The first time I went to Colorado was nine years ago when my then-boyfriend (now hubby) surprised me with an airline ticket to accompany him on his annual ski trip. Because I do not ski, I would have never guessed then that Colorado would become a regular travel destination for me. With friends living just outside of Denver, and family now living in Colorado Springs, Colorado is definitely a state I have come to love and anticipate traveling to every year.
Last weekend marked my second excursion to Colorado this year. Although there was rain, thunderstorms, and hail predicted for the majority of our time there, God blessed us with beautiful weather, making for a good time spent with family in the great outdoors.
Here are a few gems from our trip …
Although we arrived in Denver on Thursday evening, our trip really began on Friday morning. We assisted my brother with moving from his place in Aurora to his new place in Colorado Springs. It was my first time driving a U-Haul truck, and I give myself a pat on the back for making it through Denver traffic and not going over any curbs (or hitting anything in general) – ha!
Later on Friday afternoon, we were reunited with my nephew, Jace Ryan, and had him with us the rest of the weekend. I absolutely ADORE being an aunt. This little guy has my heart in every way! He is now three and very chatty, full of energy, and totally hilarious with his shenanigans. I loved cuddling with him in the mornings, and I so appreciated how he had us cracking up many times throughout our stay.
On Saturday we did some running around in the morning before heading over to Peterson AFB for the last of our errands. This allowed my brother to give us a quick tour and we had an opportunity to walk around for a bit. This was the second time I’ve ever been on a military base and as we were exploring, I felt an amazing sense of pride for my brother who is serving our country and awe for this great nation in general. Such fitting feelings given it was Memorial Day weekend. I’m so grateful for the sacrifice our service men and women make to protect and maintain our freedom.
Later on Saturday afternoon, my brother and I headed over to my FAVORITE place in the Springs – The Garden of the Gods. This place never gets old for me. The beauty of the bright red rocks against the piercing blue sky is incredible, and the park offers fantastic views of Pikes Peak. Another perk: it’s totally FREE! So if you’re ever in the Springs, you must surely plan to visit.
Saturday night we had dinner at the fabulous Ritz Grill in Downtown Colorado Springs. I was pretty hungry after our walk through the Garden, so I indulged in Steak ‘N Frites … Oh.my.goodness. Soooooooo good!
Probably my most favorite part of this trip, aside from being reunited with family, was the hike my brother and I did up the Manitou Incline on Sunday morning. Every time I’m in the Springs, this is something that gets mentioned we should do, but then never end up doing. Not this time. I was feeling pretty good when I woke up, so I nudged my brother awake with a “Let’s do this.” And we did it – a 2,000 foot vertical trail covering less than one mile followed by a 3 mile hike (or run in our case) down the hill. It was AWESOME! Getting to the summit felt cathartic in a way – like all the pain and difficulty of climbing was synonymous for everything I’ve been working on and dealing with this past year followed by the victory that comes with accomplishing the tough stuff and making things happen. It was also a good reminder to me of what I really need in this summer season and that is rest. Looking out over the beautiful landscape below me made me realize how small I am and some of the challenges I’ve been going through really are in comparison to God and His plan for me and this whole wide world. It put things in perspective and my mind at ease. I am so grateful for this experience – and even more grateful for having done this with my bro!
The rest of Sunday was spent by the pool, relaxing from our exercise and soaking up the bright western sunshine. I actually got my first (albeit not too bad) sunburn of the year – LOL! It was nice to just sit back and relax as the winding down of our trip began.
We ate our last meal at Hacienda, my new favorite Mexican restaurant in Colorado. I stuck with the delicious frozen strawberry margarita, but ordered the chicken enchiladas this time, and as predicted, they were amazing! This meal definitely satisfied after our hike and time at the pool!
Monday morning we woke up and spent time together before heading to the airport. It was nice to have some snuggle time and breakfast with Jace before leaving. We also had a perfect view of Pikes Peak as we made the drive north to Denver.
Saying “goodbye” is never easy. It’s still strange to me sometimes that my brother lives so far away after all those years of growing up together. I definitely miss him, and my nephew, a great deal. What gives me comfort though is knowing that it won’t be long before I return back to this beautiful land and continue making more great memories there.
In the meantime, I say “thank you” to Colorado for two wonderful adventures this year and give my love to the people and places there who have added so much goodness and joy to my life over the past decade! I look forward to future adventures and eagerly anticipate more great times to be had there in the future!
Until we meet again …