little factor called money!). I know skiing on the east coast won’t compare to the mountain west but at least there’s still opportunities to ski!

Life is nothing but an adventure with life lessons and growing up along the way. I have no idea what Pittsburgh holds but I’m excited to learn and grow in new ways.

Trip Report: The Great Sand Dunes National Park

This past weekend, I’d registered to run the Mt. Evans Ascent…and then I failed to train so I transferred my registration. Then, Alex and I were going to climb with our friends…and then Alex burned his hand pretty severely last weekend.

Instead, we decided to drive south for a mini-road trip to The Great Sand Dunes National Park – far enough away to feel like a special trip but close enough to warrant a one-night trip. I’d only ever seen the sand dunes from the Oasis Campground (long story) but hadn’t made it inside as an adult and, knowing we only have a few Colorado weekends left, we rallied our friends, Lucas and Nancy, who are also moving away this summer, to cross this Must See item off our Colorado bucket lists.

Trip Report: Great Sand Dunes National Park // lgsmash.com

As we were planning our trip and scheduling an overnight for Philly at the kennel, we learned the Sand Dunes is one of the few national parks that allow dogs off the ‘trail’; our pup was coming with us! Philly is her happiest when she’s outside and would be content to spend her days camping if we let her. (If only we could, Phil!)

We opted to camp at the Oasis Campground, about 4 miles from the entrance to the park. We’d stayed here previously and enjoyed the view as the campgrounds are up the mountain side a bit. Knowing rain was in the forecast (and after the flooding rain we’ve received in Denver recently), it sounded drier to be UPHILL than camping at the base of the mountains and dunes.

The weather report indicated a 50% chance of thunderstorms on Saturday afternoon but clearing later in the evening so we weren’t surprised to feel the rain soon after securing our campsite. After about an hour of thunder and lightning in the area, the system started to move out and we set up a tarp above the picnic table included at our campsite.

Trip Report: Great Sand Dunes National Park // lgsmash.com

Trip Report: Great Sand Dunes National Park // lgsmash.com Trip Report: Great Sand Dunes National Park // lgsmash.com

We played Farkle, told stories and drank beer. There really is no better way to spend a weekend than camping with close friends and pups!

Trip Report: Great Sand Dunes National Park // lgsmash.com Trip Report: Great Sand Dunes National Park // lgsmash.com Alex loves the San Luis Valley because it’s a purported hot spot of UFO activity. As a person who is unreasonably afraid of UFOs and aliens, I was less jazzed about this fact but put my big girl pants on to watch the sky for weirdness with my friends. To my relief (and Alex’s disappointment), no UFOs were spotted during our watch.
Trip Report: Great Sand Dunes National Park // lgsmash.com

Sunday morning brought big blue skies – no rain! We packed up camp, ate breakfast at the lodge restaurant and drove into the park! Trip Report: Great Sand Dunes National Park // lgsmash.com

It was a fairly mild morning, mid-50s – the prior night’s rain helped cool things off – but we still aimed to be on the sand by mid-morning to help ensure our pups wouldn’t get too hot. Especially this little black dog.

Trip Report: Great Sand Dunes National Park // lgsmash.com Trip Report: Great Sand Dunes National Park // lgsmash.com Trip Report: Great Sand Dunes National Park // lgsmash.com Trip Report: Great Sand Dunes National Park // lgsmash.com

Alas, the cool morning quickly warmed and we could tell it was time to head back to the stream that separates the dunes from the parking lot to give the pups a cool down.

If you’re visiting the dunes with a dog and want to hike to the top of the dunes, I’d highly recommend going very early in the morning or late in the evening to keep your pup cool. The sand was warm, not hot, but my black dog got really warm, really fast. (But she had a blast running on the sand and playing in the water!) There were many dogs at the dunes of various shapes, sizes and colors and all seemed to be so happy to be playing in a giant sand box. We did not put booties on Philly but if you own some and are considering visiting the dunes, it wouldn’t hurt to pop ‘em on. Trip Report: Great Sand Dunes National Park // lgsmash.com

She spent the whole car ride home zonked out in the back, the mark of a weekend well spent!