Sunday, October 29, 2017

Colorado 2017: Aspen...

On Sunday we woke up with plans to visit a place we should have visited a long time ago.  A place where the beer flows like wine.  A place called Assssspen.  Said in my best Dumb and Dumber voice.

We decided to take the route that would include driving over the Independence Pass.  I am sad to say there were no pictures of the pass because there were moments where I just could not look because my palms were sweating.  Guard rails were absent and the drop offs were steep.  Wow, and I was not even the one driving. 

On the way to Independence Pass, we did stop off in a Jackson family favorite, Leadville, for lattes and pastries.  I just love Leadville and not just because of the Leadville 100.  I think the mountains look the prettiest from Leadville. 

Some of the views from the car.  

We arrived in Aspen and thought it was a beautiful city and that it was much bigger than we had expected.  We wandered around a bit and found a place to stop off for a drink and an appetizer. 

Us girls enjoying Assspen

One of the streets in Aspen with outside seating options

We left Aspen to make our way to Basalt where our friend Chris recently moved to.  We planned meeting him at a local brewery but detoured and drove around Snowmass.  Wow, I now know why my friend Izzy likes to stay in Snowmass.  It was beautiful!  

Beautiful Snowmass

Before meeting up with Chris, we stopped off on the Rio Grande trail to take Miss Kya for a walk.  We walked about three miles and then felt a little better about her waiting in the car while her mom and dad ate on Main Street of Basalt.

Enjoying the beautiful weather in Basalt

We eventually arrived at Capitol Creek Brewery and got to enjoy a few drinks with Chris and Shelly before making the long and I mean long drive back to Frisco.  

We spent the rest of the cold night walking around Frisco and stopping off at Prost for a German bier before calling it an early night.  

We woke up the next morning, grabbed a latte, and hit the road to come home to Kansas City.  

Bye-bye Frisco!

We had a great trip and enjoyed getting to see the Aspens!  I am not sure that we could have timed our trip any better in order to do so.  We love our time away with Kya and treasure these experiences with her.  

Next up, Kya gets to go to Arkansas!

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Colorado 2017: Hiking the 10 Mile Creek Trail...

We woke up on Saturday morning and went to the Log Cabin Cafe for breakfast.  I have to say, this is probably our favorite little place to eat in Frisco.  After filling our tummies, we debated about what we should do for the remainder of the day.

We ultimately decided to stay near the condo and hike the 10 mile Creek Trail so that Harper, Jennie and Lindsay's dog, could hike with us.  She is a French bulldog with short legs, so she cannot go too far or climb to high.  This trail is an easy out and back that is very busy since it is located right in Frisco.  We knew it would be crowded, but wanted to stay near the condo.

Harper and Kya both ready to hike!

Some of the beautiful scenery with the clouds rolling in

Kya leads the way

Kya was being brave and was "swimming" in the creek

The happy crew out for a hike

Family picture at the lake

Hiking into the aspens

Group shot complete with poop bags!

Kya and me.  We both love our time in the mountains.

The trail was super easy and super busy.  It is not a trail that I would ever do again, but it was a fun one for all of us to do.  

After our hike, we went into town and walked to the ice cream shop so that we could get a treat.  I had promised Kya ice cream after the 14er, so I needed to uphold my end of the deal.

Kya thought her ice cream was amazing.

After ice cream, it started pouring down rain!  We ran back to the condo as fast as we could, but we were soaked.  

Jennie and Lindsay went back to Denver and we had a low key night complete with wine, taco soup, and rain.  It was a perfect little evening to enjoy while the weather was a little chilly.  

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Colorado 2017: Hiking the Eaglesmere Trail...

We all woke up refreshed on Friday.  We were wondering how Miss Kya would feel and if she should skip our hike we had planned for the day, but that girl came running up stairs wagging her tail to say good morning.  She was totally all, I am fine guys, what are we doing today?

Ken and I walked to the Log Cabin Cafe for a wonderful breakfast.  Our friends Jennie and Lindsay were planning on meeting us in Frisco, so we decided to wait for them to arrive before heading out on our hike.  After breakfast, Kya and I walked around a bit and then we all relaxed until the girls arrived.  Once they arrived, we loaded up and headed out to Silverthorne for our hike.

We had hiked this trail last year as we had read that it was a great trail to see the aspens.  Since we knew we could see the aspens, we decided to do it again this year and hopefully not encounter snow like we had before.

My two cute hikers ready to see the aspens!

Us girls enjoying the trail

We were instantly greeted with some beautiful views!

Kya was in her happy place for sure.  This girl loves to hike.

Beautiful Fall colors

Hiking through the aspen groves

This is an out and back trail that is 7.4 miles round trip.  Sadly, we have never actually made it to the lake.  We ran into snow last year and this year it started raining and thunderstorming on us, so we turned around.  I suppose we are not meant to actually see the lake!

Family photo looking down at the lower Cataract Lake

Lindsay and Jennie enjoying the hike.  We were so glad they drove in from Denver to spend some time with us!

Lower Cataract Lake

Kya was the trail leader.  She L-O-V-E-D it.

It started drizzling on us and we kept going.  Like I said above, it starting raining pretty steadily and then we heard a huge clap of thunder and we all looked at each other and said it was time to turn around.  We hiked at a pretty good clip to get back to the car.  As we were hiking back, the sun came out and we were really hoping we might see a rainbow at some point.  We came out of the trees and low and behold we saw not one but two rainbows!

The second rainbow was barely visible, but you could see it for a bit.  It quickly faded away, but we felt so lucky to have gotten to see a double rainbow.

These two were both pretty excited about the rainbow.  I mean, aspens and a rainbow in the mountains???  How lucky are we!

Family photo with the rainbow.  The cats were there in spirit, ha!

Jennie and Lindsay happy that the sun came out and that it stopped raining!

It started raining on us again just as we were getting back to the car.  We drove back to Frisco and had beautiful sunshine.  We relaxed for a while before heading out to dinner.  One of our other friends just recently moved back to Breckenridge, so he met up with us for dinner and beers at Backcountry Brewery.  Ken and Chris stayed out for a while longer and us girls went back to the condo for a slumber party since Ken ended up having guy time with Chris all night.  It was such a fun day filled with lots of aspens and lots of friends!

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Colorado 2017: Hiking Grays Peak...

Last month we went on a family adventure back to Colorado.  We visited last year in October but missed the aspens that we desperately wanted to see.  In order to rectify this problem, we decided to visit again during late September so we could see them in all their glory.  Spoiler alert:  they were beautiful!

We left on Wednesday afternoon and drove straight to Colorado arriving in Golden around 8:30 pm.  We checked into a pet friendly hotel for the night, ate some dinner, and went to sleep in anticipation of an early morning on Thursday with the plan to hike Grays Peak.

We woke up on Thursday, ate breakfast, and made our way to the trail head.  One thing to note is that not many people will hike a 14,000 ft mountain on their first full day above sea level.  For us, it was really the only day we could tackle the thing.

We drove to the trail head which included the forever long bumpy ride to get there once we exited 70.  That was one of my least favorite drives to get to the start of the trail.  We took a quick bathroom break at the trail head and we were on our way to tackle all 14,278 feet of mountain.

Heading out with nothing but blue skies and the day ahead.

There was one small moment at the start where Ken admitted what a horrible idea it was to be hiking this on our first day in Colorado.  I really kind of agreed with him and told him if we were turning around, we were doing it now, not near the top.  Alas, we continued on our way up the mountain.  

It is hard to believe we would eventually end up at the top of the thing!

Kya was took excited for pictures.  Seeing the people on the trail behind Ken really shows just how massive the mountains really are!

Although we had blue skies, it was cold and windy.  It was so windy that a strong wind moved Kya's body completely sideways at one point.  The wind was horrible. We had originally planned on hiking both Grays and Torreys Peak, but the windy conditions made us rethink hiking up Torreys.

Family selfie out on the trail.  It was cold.  I even wore Ken's jacket at one point.  So, cold!

Ken and Kya hiking up one of the steepest parts of the trail

These two were the cutest hikers out there!

I was four layers at this point, it was so cold!

We finally reached a point where we had switchbacks instead of the trail going straight up.  We are both big fans of the switchbacks!  We are both kind of used to false summits and feared we might be heading up one, but sure enough we were at the real thing!

Us at the summit of Grays Peak!  We were so happy to have made it to the summit.  It was so cold and windy at the top too!

This girl.  At 11 years old she made it to the top of her second 14er.  She impresses me every single day.  She is such an amazing girl and we are so happy that she is ours.  

Family selfie at the summit

There is so much love and pride in this picture.  I am so glad I got to do one of my favorite things with these two.  

After pictures and a snack, it was time to start heading back down.  I would rather hike up the mountain a thousand times than have to hike down.  The hike down always hurts.

My crew taking a load off on the way down.

Two happy girls on the way down.  Do not let Kya's face fool you, she was having a blast, despite the hike down.

There is no way to discuss the hike down without flat out saying that it hurts.  It hurts bad.  The knees start to ache, the attitudes start to dwindle.  We are just not fans of the hike down.  

The view looking back at the summit on the way down.  We had a few shadows on the hike up and did not get to see all the colors like we did on the way down.

Colorful Colorado with Grays Peak in the background

These two celebrating once we got back to the car.  Kya has pure happiness on that little husky face of hers.  She loves hiking with her parents.

We made the dreaded drive back down the horrible bumpy road and drove on to Frisco which would be our home for the next few nights.  We dropped Kya off and went off for a late lunch/early dinner with a glass of wine.  We walked around Frisco a bit and called it an early night.  We were so exhausted!  Checking off hiking a 14er on the first day of vacation is quite impressive for three flatlanders from Kansas!

We both felt so grateful to get to hike another 14er with our girl and looked forward to the remainder of our time in Colorado with her.  Kya is truly an amazing husky and definitely one of a kind.