Even though I’ve been meaning to update you all with my work situation since I feel like there is a lot going on, first things first – our week with Leah and Jared! Basically I was the third wheel on their vacation…which still seems weird to me that they spent their vacation here…with us. But obviously, it’s a vacation state so it only makes sense. Mostly they came for me, though (haha).

So essentially this was my vacation, too. And to think we have two more yet this summer…nice. Anyway, since I tend to get very wordy and this spanned a week’s time rather than just a weekend, I’ll simply write a brief summary and include a few of my favorite photos of each day. So hang on tight…here goes:

Day 1 – Monday (6.21)

  • After cramming in a bunch of work in the morning along with some last minute cleaning, Leah and Jared arrived in the early afternoon. What should have been an excitedly warm reception with loud shrieking, was actually just a, “hello and welcome! now let’s play” because it seems so natural that they were here. Some friends are just like that…it never seems like we’re far apart even though thousands of miles span between us now.
  • Off we went to do the Coors tour and walk along Clear Creek with a stop in the pioneer village.
  • Grocery shopping and dinner ensued as well as a quick trip up Lookout Mountain for a visual dessert; a movie to end the night.

Reunited once again...finally!!

Day 2 – Tuesday (6.22)

  • While I went on an interview at Free Horizon Montessori (where I used to teach ceramics) for an After Care teaching position, Leah and Jared wandered around downtown Golden.
  • After a good meeting, I met up with them and we left for Heritage Square for my first ride down the alpine slide! It was fun, but not very fast which was a little disappointing for the speed racer in me.
  • Then we went on the Mount Falcon hike leading to castle ruins that we’d done with Meghan and Greg a few weeks ago. A great but HOT hike. Phew!
  • I took them on the Lariat Loop through Morrison and Evergreen, stopping by the cliff diving spot where literally 15 hoodlums were jumping off the cliffs again. We were tempted to change into our suits to join in the fun but thankfully, had our common sense and resisted. And for good reason – a DNR/cop showed up to yell at them for trespassing, swimming and rock climbing. All of which are strictly prohibited. Crazy kids.
  • After all that excitement and “heat”  (haha get it? heat as in cops and temperature? i’m hilarious!), we desperately sought out ice cream. With no luck in other towns, we headed to the Golden Sweets Shop for some amazing Boulder-made ice cream. Totally hit the spot.
  • Then we all went to the Morrison Inn for some yummy Mexican food – I’m not even a huge fan of that particular fare (unless it’s Chipotle!), but this place is delish with jumbo portions.

Going up!

Gorgeous. Oh, and there are some mountains there, too.

Day 3 – Wednesday (6.23)

  • After a last minute decision, I went with the pair to Colorado Springs for some touristy fun – Garden of the Gods and Pikes Peak. Though I had a lot of work to get done that would now make me work late into the evening upon my return, it was obviously the best decision.
  • Garden of the Gods – um, amazing. Pikes Peak – breathtaking. Enough said.
  • After drinking in the beauty and natural wonders, I left for home while the two Michiganders left to camp out in Buena Vista before their crazy day of white water rafting the next day. They took basically the same trip back home that we had done last weekend – through Leadville and a stop in Breckenridge.

Just sitting on some giant rocks practically in people's backyards. No big deal or anything.


You all know how much I love mountain lakes.

It's me! On top of a 14,110 foot mountain!

We are definitely a sight to behold.

Had to take this for proof.

A looong way down.

I'm a little close to the edge.

Day 4 – Thursday (6.24)

  • Work day! I guess I can tell you here what I’ve been up to but no…that will be another post. I don’t want to ruin the purity of this vacation post with work talk.
  • When Leah and Jared got home in the early evening, they were beat so we just ate dinner and watched a few episodes of Pawn Stars (which they love, too!) before calling it a night.
  • Sorry, no photos. They would be super boring. Maybe a shot of a keyboard…or me sitting in my pajamas until 2pm.

Day 5 – Friday (6.25)

  • The fearsome threesome packed some delicious deli sandwiches (sourdough…yuumm) and left for Boulder to walk around town and then stop for an in-the-car picnic at a somewhat scenic pullout on the way back home.
  • And how could we resist a dip in the pool after another hot day? Soo refreshing and relaxing. And it gave me time to read!
  • That night, we went out for pizza at Beau Jo’s in Idaho Springs. We also stopped in the Tommy Knocker Brewery & Pub for a quick tour of the kettles and purchased the variety pack for our late night enjoyment. And I couldn’t resist getting one tiny little chocolate confection from a sweets shop – at $20/lb (astronomical!) that’s all I could afford, but it was enough to satisfy my sweet tooth.
  • We played games until late into the night with only a few minor injuries from Spoons. Not my favorite game for that reason, but I fortunately went to bed unscathed. Ryan was not so lucky.

Downtown beauties.

You so pretty, like model.

Day 6 – Saturday (6.26)

  • Rocky Mountain National Park! We took Peak-to-Peak scenic byway like we did upon our arrival to Colorado way back in November, stopping for some amazing shots along the way.
  • Before arriving at the park, we ate at a “world famous” burger joint in Estes Park – Penelope’s. And it’s no wonder they’re famous…we gorged ourselves on the largest, sloppiest and most delicious sandwiches and burgers. They kept us hunger-free all day, which is saying a lot since we hiked the rest of the day.
  • Then we entered Rocky Mountain National Park. In two words: go there. Two more? It’s beautiful.
  • We parked at Bear Lake parking lot, did some rock scrambling for panoramic views then continued our hike to Bear Lake and three other lakes – Nymph Lake, Emerald Lake and Dream Lake. And Dream Lake was just that. See photos below.
  • Then we traipsed over to Alberta Falls before heading back. And on our way out of the park, we got to see some elk grazing along the creek. Big horn sheep would have completed our trip, but maybe next time.
  • And even though photos cannot ever adequately display the majestic beauty and size of the mountains, we still got some great shots. Go to my Signify blog to view more in black and white.

Leah tried to stand on the rock and on her way down she nearly fell, taking me down with her.

It's beautiful, right? You don't need to answer that.

Talk about purple mountain majesty. The colors were really vibrant because of the overcast, rainy day.

View on the drive around the park.

A lovely pair.

When I said we scrambled up some rocks, I meant it.

Our hiking path.

Checking out the views at Emerald Lake.

I can see why it's called Emerald.

Dream Lake with some dreamy guys.

And that was my pseudo vacation with Leah and Jared. I missed them the second they left. But we’ll be back in the Midwest at the end of the summer!

Well, the countdown begins for when my family arrives. I might try to squeeze in one more post before their arrival just so I get it out of the way before another onslaught of touristy fun and photos.

Loving life,