Can we talk about how much fun I had two weekends ago?! From camping with the hubby to hanging with Erika, we covered a lot of ground in a few short days!

First, Keegan surprised me with a spot in Rocky Mountain National Park’s Moraine Campground. We camped on the edge of the meadow; a large herd of elk lingered nearby in the meadow.

We set up our site and drove to the Bear Lake trailhead to see how much snow was left. No wonder the park ranger told me a few days before not to bring snow-shoes. I worried Erika and I might not be able to hike Dream Lake, but no! The trail was almost completely dry due to the lack of snow this year. There was hardly any mud whatsoever. When Tika and I hiked this same spot a few years ago, the trail was slushy and muddy and messy. Nowadays it’s not an issue, leaving me with mixed emotions.

Afterwards we hiked to Alberta Falls. It was short and easy, a prelude to our adventure in the morning.

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Once Keegan and I returned to our site, we got dinner going and mixed some drinks. I jokingly remarked, “This grill with it’s smoke signals is a call to all the critters!!”. The aroma of burgers, potatoes and corn surely lured them in. I’m just glad the elk didn’t come too close; I would never feed the wildlife, nor would I purposefully attract them to our site and put ourselves in danger.

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It’s not a camping trip without some white Russians, and they turned out pretty well. We chilled around the fire and placed our supplies in the food storage locker before we went to bed.

I was honestly ready for sleep by 10:30. I worked last Thursday, and even though I absolutely love camping, I couldn’t wait to our new queen-size bed and propane-fueled space heater. The 4 inch folding memory foam mattress can be arranged into a couch, or you can just fold the top section to use as a pillow. I’m so impressed with how comfortable the bed is; this marked the best night of sleep I’ve ever gotten in a tent!

We were long overdue for new camping supplies. Between the tent, the mattress and the heater, I’m SO excited to camp this summer!! This tent is definitely more spacious than anything we’ve ever owned.

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Keegan made sure I could stand in the tent and raise my arms without reaching the top!! Such an awesome surprise.

 

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Friday morning, we packed up our site after breakfast and hiked Bierdstadt, a lake we’ve always wanted to do but put off. Bierdstadt reminded us that there’s so many more hikes to see out here. At 4 miles total, I was winded by the end but feeling accomplished. We haven’t hiked at 10,000 feet in awhile, so that was cool.

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We grabbed drinks at The Slab: Outdoor Pub before we headed home. Keegan and I took it easy Friday evening before Erika arrived the following day.

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Hits the spot

Once Erika landed in Denver Saturday morning, we headed towards The Delectable Egg. The weather was perfect for lunch on the patio. I’ll definitely keep this place in mind, especially now that I’m working in Aurora!

Next, we drove to Red Rocks for some hiking. I was surprised by how many people were there, but then again, it’s Memorial Day Weekend. Luckily we snagged a spot right next to the trailhead. We spotted several Red-Billed Blue Magpies, some of them diving low to the ground right beside us, scrounging for granola crumbs and nuts on the trail.

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After hiking a mile in the hot, direct sun, it was time for some drinks at Mile High Distillery. They changed up their seasonal menu; I can’t remember what I ordered, but it was pink, fizzy and refreshing.

Erika and I had more time to kill than I anticipated, but that’s not a bad thing. I aimed to make this the least rushed staycation I’ve had in awhile, so we sipped our drinks outside in the courtyard before heading to the Ginn Mill, my favorite dive in Denver. Well drinks for $3? Don’t mind if I do!!

We wrapped up our jaunt in Longmont with sunset paddleboarding. This marked my first trip to Union Resevoir. I told Keegan we have to go back this summer. Usually it’s $25 to rent a board for an hour, but with Rocky Mountain Paddleboard, they only charge $20, and the view of the Rockies is spectacular. The dudes were down to Earth, and the boards were solid. All around, 5/5 experience.

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Once we got home, we fed and walked Buddy before food and drinks at Rio. By the end of the day, I was dead. I can’t remember if I’ve ever hiked and paddleboarded in the same day, but it was gratifying nonetheless.

Sunday was all about the Rockies. We grabbed Human Bean on the way to Estes Park and took the shuttle from the park and ride to the Bear Lake trailhead. I was so proud of my friend Erika. I knew she could handle the hike, but this elevation will wear you out! We don’t have too many friends that can handle the hike to Dream Lake, so I was grateful to share this experience with her. The views are something you have to see to believe. I love feeling small in the middle of nowhere.

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We took the shuttle back to my car and drove up Trail Ridge Road (TRR). Erika and I got to see not one but two moose and mule deer, elk and pikas. We didn’t make it to the gift shop on time, but those breathtaking views at the Alpine Visitor Center were amazing nonetheless. So grateful that TRR was open to begin with. This time of year, you just never know when the highest road in the park will be accessible.

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And last but not least, The Tiki Bar was open! Keegan and I noticed the establishment a few days prior, but they didn’t open till 4:30. This cute, tropical dive bar on the river is drenched with Hawaiian decor. If that’s not your thing, you can drink outside along the river, taking in the crisp mountain air. I ordered a frozen rum beverage with an Elk hotdog. The sausage was dressed in melted cheddar cheese filled with jalapenos and more cheddar. Seriously one of the best hot dogs I’ve ever had, and I’m normally not a fan.

By the time we got back to Greeley, we were tired from the elevation. Erika’s vacation passed by so quickly and yet, I never felt rushed or stressed. With each and every trip a friend or family member takes out here, I realize that less is more, and sometimes it’s perfectly fine to just chill. So that’s what we did. We hung out on the back deck for awhile, reflected on the weekend and went to bed.

I had a super fun weekend with Keegan and Erika! That’s all I have for now, but in the meantime, here’s this:

How tf have I never heard of this team or this boat before?! So cool–I am truly amazed!!!