In early October, I was lucky enough spend a few days in Colorado visiting my amazing friend Lauren and her boyfriend, John. I flew into Denver, and took the Colorado Mountain Express to Vail. When I pulled into the transit center, this was my first view of the city. The trees were bursting in oranges and yellows and the sky was such a bright blue. Since it's the off-season, there was hardly anyone in town. It was so picturesque and quiet. It felt like I was in a fake town on a movie set.
I checked into The Sebastian, which I highly recommend. The beds are ridiculously comfortable. Lauren and I joked we felt like we were sleeping on clouds. There's a lovely pool and multiple hot tubs. The staff were friendly and helpful, and the location was perfect for getting around town. While waiting for Lauren to get off work, I wandered around the gorgeous, well-kept streets, and in and out of the fancy shops and resorts. Warning... I took lots and lots of pictures of trees. I just couldn't resist. Everywhere you looked it was so beautiful!
One of my favorite excursions was to Piney River Ranch at Piney Lake. It's a pretty treacherous drive through rocky terrain but well worth the views. See the moose in the center of the picture below? Watching him was definitely a highlight!
On the way back from Piney Lake, we took a detour to an outlook point to watch the "alpen-glow." The sun setting behind the mountains creates this outstanding pink hue.
Lauren and John were kind enough to drive me around to surrounding cities and landmarks since this was my first time visiting Colorado.
Some of the places we drove through included:
1) Gilman, Colorado - an abandoned mining town, evacuated by the EPA due to pollution.
2) Camp Hale - a previous military training facility with so much history.
3) Leadville - a beautiful town near Twin Lakes and Mt. Elbert (see below)
* I loved all the signs noting the elevations of the locations. It's definitely a different concept when you live at sea level. I had a little bit of altitude sickness, but drank lots of water which helped immensely.
4) Mt. Elbert - the highest point of the Rocky Mountains (14,433 feet)
5) Twin Lakes, Colorado
6) Independence Pass (12,095 ft.) & the Continental Divide
7) Apsen - I was too busy ogling the fancy houses that I forgot to take pictures other than this back yard.
Lauren and John took me to Georgetown on our way back to Denver. It's an adorable town with the best bakery I've ever visited. The family in front of us came in for the cinnamon rolls. The owner sold the last one just before we all arrived. Apparently, they're the size of your head. I hope to try one some day. We settled for the incredible cupcakes and shared one of every flavor -- chocolate, vanilla and red velvet. The cake was moist and fluffy covered by the sweet and creamy frosting. YUM!
I absolutely loved my time in Colorado. The people were genuine and kind, and the views spectacular. I'm so looking forward to the next chance I get to explore it further.