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  • Krista Harris

Rocky Mountain High...Colorado November 2021

It was so great to be back in Colorado! The few times I've been previously, it has always been during the Spring or Summer, so I was excited to get a taste of late Fall in the Rocky Mountains. Joe and I went with a group of friends. Half the group were just happy to get away and relax...and myself, Joe and Rachel were itching for some outdoor activities. We were all able to experience Colorado the way we wanted to over 4 days that seemed to completely fly by. Good times have a way of doing that.

Wednesday: Joe and I arrived into Denver in the morning, and drove to Denver Central Market to meet up with my co-worker for lunch. This hip food court was great, local spots of all types and cuisines, plus a bar, great place to kick off the trip. From there we made the 30min drive to our Airbnb in Layfayette - The Train Stop Inn. This house was perfect for a large group with cars. Right along the train tracks, but we only heard maybe one train a day. Also right by a great trail that took you to main street Louisville, and a ton of other directions. We instacarted some groceries for the house and set up shop. When everyone arrived by the late afternoon we grabbed a quick bite (pizza) and beers at 12 Brewery about 5mins away in Louisville. This area was super cute, a few blocks worth of bars, restaurants and coffee shops. Later we drove into Denver for dinner at Mercantile and Provisions, right next to the train station in a beautiful old building downtown. A pricey spot with sophisticated dishes and drinks but a great way to kick off the trip.

Thursday: Went for a quick run on the trail next to the train tracks through some neighborhoods and parks, then headed in a couple cars about an hour away to Idaho Springs to check out the Indian Hot Springs. They had a large pool and some caves which were super super hot and clothing optional (most people's option was, none)- and completely wiped us all out after about a few minutes. If you are not a fan of extreme heat, definitely stick to the pool here. After we headed right down the road to Westbound and Down Brewery for lunch. I really liked this spot- super big, connected to a coffee shop on one side and a full bar on the other side. Also on a main street with other shops, bars and restaurants. After the brewery we headed back to our place, and walked about 40mins on the trail to dinner in Louisville at Por wine house. This place was awesome, super good tapas and reasonably priced, good vibes.

Friday: Off the Rocky Mountain National Park first thing with Joe and Rachel. Took us about 1hr 15mins to get to Estes Park. When we arrived at the RMNP entrance, the ranger warned us that the snow was pretty deep in parts and we should use poles and spikes to hike. We turned around and rented them from Estes Park Mountain shop (pretty cheap - like $35 total for all 3 of us) and then headed back well equipped this time. We did a 3 hr hike, starting at the Fern Lake Trailhead, all the way up to Fern Lake, which had a good foot plus of snow and crazy winds when we reached the top. This was my first time hiking in a good amount of snow, and the spikes really did help. About half the hike was fairly challenging, but the first half was pretty flat along a creek. After the hike we headed back into Estes to drop off our rental gear and grabbed some coffee/snacks, then back to Layfayette. We met back with everyone at the house, then headed later that evening to the Pearl Street Mall in Boulder (20 min drive from the airbnb). We stopped at Bartaco for margaritas and then had dinner at West End Tavern in Boulder. We sat on their roofdeck which was actually heated pretty nicely and comfortable for being open air. After dinner we walked to Bitter Bar a few blocks away for some cocktails.

Saturday: Another hike day for me, Joe and Rachel. The rest of our group checked out Red Rocks Ampitheater which was only about 45mins from the Airbnb. Apparently the day of concerts you can hang at the park until 1pm. So they did a tour while we headed to Boulder and tackled the Green Mountain West Trail- which leads to one of the 5 iconic mountain peaks in Boulder. Green Mountain itself is the third highest mountain in Boulder, and we felt that! Probably because we got extra and did some additional hikes to just the original Green Mountain West trail. We started with that, then at the peak took the EM Greenman trail all the way down, then hooked back all the way up on the Ranger trail, then back out to the GMW trailhead. 6 miles, 3 hours, 1500+ elevation gain probably twice, exhausting but fun. After the epic hike we met the Red Rocks crew back in Boulder at the Pearl Street Mall area and had lunch at Bartaco, coffee at Ozo. Later back in Layfayette we had dinner at The Post Chicken and Beer, the Layfayette location was about a 5min drive from us (they have several locations around Colorado- pretty popular spot for a reason! Their chicken was so so good).

And there you have it, Layfayette, Louisville, Idaho Springs, Boulder and RMNP in 4 days. We packed in a ton, but that's how I like it.

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