This Made Me Laugh

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Exploring Colorado: Lake Isabelle

Denver’s premier magazine 5280 did a great story in their June issue highlighting some of Colorado’s gorgeous alpine lakes. Some are remote or a far drive, but one Sunday in late July Luke and I decided to venture to one of the closer ones, Lake Isabelle, which is located in the Indian Peaks trailhead area of the Roosevelt National Forest. The hike was relatively easy until the last 1/4 mile or so, and we both agreed that time and effort was worth it once we reached the lake.

Long Lake, at the base of the Lake Isabelle trail

Gorgeous Lake Isabelle

It was really neat seeing snow in the summer, especially after nearly 8 years of living in California. Last weekend we crossed another lake off the list, Hanging Lake, and over time we hope to hike to all seven on the lakes mentioned in the article.

Los Angeles-Denver

Have you ever driven from Los Angeles to Denver, or vice-versa? If not, I recommend it. I’ve done the trip 7 times in the last 6 years, and each time I’ve dreaded the 17-hour drive, but have ended up enjoying the experience. Here are some of the reasons that make it a great route for a roadtrip.

1) You either start or end in California, so you get to see the ocean.

2) For someone looking to visit lots of U.S. states, this is a pretty good route as you go through 5, California, Nevada, Arizona, Utah and Colorado.

3) You go through Vegas. Enough said.

4) You see some of the prettiest terrain in Utah, right outside Arches National Park.

5) There is very little traffic, meaning you can relax a bit and play roadtrip games.

I did this drive about 2 weeks ago, leaving Los Angeles, where I went to school and then worked for 2.5 years following school, for Denver, where I am from. This trip was a bit more interesting because in addition to my car, we also had a large Budget truck with all of Luke and my belongings. My mom and Luke’s mom joined us for the trip, so it was a great time. We stopped in Mesquite, Nevada for a night, and then in Grand Junction, Colorado for a night. Breaking the trip up over 3 days was a great way to do it, especially with the heavy, slow truck.

The Route

 

Our 16 foot Budget truck
Beautiful Utah from I-70

Colorado!

*Unfortunately, most of my roadtrip pics are on my phone, and these blurry ones are the only ones that I have on my camera.

I hope you will have a chance to see this beautiful stretch of the country. And I’m happy to say that we are settling into our new place and love it!

California Skiing vs. Colorado Skiing

Mountain High

Luke and I spent the long weekend for MLK Jr. Day in Colorado. We both took off the Thursday and Friday before, so we had a nice 5-day vacation. While there we spent a lot of time with my family, saw my friends, went out downtown, ate a lot of great food and skied Vail.

It’s been about 2 years since I skied in Colorado, though I have done some skiing in So Cal. A few weeks ago Luke and I went to Mountain High and last year we skied Snow Summit near Arrowhead Lake.

What a difference! I completely forgot what it is like to ski in powder, or at least real snow that you see falling in front of you. I also completely forgot how monstrous the resorts are. Vail mountain is huge. At one point we were on top of the mountain and turned around and saw lifts down the entire backside and the mountain next door.

Vail

In conclusion, these two So Cal resorts don’t hold a candle to those in Colorado, but they are great for a quick snow trip if you live in LA. And the prices are much more reasonable!

Thanksgiving in Denver

As I detailed in the Vancouver post, Luke and I have been traveling and away from our families for the past two Thanksgiving holidays. This year, we each went to our respective hometowns. Actually, Luke was fortunate to be able to take the days leading up to Thursday and Friday off, so he was in Santa Cruz for an entire week.

I left for Denver late on Wednesday night and arrived to freezing cold temperatures. While waiting for my mom to get through the busy pick-up line, it was about 9 degrees. In true Colorado fashion, the weather didn’t stay nearly that cold, in fact my mom and I were able to go for a walk with only sweatshirts and pants, no jacket, which was nice.

The trip was great, and filled with lots of family and friend time. We hosted Thanksgiving at our house on Thursday and were up bright and early on Friday to go Christmas tree cutting, which is a longtime family tradition. Though I’ve gone every year (excluding the last two) this was the first year that I’ve actually fully chopped down a tree. I ususally saw for a few minutes and then someone else does the rest. So this year, I determined to finish the job… and I did!

The rest of the trip was lots of food, a night out downtown with friends, a mother-daughter lunch with my best friends Katie and Laura and their moms, shopping and lots of time with my family.

I really enjoyed this time at home and Christmas was just as fun! (More to come on Christmas later.)

If You’re Ever in Aspen…

Be sure to hike the Maroon Bells, during summer that is. They are one of the most photographed peaks in the U.S. and are absolutely stunning.

To access them, you park at the Highlands Ski Lodge and a shuttle takes you over to the trailhead. There is a learning center and trails surrounding the lake at the bottom of the hills. This is a great hike for all skill levels. Trails run around the lake, while a more intermediate trail takes you on a 6 mile round trip hike up to another lake. For advanced rock climbers, you can always climb to the summit of The Bells.

And of course, after you’ve spent a nice afternoon hiking, you can head back in to the town of Aspen for a fun and exciting evening.

If You’re Ever in Centennial, CO….

be sure to check out Big Bill’s New York Pizza. Full disclosure: this is my uncle’s restaurant and it kept me busy and employed for many summers during high school and college. But, I wouldn’t have selected it as the inaugural post for “If You’re Ever in … Wednesdays” if it were not great.

The restaurant is in an unassuming shopping center in Centennial, on the edge of Highlands Ranch and Littleton. Big Bill’s has become sort of a local legend, not just because of the sports stars and coaches that frequent it, but also because of the service and family-friendly atmosphere. In fact, almost every single Big Bill’s employee at one time ate there for weekly dinners with their family: there are a couple of current employees I remember from when they were little and came in with their parents.

Most importantly, the food is incredible. Just check out the reviews on Yelp. Not only is the pizza great, but the salads, pastas and calzones are tasty, and there is a hero to suit every taste.

So, if you’re ever in Centennial, CO, be sure to stop by Big Bill’s New York Pizza and enjoy a great slice and the wonderful atmosphere.

Big Bill's Ale