anniversary


This September 17th we celebrated 10 years married. Our tradition is to have a weekend excursion to a new-to-us Colorado town. This was Kara’s year to plan, but before we show you that, here’s a trip down memory lane.

2006 Wedding/Honeymoon in Gunnison, CO

2007 Breckenridge

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2008 Frisco

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2009 Florence/Canyon City

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2010 Salida

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2011 Red Feather Lakes

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2012 Boulder

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2013 Palisade/Grand Junction

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2014 Crested Butte

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2015 Avon (Vail Valley)

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2016 Ridgeway/Ouray

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See our video below for a full look at our adventures in Ridgeway/Ouray or click here: https://vimeo.com/183595649

 

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This year it was Nick’s turn to plan the anniversary trip.  We ended up in Vail Valley, staying in Avon and exploring the entire valley.  It was a bit early to see fall colors but we found some good yellow Aspens! Ivan enjoyed getting away with us as well and we slowed down enough to drive over Guanella Pass on the way home.

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This year we celebrated our 8th wedding anniversary by taking an extended weekend in Crested Butte and surrounding area.  We took a couple of days off work and headed out on a Thursday morning.  We were anticipating seeing some Aspen leaves changing, but it was a bit early.  We enjoyed driving over Kebler Pass and into Paonia where we found a delicious farm to table cafe. We also tested 4 local wineries: Black Bridge, Stone Cottage Cellars, Terror Creek Winery, and Azura Cellars. Paonia is the “Palasade” of the east side of the Grand Mesa, so the fruit is abundant; however they tend to make their wines in a smaller more “European” style (so we were told).  We really enjoyed visiting with the wine makers. We then drove down along the eastern edge of the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park and back up to CB. The next day we decided to drive another road called Ohio Pass with better fall colors and paused for a short hike up to Beaver Ponds. We ended the day with dinner at Garlic Mike’s right outside of Gunnison.  This was the same restaurant we had dinner the evening we got married!  The food was delicious!!! When we left it was rainy which provided some different scenery for photos and we decided to drive a different route up to Taylor  Park Reservoir and Cottonwood Pass to Cottonwood Lake. It was a great weekend to get away and relax.

 

Or watch video directly on Vimeo at http://vimeo.com/108081874

 

 

 

IMG_0040IMG_0075IMG_0110The past month and a half has been busy with traveling, however the past 4 weekends we have been out of town completely.  It started with the Palisade wine festival as part of our 7th anniversary.  On our way to Palisade, we stopped to hike Hanging Lake before driving the rest of the way to Grand Junction.  It is unique.

A friend invited us to help pour for Talon Brands Wine and we readily agreed and worked out the details to also stay with her at her brother’s house.  Nick and I poured for St. Kathryn‘s which specializes in fruit wine.  They are known for their very distinctive Lavender Wine, which is a Riesling based with strong Lavender flavors.  We had a fabulous time leaving on Thursday evening and crashing in Glenwood Springs after visiting Glenwood Brewery. We thoroughly enjoyed wine, excellent food, and company all weekend.

On our way back we enjoyed a drive through CO National Monument and due to a terrible accident and construction headed on Highway 9 over Hoosier Pass to get back to Denver on 285.  We hit snow flurries, I do not think it was the first mountain snow flurries, but it was early to see it. (9/22/13)

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The weekend after the wine fest, Nick and I flew down with his company for the Catapult Systems 20th anniversary party.  It was a quick trip, barely gone for 24 hours.  It was fun to hang out in Austin with some of his coworkers and spouses.  Upon arriving we headed for a late lunch at Salt Lick Barbeque. It was phenomenal!! The company through a huge party held at the Austin Music Hall!

Then the next two weekends we have been in New Mexico on vacation.  An unexpected change of events that will be in more detail in posts to follow.

Each year Nick and I celebrate our anniversary by going to visit a place in CO where we have not spent time before. We also alternate who plans the weekend, so this year it was my turn to plan.  What made it difficult this year was the timing of our anniversary fell during our kitchen remodel so that we waited a month before we could set aside a weekend.

So half way through October we headed out after work.  Nick drove but not knowing where to go, I gave step by step directions.  We headed to Golden for a coffee at the Windy Saddle Cafe then went up to Boulder.  I found a cute studio place on AirBnB to rent for the weekend and we checked in then headed out to dinner at the Boulder Cafe. We had a super yummy cheese fondue and other small plates.  We then headed to West Flanders Brewery for a late night beer.

Saturday was a beautifully cloudy fall day so after some coffee we went for a walk around the lake near by then headed to the Boulder Farmers market to look around and shop and take pictures then to the  Boulder Brewery for lunch and sampling beers.  After a much needed nap we headed out to the Pekoe Sip House for coffee/tea and some reading together.  We still were not hungry so instead we found a wine bar called Caffe Sole with jazz music to hang out and talk some more.

Sunday morning we got coffee then packed up and headed outside for some sunshine until lunch.  We hit up Mountain Sun Brewery for lunch and beer.  This is the first time ever I found a beer I liked so that was quite a celebration.  After lunch we headed south and to Denver City Park where I had arranged for a friend of a friend to meet us to take some pictures of us.  Nick ended up teaching a bit of photography in the process but it was fun and we got a few good pictures out of it.  All in all a fun filled non computer or work weekend of celebrating the beginning of our 6th year of marriage.

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We love to take quick weekend getaways to a new town in Colorado every year for our anniversary.  This year’s surprise selection was planned by Nicolas.  However, he didn’t know where we were going until two days prior when he had Kara draw from a hat.  Out of 5 possible locations, Red Feather Lakes (northwest of Fort Collins) was the luck-of-the-draw.  The area of Red Feather is well-known for its high altitude lakes that dot the country.  We stayed in a little red cabin out in the middle of virtually nowhere, with stunning views all around.

Around the cabin we had tremendous relaxation, enjoying each other by leisurely hanging out on the outside deck, wine, games, cooking, and reading.  We also spent several hours taking off-road trails to several lakes, all while taking plenty of photos too.  With recent rain in the area, the aspen trees had not yet begun to change into their autumn colors, aside from a very few and small patches.  Though we were able to visit the village of Red Feather, it had very little of anything at all to offer.  But that’s OK because we were there for the mountainous experience.

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As most of you may know, we surprise each other every year with a weekend excursion to visit a town in Colorado that we have not previously toured.  This year’s responsibility belonged to Kara to surprise Nicolas; our trip was to the Salida/Poncha Springs region!

Despite having honeymooned in Gunnison (a mere 65 miles due west) and having been many times in the nearer Buena Vista (visiting the Coates’ family), we have not managed to explore the towns on our own.  The neat thing about this area is that there are many 14’ers (e.g. HUGE mountains), great off-road trails, and full groves of aspen trees already wearing their autumn dress.

The best route from Denver is US-285 down to US-50.  Arriving at Kenosha Pass, we stumbled upon a simple forest road that headed west of 285.  Since we were unable to do any off-roading this past summer, we took the opportunity to see what lay in the back woods, especially since Kenosha is well-known for its fall colors.  While it was gorgeous scenery, darkness soon crept upon us and still had over an hour drive to reach our destination.

Friday was the actual day of our anniversary, so we couldn’t not go out for dinner and a night on the town.  However, we arrived in Salida at 9 PM, and restaurants have already gone to bed by then!  The only thing open was the local grocery store.  So we grabbed some fancy meat, cheese, crackers, and olives then settled with a bottle of wine at the table in our hotel.  It wasn’t maybe the ideal dinner, but it certainly satisfied!

Saturday was a lazy, relaxing day.  We explored the Salida downtown area, enjoyed coffee at a local roastery, had a picnic lunch along the Arkansas River (with the same horderves from the previous night!), visited a local winery, did more off-roading (on class 1/2 trails) in the afternoon and finished the day with a 3-course dinner at a quaint Italian restaurant in Poncha Springs.

For Sunday, we felt that we had experienced enough of the town of Salida and the real gem of the day lay in the gold of the mountains.  Guess what we decided to do?  More off-roading!!  However, this time we wanted to kick it up a notch and do a class 3 trail on Tin Cup pass.

What we didn’t expect is to find the trail had class 4 spots, which are still easily navigable in Pearl but caution is still advised.  Our first challenge was getting beyond another vehicle that broke down in the middle of the trail almost at the summit.  Then there was a huge rock – we couldn’t around, only over it with just enough clearance not to do any serious damage.

After that we finally reached the summit.  Then we had to travel down a very, very rocky stretch downward to Mirror Lake.  Finally we reached smoother forest roads, taking us through the actual town of Tin Cup, beyond the high alpine Taylor Reservoir, and up-and-over Cottonwood Pass, which dropped us into Buena Vista!

It was a fantastic weekend.  Thank you Kara in planning the adventure!  If you reading this posting via email, please visit the blog to a slideshow of all pictures…..

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