a trip. a surgery. a snapshot.

It’s been a busy few weeks for the Witzs. The morning we left for our first trip of the year to San Francisco, CK found out he would be having knee surgery the following Tuesday.

So, we flew off to San Francisco to mark my first visit to The Golden State and my 32nd state overall. Great times were had with awesome friends that we don’t get to see near enough. Steiner Street. The Bridge. Twin Peaks. Lands End. Dolores Park. Palace of Fine Arts. And the best people watching a city bring you, all stacked up to give the Witzs one adventure-filled long weekend.

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Foggy day at the bridge with great friends!

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If you are looking for the most comfortable way to walk through your next trip, you should definitely check out these Antigua Leggings by Albion Fit. Best purchase I have made in a while, and they were perfect for our first intense day of sight-seeing. I wish I had bought two pairs.

We landed back in the Mile High just one day before CK went in for a definite meniscus surgery and a probable ACL one. Once the team got into surgery, it was confirmed that he would need a full ACL repair. As you know, CK is a champ in all things he does, and this surgery was no different. We are now almost two weeks post surgery and he is doing PT like the baller he is and ready for the road to recovery, knowing it will  be a long and tough one. Major shout out to our awesome friend, Jennifer Wilson, for coordinating with her co-worker to get us set up with her company’s legit pain pump. It helped CK majorly his first few days home.

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In the meantime, we have just been taking it easy. CK is able walk and put about 25% of his weight on his right knee, but he still can’t be running all over the city. Plus, last week Denver was given a wonderful (cue sarcasm) spring snow. It actually provided the perfect excuse to stay in and binge watch RedBox rentals (i.e. Creed & Concussion). Sometimes, its good to just take it super easy when you can, and thats what we have been doing. Being lazy, reading books, catching up on TV shows, cooking – it’s healthy I think to enjoy the simple and small things. Because its usually those things you miss most when you don’t have them. Right?

Cheers!

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Getting my Rainbow Rowell fix.

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Sunday, comfort-food cooking at its finest!

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roxborough. eldorado. golden gate.

2015-03-15 15.10.12Roxborough State Park
This close by state park marked our first trip out hiking in our new city. For Denverites, this park offers up one of the closest spots from the city for decent hiking. You can take on anything from a half mile overlook to a 6.4 mile round-trip trek to Carpenter Peak. For our maiden Denver outing, we took on something pretty easy and did the 2.3 mile Fountain Valley Trail. This trail offered up views of unique red rock formations and rather interestingly, the home and constructions of developer, Henry S. Persse. Henry envisioned the now Roxburgh as a prime spot for a resort or Front Range getaway. Although this vision never came to life, it now makes for a unique site to visit.

If you don’t have too much time or don’t want to travel very far, but still want some quality time spent exploring the outdoors, Roxborough is a great option to check out.

2015-03-21 15.33.34Eldorado Canyon State Park
I have learned a lot of things about myself since we started hiking. One of the biggest findings:  running water is my favorite noise! I am happiest, most calm, and most captivated when next to or observing a waterfall or fast-moving creek. The hubs is great at taking the time to find places with the coolest water features to check out. And Eldorado was my first of now many places that I feel in love with because of it’s awesome stream!

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Crags Hotel Remnants

On our first trip to Eldorado, we hiked the Rattlesnake Gulch Trail. It’s an easy-moderate hike of 3.6 miles round-trip, with elevation gains and decents evenly throughout. It offers an amazing view at the top of the Continental Divide, as well as the plains, and does a good job of making you remember you are a small part of a very big and vivid world! You won’t be disappointed. This trail also takes you by the remains of the old Crags hotel, that burned down. There is not too much of it to see, but it still somewhat interesting.

And just last week, we hiked the Streamside Trail. While it is pretty easy, know that it is also mostly rocky and be ready to climb up and down often. It’s only a mile there and back and gives you plenty of opportunities to stop and and take in the stream.

In addition to these two trails, ECSP has three more for you to check out with varying milage depending on your time or level of interest. This park is also well knowing for it’s climbing opportunities. The Witzs’ knowledge of climbing is very limited, but if this is your hobby, it’s definitely somewhere to possibly check out.

Golden Gate State Park
2015-03-29 13.15.14A vast and spectacular place to visit. We have only explored one trail amid this large park, but it was a great one! Golden Gate offers over ten trails to check out, plus it is one of Colorado’s state parks that you can actually camp at. Since CO offers up so much National Park and National Forest property, a lot of the state parks do not allow camping, Golden Gate is an exception. We hope to go back and camp soon!

For our day at the park, we walked Snowshoe Hare Trail, a three mile loop to Dude’s Fishing Hole (pictured above). It was very fitting to be on this trail when we were there, as it was March, chilly, and a good amount of snow was still on the ground. Although I know we will want to check out other trails when we go back, Dude’s Fishing hole is somewhere I do hope to go back to. I want to hang the hammock, read a book, and just enjoy the day/view again! It made for an awesome reward to get at the end of the trek.

We also found a fantastic view at the top of large rock on the way back, that made the trip even sweeter (pictured below)! This trail was pretty easy, it’s mostly through the woods, pretty shady, and also pretty secluded (at least when we were there).

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denver daytrippin

Leaving Memphis was tough. It sucked, actually. Of all the folks I know there, I always got the feeling that Christopher and I seemed to enjoy and embrace the city more than most. We loved the vibe of downtown, trying out new restaurants and bars, and of course our beloved Grizzlies. So, why move? Well when we looked around West Tennessee, it’s not what we saw that made us move, it’s what we didn’t. …Mountains.

In college each of us spent time outside of Denver, and while the South will always be home, there was something incredibly captivating about the Rockies. It was the first place I had ever visited that I thought I could live outside of the Mason Dixon. What the bright lights of New York and Los Angeles do to some, the view of the mountains does to us. It makes everything seem possible, makes you feel free, and well, fuels your fire for adventure.

Yes, while the practical side of our move was of course for Christopher’s job, the heart of it was our love for the outdoors and a plethora of places to explore. So, as much as we can, we get out. Out and explore. Christopher thinks of us as weekend warriors, while I see us as seasoned daytrippers. Either way, here’s a preview of what we’ve have been up to in the months since moving here. Full, detailed posts coming soon.

Roxborough State Park
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Eldorado Canyon State Park
IMG_0331Golden Gate State Park
IMG_0425Garden of the Gods
2015-04-11 11.47.49Castlewood Canyon
2015-04-25 10.42.54-1Camp Hale in White River National Forest (outside Vail and Leadville)
2015-06-06 07.08.53-1Maxwell Falls at Arapahoe National Forest
2015-06-13 16.22.36Timberline Falls at Camp Dick in Roosevelt National Forest

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the witzs go wimbledon.

IMG_1913Getting There.
So, if you have known my family for about thirty seconds, you know that our life has revolved and evolved around tennis, since…well since forever, really. While I do hold the title of weakest link inside our family that still doesn’t discount my love the sport, not by a long shot. And even though I have now pretty much lost my ability to know the score of a match, while only half watching the game, tennis still ties for first place in Ashley’s ranking of favorite spectator sports. (Tied for by the NBA…obviously.)

I say all those sentences to say this one… It was no coincidence the Witzs found themselves in London the week of my favorite grand slam. And as luck would have it also during the men’s quarterfinals. This event itself was an experience all it’s own, completely separate from London, so keep on reading!

Although we had the option to buy tickets through the Wimbledon ticket lottery back in April, they were for the week prior to when we wanted to go. So, we gave them up and chanced getting them online 48 hours before our much anticipated Wimbledon Wednesday commenced. And… the site sold out before we could even click submit. That left one option, get up early Wednesday and queue.

British Language Lesson 101:
Word:  Queue
Noun and Verb. Means to stand in line and the line itself.
Noun Example:  The queue (line) starts here.
Verb Example:  We queued for three hours before we got in.

Now that I have boosted your international lingo knowledge, let’s continue on…

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We adventure guide, Linda! 

By early, I mean we left our North London flat at about 5:30A and took the underground the one hour ride to Wimbledon (which is also a suburb, and an incredible nice and expensive one at that). Nearing the end of our tube ride, God provided us with an amazing blessing, Linda. She overheard us discussing where to get off, and let us know we actually needed to get off one stop before. And from there we made a friend that neither Christopher nor I will ever forget. We  ended up asking if we could just follow her, as she had been coming to Wimbledon since ’94. From there this retired elementary teacher and die-hard Roger Fed fan (I didn’t hold it against her) stayed with us all morning as we queued. She not only let us know what to do and what to expect, but she answered tons of our questions about English culture and daily life in England. Turns out, we are all a lot alike!

Although we just know her as “Linda No Last Name,” we could tell you her life story and she could tell you ours. She was a gem and she definitely helped mold our Wimbledon adventure into a unforgettable one!

Let the Queueing Begin.
So, queueing is something that if you don’t mind waiting outside and just hanging out, you should do at least once. At Wimbledon if you don’t have tickets, you show up the day of and stand in a field across the street from the complex that is set up to look much like a (American) football field. There are white lines with numbers up and down the field and when you get to the entrance you get a queue card and take your spot in line. But since the doors don’t open till 9:30A and you get there at like 6:30A, it’s a bit of a wait. 🙂

So, to help with the wait they have coffee stands and food vendors onsite. They also sell newspaper for five pounds that includes either a canvas Wimbledon bag or an outside blanket to lay on. We randomly had a guy come up and give us his blanket, so Christopher, Linda, and I all hung out on our blanket, eating breakfast, drinking coffee, and talking about American v. English culture until it was time to go in. Time flew. We loved every minute of waiting. Weird, I know because I have never said that before.

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Resale Queueing

Friends Are Everywhere.
Once we got inside the complex, we only had grounds tickets, which doesn’t get you onto any “major” court. So, we went and got in the “Resale Line.” From here you can get Centre Court tickets for ten pounds and Court 1 tickets for five pounds, once an original ticket holder leaves. This line is really laid back, especially if you make friends, which you know we did. 🙂 We all took turns watching each other’s stuff so we could each walk around and watch random, mixed doubles matches, go grab some food, and catch the disappointing Murray defeat from the famous “Murray Mound” (or Henman Hill, depends on your era).

Sarah and Nathan were a couple we met, who were caught between him loving Fed, and her pulling for Djokovic. And I can’t forget Ismail and Yusuf. Our two 19-year old friends, with plans to come to Dallas next year to visit a friend who studied abroad at their secondary school. Once they reached Dallas they planned to do a road trip to Wilmington. I tried to explain how incredibly random that particular route was… but they didn’t care. They just want to come and see the States. Ismail was hilarious. He is obsessed with all things American, especially American football. And everything he knows about American football, comes from you guessed it, movies! Kid loves him some Jerry Maguire.

Needless to say, all these guys made our day so much fun! We hope Ismail and Yusuf will pit stop in Memphis next year on their way to Wilmington, if they do make their epic road trip happen… we will see!

Okay guys, I’m sorry, but I hate long blog posts and this one is already SO long. I included the sub-headings to make it easier to read and hopefully not seem so lengthy, but yeah I don’t really think it worked. So, hopefully you just skimmed around and enjoyed yourself! Needless to say this is going to be a two-parter. Up next… life inside Court 1.

Holiday in London

Well, as most of you know Christopher and I conquered the first item on my bucket list last week….London! And while I have no doubt that I could write you novels upon novels about the trip… where we went, what we ate, who we saw… for this first one, I will try and keep it pretty brief and beautiful.

IMG_1850Favorite Sights:
On our first day Christopher and I ended the day with a sunset loop around the London Eye. While some may tell you it’s not worth it and honestly it is quite a lot of money to make the one loop, thirty minute journey, around the wheel, we loved it. It might have been that we were lucky to go at sunset and actually see a sunset (if you don’t know, London is quite rainy), but the view was spectacular and a perfect way to kick off our eight day excursion!

Christophers’ Favs:
If Christopher were writing this post, I have no doubt that we would tell you his favorite spot was the Palace of Westminster also known as the Houses of Parliament. Since you cannot take photographs while inside, you won’t find any snapshots of us inside this gorgeous creation. However, I can tell you that neither one of us were expecting the grandeur and vastness that this iconic palace offers. Let me just say  that the English Parliament is definitely not going to work everyday in anything short of stately exquisiteness!

A very close second for Christopher was Windsor Castle. Windsor is stunning and massive. Literally I think the small town I am from is near the same size. TheIMG_1902 Grand Reception Hall and Knights of the Garter Hall are sites to behold and firmly illustrate the elaborate, detailed, and truly grand life you imagine the royals lead. Neither of us have ever seen anything quite like it, so it was a highlight, for sure! And just to note, the Queen’s main living quarters, don’t even make up half of the castle. Yikes!

IMG_1903Ashley’s Favs
While I was also awed by the beauty and massiveness of Windsor, I was also quite captivated by what Kensington Palace had to offer. While structurally and decor-wise, it doesn’t hold a candle to Windsor, I was in love with what it held. As you may have seen from my photos Kensington currently boasts a Royals Fashion Exhibit, showcasing iconic clothing of Queen Elizabeth, Princess Margaret, and Princess Diana. I was in heaven to say the least. I spent almost thirty minutes looking and re-looking at their most decade-defining gowns and dresses! Kensington also held rooms and rooms of Queen Victoria’s life, including her wedding dress, her children’s toys, and diaries detailing thoughts on meeting her would-be-husband, Albert. It was priceless!
Side note:  The current Queen Elizabeth is just a year and half away from beating Queen Victoria for the title of longest reigning English monarch!

My number two was The Borough Market. Yep, this one probably isn’t on any top ten things to do in London (I don’t know, it might be), but well, it should be. IMG_1974It’s a farmers market on steroids and I was both delighted and enchanted by it. Massive fish of every kind, cheese blocks bigger than your face, crates and crates of bright, fresh fruit, and….ice cream. Yes, ice cream. The best I have ever had. We went back twice to this little gem, Bath Soft Cheese. (But the second time we went we got strawberry, so I looked at it as a serving of fruit.) If in London, a trip to the Borough Market is a must in my book. Just taking in the experience is worth it and your stomach will think you are nothing short of a hero.

Up next Wimbledon. Yep, it gets it’s own post. So, until next time…Happy Holidaying!

But in the meantime…here’s a few other photos to share…
Please note two things…
One – It rains it London almost every day, so my raincoat was not the only shirt I brought, I promise.
Two – Our day at Windsor and Kensington started with me spilling my coffee all down my tank. So, please forgive my sad attempt to look put-together as we toured the wealthiest of establishments. It was two bus stops and tube ride back to my suitcase, so I had to wing it…

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On Tower Bridge.

 

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Inside/Atop Tower Bridge.

 

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Don’t worry HP fans…it’s still here! Millennium Bridge

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Kensington…Ladies thank Queen Victoria for the white wedding dress. She was the first to do it… and look what she started. Also, QV was only about 4’11 if you couldn’t tell. Hopefully she stashed some heels somewhere!

 

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Guard at Windsor Castle.

 

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Lunchin’ at the famous Anchor. There has been a pub in this spot since Chaucer’s era! It’s also the locale for the final scene in Mission Impossible!

 

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Christopher at Eton College. Lots of “if only” scenarios would have had to have happened for us to go here. Well, starting with me needing to be male. This is where Prince Will and Harry went, along with pretty much every other prime minister, except the Iron Lady (for obvious reasons).

 

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River Cruise on the Thames!

 

my trip of a lifetime.

HeathrowI know it’s been just over three months since my last blog post… but hey when you aren’t blog writing it means you are out living life… and I will ways pick the latter for both myself and you! But since it’s less than a week until the Witzs head across the pond, I thought it was time to check back in with the cyber world and give an update.

For starters, I probably have the shortest bucket list of anyone you have ever met… there are literally three items that make it up. Hot air balloon ride… book published…visit London! I’ve always kept it short because I really just want life to take me where it does… but these three things I really want to see happen, and in five days the biggest one of them all is going down! The English language simply doesn’t have a word for this level of excitement.

I can’t remember a time when I didn’t want to visit London. Ever since I realized that all of the folks with that amazing accent hailed from the same place, I have wanted to go. Their culture is fascinating to me… their clothes, their cars, their history, their regal air, their unique words for things that are just much more interesting than the terms we give them. Pram for stroller. Boot for trunk. Tube for subway. Loo for bathroom. You get the drift.

LondonOkay, and then add pop culture greats like Harry Potter, Downton Abby, writer Sophie Kinsella, Kate Winslet, Hugh Laurie, Elton John, and of course Kate Middleton…and well I just fell even more in love with the Brits.

So, now you understand the elated status I am at about now because for me this is my trip of a lifetime. And we plan to do just about everything you can think of….Tower of London, London Eye, a day in Windsor, Churchill War Rooms, Parliament, Buckingham changing of the guard, The Globe, Westminster Abbey, Tate Modern, you name it, we are probably doing it. And I can’t forget, a day at Wimbledon. This tennis-grown girl can’t visit London the first week of July and not experience her favorite Grand Slam venue. wimbledon_grounds

We found this great North London apartment to rent through airbnb.com. So, for eight days I plan on pretending this half motherland for me is really home! So, help us out! If you have been to Union Jack country and know of a great pub we should try, an off the beaten path sight that’s worth taking in, or anything else that you thought was cool, let me know! The World Cup is going to be going on while we are there and we are pretty pumped to find a exceptional good pub to take in a game.

Here’s to making dreams reality!

abq. to okc.

So our last two stops on the out West venture, were Albuquerque and Oklahoma City by way of Amarillo. Although starkly different from one another, both ABQ and OKC offered up a great experience for us. Take a look at our visit…

I don’t know how we got so lucky as to find the Hotel Parq Central, but should you ever be in ABQ you must stay there…especially in the fall, as it was cheaper to stay in this posh boutique hotel than a Hampton Inn. We loved every minute at the Parq Central and were sad we were only there for a night.

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The hotel wasn’t the only good pick we made while in the Land of Enchantment. Both our coffee shop picks and pizza dinner were nothing short of awesome. If you ever find yourself in this city, definitely try them both out! Pizza and gelato from Farina Pizzeria and Wine Bar.

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On the way to OKC, we stopped off  in Amarillo for lunch at The Big Texan. Fun place! Food portions are huge and there’s free entertainment…including both a table-side guitar player and all the people watching you can do.

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playing games inside The Big Texan…

Then to the Sooner State we were…

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I am thinking it won’t take you much thought to guess whose idea this was…

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patio night, enjoying Bricktown in downtown OKC.

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one of the most beautiful and unique memorials we have ever been to.

Right after this picture, we got back in the car and drove back home to Memphis… and now almost a week later, I am so thankful for the ridiculous number of photos we took because even this close out, its already fun to look back and re-live!

Here’s one of my favorite photos from the trip…I’ll end things here!

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sunset at the Grand Canyon

one gorgeous hole.

Inside the Canyon

I don’t think there are really words that quite capture the essence of the Grand Canyon… Gorgeous? Yes. Massive? Yes. Breathtaking? Yes. But when you are standing there before it, those words seem so inadequate to the awe-inspiring, amazingness that stretches as far as your eye can see. I know Christopher and I are definitely not the first folks to stand before this beautiful hole and come up short for words…. However, we were probably a little more appreciative than most, simply because we almost didn’t get to see it.

This is what you never see in the postcards….

Canyon in the Fog

You can barely see them, but this is what the views looked like when we first arrived. Uh Oh!

But lucky for us, the clouds and fog did move out, so we could have the full experience of the canyon. Well, almost. Due to the high percentage of rain, we didn’t get to hike into the canyon, which we both were looking forward to. But, that’s life, and we still enjoyed a fun day checking out this national park.

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thought this turned out really cool.

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just happy the clouds and fog moved out…

Canyon at Sunset

canyon at sunset.

Backtracking a bit….but here are some photos to catch you up on journey to the Grand Canyon.

Camp

one of our camp sites along the way…

Oscars

brunch break in Durango on Tuesday.

Durango Joes

got to try out local coffee places.

Mesa Verde

Mesa Verde National Park

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Checking out ancient Pueblo cliff dwellings at Mesa Verde.

Arizona Rock

entering Arizona…

Arizona

We had never seen clouds like this!

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Arizona makes for a pretty drive.

Arizona Sunset

Arizona sunset.

We just arrived Albuquerque as of an hour ago… so here’s to a new adventure!

rocky mountain high.

So, Monday afternoon and most of Tuesday were spent weaving through The Rockies. And it’s incredible really, all the different faces The Rockies truly have. If you head out this way, thinking you will be seeing the same thing over and over again… you would hopefully be happily mistaken. Its almost like getting to experience several different seasons all within one day, while you meander through these mountains.

Some peaks are large grassy expanses, while others boast tall narrow pine and aspen trees right on top of each other, large bare rock formations also make appearances, as do lose rock and clay. And its not just the views that change, but also the drive itself. For awhile you are on switchbacks, that then may open up to reveal a large grass-filled valley, only then to take you rolling over hills. There is definitely no boring sight to be seen… its all so different from the next, but also just as thrilling! Here are a couple of views out of our window these past two days….

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Window View 2

Wish I could post more, but the Wi-Fi here is super slow. We are entered Arizona yesterday evening, so we are off to check out more of the Grand Canyon. Until next time…

On a separate note…

It doesn’t matter whether you are in the middle of the Grand Canyon, in Memphis at work, or enjoying some sunshine on the beach, today will forever be a day we remember all those we lost 12 years ago… So here is to all the families, friends and co-workers who lost those they loved on 9/11/2001, and all those who risked their lives to save others! Proud to be an American!

to colorado, with love.

Cont. Divide 2

This state has my heart. It’s just that simple. While there is no doubt that I love Memphis, Colorado is my soulmate….I think Christopher would tell you the same thing. The mountains have this way of making me feel both limitless and calm and I never get tired of just staring at them. They are definitely not a view I see outside my apartment window at home, so I want to engrain their beauty in my head as much as I can.

Yesterday was spent in Boulder. And given the chance the witzs would probably jump at the opportunity to set up shop there…. so much to do outside and so much to see! Bikes everywhere! Trails everywhere! Basically fun everywhere! We didn’t waste a minute, so here’s the low down…

Pearl Street

Just a Sunday on Pearl Street.

Bubble Maker

One of the many street performers on Pearl.

Panarama Point

Panorama Point.

Mountain Sun

Lunch at the Mountain Sun. Some pretty tasty burgers…

Zolo Food

Yummy Zolo Sangria

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A little taste of Boulder.

Unfortunately, the hot air balloon could not happen this morning. I got the 4:30a call that weather wasn’t looking good (although it ended up being a super sunny day) and they had to cancel. 😦 I was super bummed, needless to say, But not all is lost though, we will have another chance in New Mexico on Friday, so fingers crossed. Plus, when you go to sleep at 9:30p for scheduled hot air balloon, whether its cancelled or not, your body is sick of sleeping by six…at least ours was. So….this is what we did. Pretty nice plan B huh?

Sunrise

Sunrise from Panorama Point.

As I type this post we are in Leadville, CO eating at an awesome pizza place. And only in Colorado can you find a place that has a slack line and disc golf baskets for you to play with… But here is what we have been doing since the sun rise!

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Enjoying our Bed and Breakfast.

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Super quaint B & B.

Celestial Seasonings

Tea Time!

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It doesn’t get any better than this!

Now, off to camp. Till tomorrow….