Adventure Days

Living in Colorado and not exploring is like hopping into a pool and not getting wet.  It’s impossible. You just have to go out and play, especially on nice days when the mountains and foot hills are crystal clear, even from where I am at only a mile high.

Each week I allow myself one full “Adventure Day” where I put all sorts of work to the side (job searching and book writing) and find a new spot to explore and venture off on my own.  Sometimes I have a place in mind that I know of or have heard about that beckons my curious mind, but I also recently discovered a great blog called The Delicious Day, that listed some easy-to-get-to, not-so-far from Denver day trips worthy of a trek.

Last Thursday I chose their day trip labeled: The Lakefront View + Hike + Wine + Canyon Drive Combo.

If you don’t know me, then I should probably explain that even though I moved to the mountains, I’m a water baby through and through.  It is probably the one thing that gave me pause when thinking of moving here.  I thought, “But what about the beach?!”  And while I still miss my beloved ocean, I’m finding really beautiful alternatives here, and will share them as I continue on my adventures.  But the “Lakefront View” in this description certainly caught my attention, and knew that along with the “wine” were more than a perfect combination for a great outing.

The location wasn’t far, only about 40 minutes from where I live.  I brought all of my hiking gear, knowing that once I got to the picturesque town of Evergreen, I’d want to at least entertain the idea of meandering through the open space nearby.  For those who don’t know, an open space here in the west is a given piece of land that was either donated by someone that owned it, or was created and is maintained by the state lottery.  I believe I was told that 4% of the lottery money from the state goes into developing parks and spaces for people to hike, walk, mountain bike, and play, of which I thoroughly take full advantage.  It’s a smart way to preserve the land and keep all of the outdoorsy folk that live here, happy and connected to the land.

My first stop was per the blog’s recommendation to Everbean, a great coffee and tea shop right across from the water.  Once I purchased my tea, I drove over to the lake and parked, where I could pick up the path that edged along the water.  Perfect for the water sign that I am!  The lake was already bustling with activities and water sports and people doing what I was doing: getting their fill of the watery scenery.

I found water!

I found water! And a bunch of paddle boarders!

It doesn't get any more beautiful than this...

It doesn’t get any more beautiful than this…

As I made my way around the path, I came to the edge of the lake where there was a dam and a sizable waterfall that lead to a rushing river.  The path continued two ways: along the river toward downtown and back around the lake to the car.  I decided to continue to downtown.

What a pleasant, quaint little area!  Cute little shops of all kinds, restaurants, and most importantly, the winery mentioned in the The Delicious Day!  Before I made my way out to Evergreen, I didn’t look at where the winery location actually was, but low and behold, it appeared.  Creekside Cellars is a quaint establishment with lots of outdoor seating.  After my $5 for five wines tasting, I was able to snag a seat on the back patio, overlooking the rushing creek.

The food was excellent, and why I don’t have a picture of my pressed panini and glass of Syrah could only mean that I was so caught up in the simplicity of the moment that it didn’t even occur to me.  Next time… I promise.  Regardless, I enjoyed everything about this place, from the wines, to the waitstaff, to the location.  From my table, this was my view:

Rushing river

Rushing river

When I left, I walked back toward the lake, and meandered slowly around the rest of the path, wading in the water, chatting to Red Sox fans I met along the way, and taking in the delicious scenery (I thought that the pictures deserved to be full-sized in this post!).

It was early afternoon by the time I got back to the car, and knew that I wasn’t quite ready to leave, so I found the Three Sisters Park on a map and made my way over to the open space.

At each open space, there are maps, so I planned my route before heading off on the dirt trail, making sure that I had a plan of attack.  This area offers over 15 miles of trails, so there are many options for ways to go if you 1) have a ton of time, and 2) are ambitious.  I was neither.  So I mapped out a route closer to where I parked, and assumed I’d follow three major paths.

The trail started fairly slowly and easily, and when I got to a point where I was going to turn left, I reconsidered and went right.  This was a great choice because it led me up some steeper switchbacks where I got some great views of the foothills and a much better workout.

IMG_6507

Rocky terrain ahead

IMG_6508

Sweeping views of the foothills

The best part about this path is that it was covered by trees for the most part.  It gets really hot out here, and even though we don’t have the humidity that the Northeast gets, the heat can be draining.

I continued on, according to my map, and when I was getting closer to the end, I stumbled upon one of my favorite animals here: the mule deer.  One would that that growing up seeing deer that it would get old, but for me, it just doesn’t.  I love them, and I love getting close enough to them to show you pictures like this!

My nature buddy

My nature buddy

Please ignore the tip of my finger in the left part of the picture.  I was so excited to be so close and to have the deer be as calm as a cucumber, that I wasn’t paying much attention to where my finger was on the camera.  This is not typical of deer, as you know they are skittish animals, so I just stood there and watched it, waited as it moved through the brush, snapping a series of pictures as it did.

Needless to say, my Adventure Day was simply complete with this last event.  I was delighted with the suggestion of Evergreen, and was pleasantly surprised by all the town has to offer.  I definitely logged it on my list of places to visit when the family comes out, as it was worth the trip.

Stay tuned for where will I be off to next!

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