Wow. What a fun, whirlwind weekend! And as the title says, it was extended so be prepared for some extensive reading and photo viewing.

To start off, on Saturday we met up again with Brad and Sarah – we girls grabbed some breakfast while the boys went to the Men’s Fraternity Bible study at church. Sarah and I went to a great little restaurant called The Golden Skillet and even though I didn’t have much of an appetite due to a severe cold that came on overnight (but gradually got better over the long weekend), we had a great time chatting over a good meal. The guys also had some good conversation at the study, but apparently it’s sort of an exclusive Males Only club where they don’t need to feel obligated to share what they discussed with their women. Oh well. They can have their secrets as long as their discussions are biblically sound. Then we all met up to go out for lunch in Morrison at The Morrison Inn, a great Mexican dive. After some yummy fajitas and margaritas, we shopped around a bit and discovered a unique little antique shop complete with swords and a lasso – awesome. And of course I went to my favorite store in Morrison, Sundance Sensations, and picked up yet another scarf. I couldn’t resist – they literally call my name, I swear. Yet another obsession I’ll have to deal with someday (procrastination is another…).

Then it was time to pick up my dad from the airport! We made the decision on the way back to our place that we’d spend the night in Golden and take Sunday to tour around the area in order for my dad to get adjusted to the elevation and oxygen level before we headed up to ski. So after a quick dinner, we started our Golden tour by heading up Lookout Mountain for some great night views of our city and the cities beyond – all the way to Denver. It was dark out, but because of the exposure time we got a nice dusk effect for these photos.

The city lights of Golden.

The city lights of Golden merging with the lights of Denver.

The fearsome foursome.

The fearsome foursome.

After our little night jaunt, we relaxed and introduced my dad to a couple episodes of one of our favorite shows, Pawn Stars, before calling it a night.

Sunday morning we headed for Red Rocks church – I was excited to finally show off our church to someone from out of town. My dad was impressed with both the location and the message – hooray! And for your viewing pleasure, here are finally some shots of Heritage Square theme park where our building resides.

Walking to church through the park.

Walking to church through the park (you can't see the building in this shot).

Hey, you just can't pass these things up.

Hey, you just can't pass these things up.

Since we were doing a local scenic tour in the afternoon, we picked up Sadie and made a return trip up Lookout Mountain for some daytime viewing where we saw some crazy long-boarders racing down the mountain and of course several paragliders and hang gliders, floating through the bright blue sky. To continue our loop, we swung through Evergreen so I could show both Ryan and my dad the drive I take to TallGrass – it’s a gorgeous ride. Not to mention we got to pass by Buffalo Herd Overlook on the way – bonus! Then we continued our circle by visiting Red Rocks Amphitheatre where we got to listen to a free hippy jam concert while watching a hoard of people running up and down the stairs for their Sunday exercise. We took a short little hike farther up the road for a photo op and then we closed the loop by stopping for a bite to eat downtown Golden at a tiny sandwich shop called, The Alley, before heading up to Tabernash. The following is a visual tour of this local loop, and contains what we consider several “must-sees” when visiting us here.

Our driving tour through Golden, Evergreen and Morrison.

Our driving tour through Golden, Evergreen and Morrison.

We passed some crazy long boarders racing down the mountain.

One of the crazy long boarders going literally at breakneck speed and a paraglider in the background.

Sadie enjoying the view from the sunroof.

Sadie enjoying the view from the sunroof.

Big old bison.

Big old bison.

Coming around the bend just up the road from the spa. Ahh.

Coming around the bend just up the road from the spa. Ahh.

Going up the stairs to Red Rocks.

Going up the ramp to Red Rocks.

The grandeous amphitheater.

The grandeous amphitheater.

Pretty view farther up the road.

Pretty view farther up the road.

Such a wide variety of landscapes here in Colorado.

Such a wide variety of landscapes here in Colorado.

I love these spikey plants.

I love these spikey plants.

The Alley, one of the many unique dining establishments in our town.

The Alley, one of the many unique dining establishments in our town.

So after a full day of local excursions, we left for ski town. Upon our arrival, we picked up some rental skis for my dad and me, as well as some pizza for dinner. After a night of relaxation, travel conversation and a movie, we awoke the next morning for a full day of skiing. Since Jared had injured his neck earlier in the week due to a seemingly minor accident on the slopes after a 16 inch snowfall, he wasn’t around to guide us on our first run. That was a mistake. I thought I knew where I was leading my poor, unsuspecting father but little did I know that the green run leading to a much steeper, more icy blue run was most definitely NOT the one I’d remembered leisurely skiing down on our previous trip. So needless to say, I led my dad into a hornet’s nest – he had to face a steep decline, ice and moguls on his first run of the day. Oops, sorry Dad! But he was a trooper and despite only having skied in the mountains one other time before, he did great and conquered the run better than I would have. Phew. Thought I almost ruined the whole day for him!

So once we made it down the run (alive), we got a call from Jared who had decided to join us after all and was waiting for us at the top. Hallelujah. With his expertise, he was able guide us down some gentler, smoother runs and we enjoyed a great day of quality skiing without injury. And I have to add here that my rental skis made a world of difference – I was able to ski way better than with my old clunkers. But because it was snowy and overcast, we didn’t get very many good photos of the scenery, however, you can at least see some photo evidence of our escapades.

The first run is always exciting.

The first run is always exciting.

Going up to the top!

Going up to the top!

Ski break photo op.

Ski break photo op.

My dad got too confident with his jumps and tricks.

My dad got too confident with his jumps and tricks.

When we got home that evening, we opted to relax after a long day of working our muscles. But the next day, my dad was ready for some more exploring. So while I got a bit of work out of the way in the morning, he explored downtown Golden on foot. Then we took a hike on North Table Mountain for some more great views of the area.

Heading up and a view of the trail we took back down.

Heading up and a view of the trail we took back down.

At the top checking out the view.

At the top checking out the view.

My new sunglasses. And a pretty backdrop of course.

My new sunglasses with UV protection. And a pretty backdrop of course.

Great views of the Front Range.

Great views of the Front Range.

Heading back down.

Heading back down.

To end our outdoor adventures before teaching my after school pottery class, I took my dad on a quick tour to the other side of the mountain to check out the rock climbers and another view of the gigantic Coors factory, as well as a brief drive to the Colorado Railroad museum. Once I got back and Ryan got done with work, we left for Woody’s Wood-Fired Pizza to partake in a fantastic meal complete with a fresh-baked jumbo cookie and ice cream confection. Delicious! The perfect end to a great long weekend.

So if you haven’t gotten enough of Golden and the surrounding areas, you’re definitely not going to be let down as the seasons change. I know this summer will be full of weekend excursions and scenic photos. And I haven’t even covered the fun places and things to do in the Denver metro area – way more to come. But  please, if you’re thinking about taking a CO trip to see it for yourself, let us know! We love taking people around and showing off the city that has become our new home.

Love,
Laura