Escape to The Mountains

Escape to The Mountains

My sister in laws and I decided to make a pact to have an annual girl’s trip every summer. This is our second year doing this and let me stress how incredibly important it is to take some time out of your busy life to experience things in a different way. Girl’s trips are good for your mental health and I think we can all agree that mental health is essential!

What to Bring

This summer we went to Colorado for a five day vacation and it was every bit of breathtaking, venturesome and unforgettable. I’ll start with some suggestions when packing for a summer trip to Colorado. I struggled with what to pack and ended up over packing. Here are some quick packing tips:

  • Layers, Layers, Layers! Colorado in the Summer has warm sunny days and cool starry nights.
  • We did experience some rain, so keep your rain gear handy.
  •  Colorado has a lot of outdoor activities and hiking so you will want to bring lightweight t-shirts, shorts & jeans in addition to a pair of broken into hiking boots and/or comfortable tennis shoes.
  • Small backpack for hiking! Hiking is beautiful out there, and you’ll need a place to hold all your necessities like water and snacks.
  • Be prepared with a light sweater, rain jacket and thick socks for your shoes. You don’t want to get blisters while hiking. Ouch!
  • Most of the restaurants are very casual so no need to bring fancy clothes, unless you are planning on going to a fancy dinner or something like that and want to.
  •  If you are planning on going rafting like we did, make sure to bring some type of sport sandal or water shoe.
  • Don’t forget a swimsuit! We enjoyed the jacuzzi after our day of rafting and it was so relaxing, especially after a day of hiking, biking, riding, or rafting.
  • Sunglasses are a must!
  • Make sure to pack some sunscreen and lip balms as the air is very dry.
  • Make sure to bring medication that you may need such a Bonine or Dramamine. These were essential for me as I experienced altitude sickness, and having this helped me tremendously.
  • Bring a portable water bottle with you. All three of us took our water bottles everywhere with us. Drink plenty of water- don’t forget!!  It is the number one way to help your body adjust to the higher altitude.

Hopefully all this information is helpful if you’re planning on making a similar trip! Knowing in advanced what to pack for your summer mountain trip will ensure your trip is that much more enjoyable.

AUS to DEN

We left on an early flight Thursday morning out of Austin, Texas to Denver, Colorado which is about a 2 hour and 15-minute flight. We then took a connecting flight to Colorado Springs which was approximately a 45-minute plane ride. When we landed, we got our rental car and drove to Colorado Springs.  By this point we were all starving so our first stop was to get something to eat. We had been in an airport since 5:00 a.m. and all we wanted was some food! We stopped at this really cute restaurant, (I can’t for the life of me remember the name) but it was so delicious and scenic! We sat outside and ate and admired the gorgeous mountain scenery.  After brunch we had some time to kill before we checked into our tiny house. So, we did some thrift shopping (something we all three love to do) and after checked out a recreational cannabis store. It was neat! 😊

Our Tiny House

After our pitstop we drove to Manitou Springs, a super cute town in Colorado Springs, Colorado. We spent the next two days in a “tiny house” and I must say it was such a fun experience. Tiny houses are quickly becoming the next big thing for travel when deciding on places to stay and they are so cuuuuuuute! I know I am not alone in my quest for a cute photo opt for the gram! Not only are tiny houses economical, but they are a lot cheaper than the standard hotel which is a plus for all you adventure seekers looking for budget friendly accommodations.

There were three of us in our tiny house and it was perfect. It had everything we needed. If you’re comfortable sharing a tiny bathroom with three girlfriends – then definitely go for it. One thing that made it easier for us to save space was keeping our luggage in the car for the majority of our time there. We just grabbed the essentials and went to the car to grab anything else we needed throughout our stay. As cute as it was, the house wasn’t big enough for us to have our luggage with us. It worked out just fine though and none of us had a problem with that; it was just another part of our adventure. Our table converted into a bed so one of us slept there on the main floor and the other two of us slept up in the loft. I do think that if there was one more person staying with us it would’ve been a little chaotic, so in my opinion three to a tiny house is perfect! It also had a mini-fridge, microwave, tv and a coffee maker. Bonus!  

We weren’t far from grocery stores and restaurants. We were down the street from literally everything! The lady who we rented from was also one of the sweetest ladies, I would totally rent from her again! For me, the tiny house experience, even for just a few days, hits the ultimate sweet spot. It allowed for some great pictures and allowed us to save some cash, but the ultimate feeling for me was stepping out of the house onto the tiny porch and admiring the beauty of the mountains and trees surrounding me instead of the many box hotels I would’ve seen staying at a hotel. It felt intimate, real, secluded and was absolutely one of the cutest things I’ve ever seen. 

Colorado Springs

While in Colorado Springs we did so much. We went to The Garden of The Gods and hiked and that was so much fun, but it was HOT! My biggest tip would be to drink plenty of water- I can’t emphasize this enough, drink PLENTY of water! The Garden of the Gods is a registered National Natural Landmark and it is free to the public. The amazing red rocks are so beautiful! We enjoyed our hike so much and got so many great pictures. Make sure to visit this site if you are planning a trip to Colorado because with Pike’s Peak as a backdrop it makes it worth your while.

Another great place we visited while in Colorado Springs was the Anasazi Cliff Dwellings. If you are a lover of history, then this is right up your alley. They have the pueblo museum and cave museum. It was $10.00 for individuals 12 and over, and was so worth every penny. We also went downtown Manitou Springs and had a lovely dinner outside at a fondue restaurant, then walked the cute downtown streets of Manitou Springs. Our two days in Colorado Springs were filled with adventure and wonder. We ate at too many delicious restaurants! I cannot remember all the names of the wonderful restaurants we ate at, and I wish I did, but here is a list of the ones I did remember: Uncle Sam’s Pancake House, Savelli’s Pizza & Subs, The Kitchen, Garden of The Gods Market & Café and many more. I would recommend all of these restaurants, hands down, 10 out of 10!

Pike’s Peak

The next day we woke up, packed up our car, and headed out, but first we stopped and had an amazing breakfast at this place called Grandmother’s Kitchen– it was so good! After breakfast we ended our Colorado Springs stay with a visit to Pike’s Peak aka America’s Mountain. That was really something to see! Pike’s Peak is the highest summit of the southern front range of the Rocky Mountains. Tickets to enter were $15.00 per person, it is a 19-mile paved road that you can enjoy at your leisure. We really wanted to get to the summit, so we drove up the 19-mile road and enjoyed the scenic views of lakes, mountains and wildlife. On our way up we stopped at mile marker 16, and from there we took a shuttle for the rest of the way to the summit. There are multiple shuttles that run every 5-10 minutes to pick you up, take you to the summit, and bring you back to your vehicle at whatever mile marker you’re parked at. 

When driving up to pike’s peak a few things to keep in mind: make sure you have a full tank of gas, or at least half a tank. Driving up to Pike’s Peak is a hard, steady climb so your car may not make it. Make sure your car is tuned up and in good running shape and that your vehicle has a low gear availability because continuously going downhill can make your brakes get hot and go out- that is definitely something you do not want to happen. Be sure to listen carefully to the advice they give you when entering and you will be just fine. There is a checkpoint halfway down the mountain where they do make you stop, and a ranger will check your brakes for you – a tremendously helpful thing! There is a train that is the more traditional way to get up to pike’s peak, but unfortunately for us it was down for maintenance. How great of an experience that would have been though? One quick side note, on our way to Pikes Peak we did stop to peek at Santa’s Workshop. They had rides and attractions that you could see from the parking lot. We unfortunately did not get to experience the magic of what was inside because we were pressed for time, but it looked so fun and magical, especially for children. 

Once we reached the summit at 14,115 ft, I was absolutely speechless! The view is spectacular! Keep in mind, once again, you’ll want to drink lots and lots of water! For someone who was not used to the elevation change, this was extremely important for me. Water is truly your best friend and it certainly was all of ours during this entire trip! Once we got to the top there was a spot called Pikes Peak Summit House that is famous for its “high elevation donuts.” The girls and I grabbed our donuts and coffee and sat on some rocks and took in the beautiful views. There is nothing better than enjoying a delicious fried donut and coffee with friends all whilst soaking in the spectacular view in front of us. That was the cherry on top of our stay in Colorado Springs. To anyone visiting or planning to visit all I have to say is have fun, enjoy all the sights and don’t miss going to Pikes Peak. The view is breathtaking and so worth it!

Breckenridge

The next stop on our Colorado Girl’s trip was Breckenridge, Colorado where we stayed for the remainder of our trip. It was about at 2 hour drive and of course was a very scenic drive. We rented a condo right in the middle of downtown Breckenridge, so we walked everywhere. It was so perfect! It is true what they say, Breck’s vibe is different. I suddenly had lots of energy and had an “up for anything” mood about me. Our first night we went to have dinner and enjoyed some drinks out on the town. We ate at this scrumptious burger house and drank some nice, cold beers. So good! Afterwards, we walked the streets of the town and enjoyed the arts, music, stores and the people. It was such a wonderful vibe. That evening, we headed back to our condo for a relaxing movie night in and watched a classic, Steel Magnolia. It was a great ending to a relaxing evening.

The next morning, we got up had coffee and breakfast and headed to the gondolas to check out the Mountain. The ski resort isn’t just an epic winter must-see, but it also makes for a fun summer adventure. They had a lot of outdoor thrill-seeking activities for all ages. We were going to get on the ski lift and ride up to the highest point of the mountain, but lightning not too far from us did not permit that. Instead we went to check out Snow Mountain which was so fun! We enjoyed some time there and eventually headed back down to town. By this point it was dinner time so we grabbed a bite to eat and just enjoyed walked around and exploring afterwards, enjoying it all. After we got back to out condo that night, we talked about going white water rafting so we researched many different options for white water rafting companies, chose one and purchased our tickets for the following day. We couldn’t wait for the next morning!

White Water Rafting

The following morning, we woke up and drove about 20 min outside of Breckenridge and met our guides for white water rafting. I have to say if you have never tried this, please put this on your bucket list! It is so fun! It is an adrenaline rush and for all you thrill seeking adventurers this is totally a must for you! All of us girls had so much fun doing this, and it was a great thing to do on our last full day of vacation! After our adventure we ate, did some more shopping, eating and exploring then ended the night relaxing in the jacuzzi. This was super relaxing, especially after a day of rafting.

Trolls Road

The next morning on our way to the airport we squeezed in one last stop. We stopped to see a 15 ft wooden troll sculpture located on the Trollstigen trail (“Trolls Road”) at Stephen C. West Ice Arena at 189 Boreas Pass Road. The statue is made entirely out of reclaimed wood pallets and other recyclable materials. He was named Isak Heartstone because of a heart-shaped stoned placed inside his chest.  Isak was moved from its previous location due to an overwhelming number of visitors and parking quickly became an issue so residents in the nearby walking distance were becoming unhappy.  The new location Isak is now at was chosen because it is away from populated areas, easily accessible to the public transit as well as scenic forestland. The Troll is something that should not be missed if you are visiting this area. Adults and kids alike will appreciate the relaxing, beautiful, easy stroll in the woods. It is an amazing work of art and something you should see. I was so glad we were able to include this last stop on our way to the airport.

Overall, this trip was so full of adventure and wonder! Visiting Colorado had so much to offer from the great outdoors and admiring the beautiful rock mountain peaks to the red rocks, hiking at the national parks, music, arts, food and so much more. With so much to see and do you’d be crazy to not put this on your list of places to visit. I would also say add a girl’s trip to your bucket list! Traveling is a very healthy escape, and traveling with your best girlfriends makes it even more memorable. Happy travels!

Leslie

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