I was craving a backpacking getaway weekend, and so I booked a ticket to Colorado to go hiking with my best friend from college, Betsy, and my sister, Jenny. I flew in to Denver Thursday night after work, and Betsy picked me up from the airport. We had some girl talk before we hit the hay.
Friday morning and I went for a run in City Park. It is beautiful. I was LOVING all the greenness, everywhere! I had to run 8 miles for my training for the Temecula Half marathon I’m running at the end of October. It was fun to be at a higher altitude (although Denver isn’t in the mountains, but it’s still higher than sea level), but because it’s flat, I was running sooooo much faster than my typical min/mile in San Diego. I averaged 9min/miles for all 8 miles. It felt great!
After that, I had a little photo shoot with Betsy’s kitties, before heading to a local coffee shop to get some work done.
There is the cutest bike shop/coffee/bar a few blocks from Betsy’s house, called the Denver Bicycle Café. I got some good work done there, and then had lunch at The District next door. My lunch was amazing! I had a delicious sandwich and a Strongbow for lunch. J I was lovin’ it. Then headed back to Betsy’s to get some more work done.
Took a nap at around 5, before Betsy got home at 6. Oh my goodness. I hadn’t taken a nap since probably before I got employed again. It felt sooooo good. I was knocked out cold. Then we cleaned up and headed to REI to get some last minute stuff for our weekend backpacking trip.
We had dinner at the coolest place, Linger. I’m obsessed with it. The food was fantastic, and they have a really cool rooftop bar. The bar is a “food truck” bar. Who knows how they got it on the roof, but it’s awesome. Then it was home to pack our backpacks for our hike. My sister drove down from Fort Collins late Friday night, and slept at Betsy’s, so that we could all wake up early Saturday morning and drive to Aspen together.
I had never been to Aspen, and was excited to see a part of Colorado I hadn’t seen, because I have been nearly everywhere else. The drive was beautiful, and all the Aspen trees were starting to turn yellow. It truly felt like fall. Sometimes I miss the seasons living out in San Diego, but I just LOVE the ocean. We parked at the trailhead, grabbed our bags, and started walking. :)
I was soooo excited to disconnect from the digital world for a bit, and just be in nature. No headphones, no phone, no t.v, nothing. Just Betsy, Jenny, and I and nature. I LOVE to camp and hike, and hadn’t done so in too long. Every step of the hike, I just felt so in love with nature. It was beautiful. Betsy had been wanting to do this hike, and I was of course so excited to do it too. She had picked out a hike that takes you to these beautiful natural hot springs up in the mountains. We couldn’t wait to get on our swimsuits and sit in the beauty of nature. The hike is 9 miles to the hot springs (8 miles to the start of campsites). It is 2,400 feet of climbing, and we had to cross rivers and waterfalls. We had our balance challenged a few times, and I just couldn’t get enough. All I could think is I need to do this more often. After a little over 4hrs of hiking, we got to the Conundrum Hot Springs, and it was packed. It was seriously like a party on top of a mountain. It was crazy! Everyone was camping, and sitting in these beautiful hot springs. I just love that everyone had to do this amazing hike to get there. It was cool to be surrounded by like-minded individuals who love being in nature and adventures and fitness! So, we got on our suits and hopped in with everyone else!
Because it was like a mini-city, it was tough to find a campsite. We ended up having to camp in a non-designated camping area, just like a few others, but we got to sleep to the sounds of the rushing rapids of the river. It was unreal. Seriously, I thought, is this real? Is this real life? We get to do this! How amazing.
It started to rain while we were in the hot springs, so after a few hard ciders, and people starting to get naked. Haha. Yes. It’s a “hippie” hot spring, where nudity is allowed if you so choose. We headed back down to our campsite to cook dinner in the dark and the rain. My sister brought a mini stove, and we had bought dehydrated meals where we just add water. And let me tell you, they were soooo good! Seriously. Sooo good. We had garlic mashed potatoes for all of us to share. My sister had pasta primavera, and Betsy and I split Meat Sauce Lasagna and White Bean Chicken Chili. I was shocked at how good the meals were. And we had Bananas Foster for dessert. After our bellies were happy, we climbed into our tents, and listened to the rain and the river. My dream. I just love falling asleep to any kind of water. It’s so peaceful and soothing, and just makes me happy. It was pretty cold. I slept in a hat, long sleeve, long pants, tall ski socks, and a down jacket. And then snuggled into my sleeping bag (I had borrowed Betsy’s friend’s sleeping pad, which man those things have come a loooong way, they are like mini air mattresses, haha.) I fell asleep pretty fast.
It stopped raining during the night, but then as soon as we woke up at 6:45am, it started raining again. And all I could think about was how much I was loving it. I just love the rain. It felt good, and made me feel alive. We packed up our tents and backpacks in the rain, and then headed out onto the trail again. It was pretty muddy, but beautiful. 9 ½ miles later (longer on the way back because we got a ride from where we parked to the trailhead, and this time we had to hike to the car), we were back at the car and in reality. Stopped at Whole Foods for a warm sandwich on the way back to Denver, stopped by Betsy’s real quick to pick up some of my stuff, and then straight to the airport. Haha. Didn’t even have a chance to shower. I’m sure the people on the plane are loving how I smell. ;) (I’m writing this on the plane right now)
It was a short trip, but it was just what my soul needed. A weekend in nature with some of my favorites. I can’t wait to do it again, hopefully soon! And it makes me sooo excited to go camping and hiking in Thailand. Ahhhh! Only 2 months til I leave!
If you are looking for a rad hike to do, I highly recommend doing this one. It was an unbelievable hike and the hot springs are worth it! The party was awesome, but I would love to do it again on a weekday when there are less people, and we could have the hot springs all to ourselves. I bet it is crazy tranquil and lovely.
What a fun weekend! I hope you all had a good weekend too!