Four 14ers in One Day

DeCaLiBro_10

After Greg and I got married, we thought it would be a really cool tradition to summit a 14er each year on our anniversary. We started out strong and actually conquered two on our first anniversary. I remember the hike to Gray’s and Torrey’s being tough, but we also lived at sea level at the time and had just flown out the day before (I would like to do that hike again and see if it feels any easier, now that we’ve lived at 5300′ for a few years). On our second wedding anniversary, we did my favorite 14er to date, Mt. Bierstadt. That hike seemed much easier (and “easy” is a relative term, because any 14er is challenging) and I absolutely loved it. We also conquered Quandary Peak before the end of the season that year.

For the next two years, our plans got kind of screwed up. I had ACL surgery in late May of 2014, so I wasn’t quite ready for such a big hike by July. We drove up to Mt. Evans instead, so we could technically still summit a 14er on July 17th. In 2015, I had some bad luck again and broke my pelvis right before the start of summer. I was still on crutches on our anniversary, so obviously hiking was out of the question. Luckily there was still another 14er (Pike’s Peak) that we could summit by car, so we did just that. I was in decent enough shape to climb Mt. Evans by the very end of the summer, which was fun (but parts were a little scary).

I still have some lasting injuries from the car wreck I was in last year (which will be fixed at a later date), but I was actually well enough to continue our anniversary tradition this year (and SO grateful for that!). Greg and I have wanted to hike the Democrat-Cameron-Lincoln-Bross loop for awhile now, since you can knock out all four on the same hike. We did some research beforehand and decided that this was our plan for our fifth anniversary (which was on July 17, 2016). We thought about camping overnight (and in retrospect, we should have), but decided to head out to Breckenridge the day before and stay at a hotel there (since it’s only about 45 minutes from the trailhead). We went out to dinner the night before and tried to go to bed early, but I was so anxious that I probably ended up getting around 3 hours of sleep total.

The alarm went off at 4:30 am and we quickly checked ourselves out of the hotel and headed to the Kite Lake trailhead. Once we got there, we had to park about a mile and a half away (due to some jackass telling us that there wasn’t any available parking near the trailhead), so we had a nice warm-up before actually starting the hike. The sun was just coming up, and it was beautiful!

DeCaLiBro_01

After waiting in a long bathroom line, we were finally off to start our big hike (around 7:30 am). We decided to do the traditional clockwise route and started with Mt. Democrat as our first summit. The trail started off pretty easy, which is a relative term because just breathing at 12,000′ is a bit challenging.

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ACL Reconstruction Surgery: Post-Op Week 10

kneesweek10

It’s a little hard for me to believe that ten weeks have gone by since I underwent ACL Reconstruction surgery! Thankfully, time has flown by pretty quickly, thanks to my intent to stay really busy. I’m definitely happy to wrap up July and see what new “abilities” August will bring. I haven’t seen my surgeon in a really long time and am excited about going in for my 11-week check-up next week. Hopefully he’ll be pleased with my progress and tell me I’m on the right track.

Just like I did for my last post, I’m doing a little breakdown of how things have been going during over the last few weeks:

Pain Level: I very rarely feel pain in my actual knee- more in the muscles surrounding it. Although the scar in my large incision is definitely starting to look better, I still feel some pressure and soreness there from time to time. My quads have been sore a few times (after a lot of activity) and I’ve pulled a muscle in my left hamstring twice (which sucks!). There’s definitely still quite a bit of stiffness around my knee in general, which is a constant reminder that I am still very much on the mend. I still can’t kneel on the ground because it causes great pain to my operative knee (and the large incision)- and can not wait until I’m able to. It’s amazing what I took for granted before this whole injury thing happened.

Here’s a close-up of my knees yesterday:

kneesweek10

And to compare, here’s a shot from week 6:

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ACL Reconstruction Surgery: Post-Op Weeks 5&6

postop6wk1

Hello! Summer is definitely in full swing here and the last few days have been hot. Luckily, the humidity is still relatively low so it’s not unbearable (and it’s cooled down a lot today!). Isn’t talking about the weather fun?

Time for another knee update! Today marks six weeks since ACL Reconstruction surgery. I remember just wanting so bad to get to this point, because I heard that you really start to feel “normal” again around six weeks. I don’t know if I necessary feel normal right now, but I definitely feel better (physically) than I have since the day of surgery. Here’s a little breakdown of how things have been going during weeks 5 & 6 post-surgery.

Pain Level: My pain level over the last two weeks has been pretty minimal. I still have some swelling around and behind my knee, which makes everything feel pretty stiff. I have some soreness around the large incision, but the pain level is very minimal. I went for my 5-week check-up last Tuesday, and the doctor was very pleased with my progress. He did the “ACL test” on my leg (to make sure the ACL was really in there!) and it kind of freaked me out. That night, I randomly had shooting pains in my hamstring on my operative leg, which really sucked. The pain lasted midway through the next day, and suddenly went away in the afternoon. Since then, I’ve had a bit more swelling around my knee (but no more pain in my hamstring).

Here’s a close-up of my knees yesterday:

postop6wk1

And just to compare, here’s a photo from two weeks ago:

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Snow Culture

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Out of the four seasons, winter has always been my least favorite. Summer is my top choice, fall and spring and tied and winter comes in dead last. I am not a fan of being cold and in my adult life, I have definitely not been a fan of snow. When I was living in Maryland, winter weather would shut the whole city down and snow was nothing but a nuisance. True- it was nice to have the occasional snow day when I was a teacher, but snow wasn’t something that was usually celebrated.

Though I took many trips to Colorado prior to living here, I hadn’t ever experienced a Colorado winter. I was really sad to see summer end and the warm weather start to turn colder- but the temperatures here feel incredibly different than they did on the east coast. Even on our coldest days (like -12˚ two weeks ago!), it hasn’t felt that cold. The super bright sunshine definitely helps! And just yesterday- it was in the mid 60s. One of the crazy things about this state is that it can be warm and sunny down here in the foothills and cold and snowing if you drive an hour out west. This was definitely the case this past weekend!

A few weeks ago, Greg and I decided to plan a weekend trip to Keystone Resort. This was after my second or third skiing lesson, after the point where I actually started to like it. I’ve heard so many great things about Keystone and almost every local I talk to touts it as their favorite- and Greg has it at the top of his list. We drove in last Thursday afternoon and rented a condo for three nights. It was definitely nice to be close to all of the action! I hadn’t ever skied anywhere except for Eldora, which is way smaller than Keystone. I was really excited to explore new terrain and take on some new challenges- and that’s exactly what we got on Thursday. Through the condo that we rented, I got a free pass for night skiing, so Greg and I checked it out.

I definitely gave myself a challenge here- skiing on a trail that I had never been on, in the dark, while it was snowing. It was pretty cool though- and there was definitely a great energy and excitement in the air.

night

The trail was illuminated, but it was still really hard to see. According to Greg, night skiing is much brighter on the east coast. I’d say that skiing at night is 10% scary and 90% fun- and definitely worth experiencing!

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WIAW 73: Saturday Fun

7and7

It’s hump daaaaaaay… and I’m currently trying to ski down a mountain without falling on my butt (though I can pretty much assure you that I did – at least twice). I know I already asked this yesterday- but please send me some happy, courageous thoughts!

On to the food… So far, I’ve been doing okay with tracking food (which is a must for me when trying to lose weight) and dividing up my macros accordingly. I’d give myself a B, maybe even a B+. I eat “clean” during the week and allow myself a “cheat” meal or two during the weekend. On the days that I know I’m going to have a more indulgent evening ahead, I still make sure to track my food intake for breakfast, lunch and snacks (otherwise the whole day will just be one big calorie fest!).

This past Saturday was marvelous. Greg and I slept in, watched some tv in the morning and eventually got downstairs to make breakfast. I had made a loaf of FlapJacked banana bread (my 5th or 6th loaf so far!) the night before and decided to slice of a few pieces to make French toast! I mixed up one egg, some Silk Pure Almond Vanilla and cinnamon and let the slices of banana bread soak before cooking it up in a pan. When it was ready, I drizzled a little salted caramel syrup on top…

banana bread FT

Yum- it was as good as it looks! :)

After breakfast, Greg and I immediately headed over to Boulder to do a little bit of snow hiking!

snowy hike

It had snowed earlier in the week and there was still a ton left of the trails. Hiking in the snow is so peaceful- I love it! I downed a bottle of water during our hike and was still thirsty- so I bought a bottle of my favorite Kevita for the ride home.

kevita

When we got back home, it was time for lunch! I mixed together some chicken, avocado, tomato and red onion and enjoyed it with some salad greens.

chicken avocado salad

I also had some plain Greek yogurt with (defrosted) frozen strawberries and peanuts (leftover from my day of peanut butter making last week!).

yogurt

Greg and I were pretty lazy for the afternoon- we pretty much sat on the couch and watched football. I whipped up some smoothies for us that contained vanilla protein powder, Silk Pure Almond Unsweetened Vanilla, frozen banana and rum extract- they tasted like eggnog!

smoothie

As you can see, my little shadow (Jackson) is pretty much always at my feet!

Greg and I had a fun night planned in Boulder with our friends Brock and Melissa- including dinner reservations at Jax late in the evening! Brock was my friend from back in Maryland and moved out here a few years ago (I was so jealous when he did- little did I know that I’d be next!). I hadn’t seen either of them since Melissa’s marathon and was excited to catch up- they’re always so much fun!

Brock and Melissa came over to our house and we all drove in to Boulder together. We got there about an hour before our reservation and grabbed a drink at Absinthe House (which I didn’t realize is more of a night club than a bar- we were the only ones there at 6:30!). In honor of my girl Tiffany, I ordered a Seven & Seven.

7and7

We headed over to Jax after finishing our drinks and got sat right away (even though we were early)! Greg and I had only been to Jax once – during our very first trip to Boulder in 2009. Hosea Rosenberg used to be the head chef there and he had just won Top Chef before our trip. Being the Top Chef geeks that we are, we had to book a table there! I remembered us loving our meal there, and can’t believe that we hadn’t been back since!

One thing that I remembered the most from that dinner in 2009 was this incredible cocktail: a Pimm’s Cup. I know that it’s a pretty common drink, but the one that I had there was just so good. So, I ordered it again!

pimms cup

I’m not a fan of the fact that it came in a wine glass, but the drink was fantastic!

Then came the tough part… choosing what to order! Jax is one of those places where I want every single thing on the menu and have trouble even narrowing it down to four different options…

jax menu

Brock took the lead and ordered two rounds of oysters for us to start- the first was an apple fennel oyster:

apple fennel oyster

The second was a buffalo fried oyster (think buffalo wings):

buffalo oyster

Oysters aren’t something that I’m all that familiar with- but these were really good! The apple fennel was my favorite. :)

For dinner, I decided on the Steelhead trout entree:

steelheadtrout

The flavor of Steelhead trout is similar to salmon- and definitely not something I would normally order (I almost always order rockfish if it’s on a menu, followed by another white fish or scallops). The lentils won me over- and the whole dish was delicious!

Instead of having dessert, I suggested we head over to one of my favorite local breweries (since Brock and Melissa hadn’t been).

upslope taproom

That little taster beer was mine- and it was full of Sticke Altbier.

tasting beer

YUM. Three drinks in one night is a lot for me- even if one of them was just a taster- and I felt it a bit the next morning!

It was a fantastic, fun Saturday- can I repeat it every single weekend?!

What’s your favorite way to spend a Saturday?

WIAW 71: Snow-Hiking, Sushi and Suprises!

bday

Happy Wednesday! If you’re looking for today’s giveaway- come back in a little while. I promise that another one will be posted today! In the meantime, feel free to check out the first two giveaways from the Season of Giving:

Monday’s Giveaway: Jamberry Nails

Tuesday’s Giveaway: KIND Healthy Snacks

For now, I’ve got a whole truckload of photos to share from last Saturday (which was pretty much a perfect day!). Keeping with the WIAW theme, you’ll also see what I ate throughout the day.

It was SO nice to sleep in and not really have anything on the agenda for the morning. Greg and I made breakfast and chatted about what we wanted to do that day.

flapjacked waffles

I had FlapJacked Apple Cinnamon waffles (with fresh cranberries!) with a little cottage cheese in the middle and some Coconut Secret syrup on top.

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A Marvelous [Long] Holiday Weekend

sanitasThanksgiving

Happy Monday, friends! Because today’s post is a melting pot of wonderful things I decided to join up on the lovely Katie’s Marvelous In My Monday link-up party. Be sure to head over there and check out the great things happening all over the place.

Rewinding to last Wednesday…

I was out of the house for work and play most of the morning and early afternoon enjoying this ridiculously perfect weather.

temperature

I participated in my second Dancewalk class late in the morning- I love it SO much! After that, I met up with Paige to check out this ridiculous (yes, I know I overuse that word) sale at the Whole Foods near Chautauqua:

sale sign

Dangerous!

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Colorado Floods: What It’s Like 8 Weeks Later

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Happy Tuesday y’all! Greg and I are flying to Maryland this afternoon to visit family & friends and to attend my youngest stepsister Casey’s wedding! I’m really excited to see everyone and am looking forward to the trip. I’ve got a few guest posts lined up from some of my favorite lady bloggers over the next week and I’ll probably be checking in from time to time to.

**

It’s been about eight weeks since the September floods hit Colorado and caused massive destruction to a number of communities. The residents of Colorado have really stepped up to volunteer to help with flood relief and so much has been done to rebuild what was damaged and destroyed. But, there’s still so far to go. I am extremely lucky that my house and community had very little flood damage but many others were not so lucky. The town of Lyons was one of the hardest areas hit- and a great percentage of the roads, parks, homes and other buildings were completely destroyed. It will be a very long process to rebuild and there’s no doubt that the community is forever changed. One piece of good news that happened recently was the reopening of US Highway 36 from Lyons into Estes Park this week. (It’s a major travel route into the National Park!)

I still see signs of flood damage every single day whether it’s the collapsed bridge still in pieces along the road that I take to drive into Boulder or the large dumpsters still sitting outside of people’s homes that have been used to collect the damaged remains of their homes- it’s all still very real. The massive destruction from the floods was further illustrated to me this past weekend during a hike in Boulder.

Green Mountain via Gregory Canyon is one of my favorite hiking trails in Boulder. It’s part of the Boulder Mountain Parks, connecting with the trails at Chautauqua. I know I don’t even need to tell you this, but the parks in Colorado are extremely near and dear to me.

bouldermtnparks

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A Few Friday Thoughts

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Whoa- it’s Friday! Hooray! It’s been a pretty exhausting week and I am ready for the weekend for sure. I look forward to sleeping in a bit and heading down to Denver on Sunday to cheer on my friends running the Rock ‘N Roll Marathon! It’s supposed to be mid-60s and super sunny tomorrow, so that’s definitely enough reason to smile.

Here’s a few things from the week and general stuff on my mind:

• Thanks for your thoughts on yesterday’s post. I hope it didn’t come off as bratty or whiny- I just needed to air some of that stuff out. Ironically, my class yesterday was a lot better than Tuesday’s cycle class. There were still a few people doing their own thing and one woman that texted on her phone the entire time (a different woman!) but some friendly faces stuck around after and chatted with me for a bit. I know it will get better, and just have to learn not to let it get to me.

• I had a wonderful hike at Mt. Sanitas yesterday afternoon with my friend Andrea and one of my other favorite buddies- Jackson!

andrea

Andrea and I met at the Upslope/Blackbelly Catering beer pairing dinner in July (we were seated next to her and her boyfriend) and I joke that she was my first “real” friend I made since I moved out here. I am very lucky to have a large group of wonderful friends in Colorado- and I met most of them through blogging! Andrea loves to hike and bike, which is a definite friend perk for me! I’ve hiked at Mt. Sanitas a ton of times, but haven’t ever brought either of the dogs. I actually don’t take them hiking a lot out here because most of the trails are pretty steep and rocky and require a bit of balance and climbing. Jackson and Lance don’t do well with “scrambling” so I opt to leave them at home. But, yesterday I felt like giving Sanitas a shot with Jackson. He did really well! He got a little scared in a few spots (mostly because he tried to run right up a big rock and slipped right down) and I had to lift him up twice- but he made it!

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GABF & Fresh Air

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Greetings, friends. I hope your week is off to a great start and that you’re coming off of a fantastic weekend. I’m going to keep it short and sweet and sweet today because I am utterly exhausted from this weekend’s events. Most of it’s due to this:

bar pairing

KIND bars pair beautifully with beer!

I worked at The Great American Beer Festival (GABF) during the Friday and Saturday sessions (which means I was there for about 17 hours over the two days). While it was definitely fun and there was some great people watching, my feet were definitely throbbing from standing up for so long. I’m pretty sure I handed out about a million KIND bars (and met a lot of interesting people!) over the two days- and I think we gained a lot of new fans!

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