Friday, November 20, 2015

I think this whole town is high...

Phil, Amy, Thomas and Keona 10,400 feet up
It is unquestionable that when living in Colorado in 2012/2013 we had the time of our lives. Since we left all those years ago, we have always longed to return. With our friend Phil now living in the true mountain town of Breckenridge, that's where we headed on Halloween night with a $19 flight from Milwaukee. We knew it was going to be a challenge trying to set up life out here, as we knew all too well that housing is a real issue at the beginning of the ski season. We started out planning and researching early and had some leads. Jobs were plentiful, as the ski season was weeks away. However, to find a place to rest our wary heads was neigh on impossible. We stretched our invitation to crash on Phil's couch for as long as was comfortably possible but in the end, our winter season was to be spent elsewhere. However we did get a great long week in the High Rockies, with a great mate. 

In between job interviews and looking at houses, we got out on a few small hikes and immediately we knew we were back at elevation. With two dogs in tow, Phil led us up Mt. Royal from the town of Frisco. What a remarkable welcome back to the mountains. With perfectly clear and crisp blue skies, we were surrounded by 14,000 foot peaks, lightly snow capped, suggesting the imminence of winter to come. The deep breaths were worth it for the chance to do some clifftop AcroYoga. We stopped in at the Backcountry Brewery for a well rewarded pint afterwards. 
Surprise snow storm in Beaver Creek
With the weather still acting like late summer, we were able to really stretch our legs about town. We would skate and ride bikes from Phil's mountain side log cabin into town for a beer at Breckenridge Brewery, grab some food for dinner or swing by the bottle shop to make sure we kept well lubricated. All accessible by the cycle path along the creek running into town. We we spent two Mondays at the potluck dinner the locals organize at Broken Compass Brewery, and once even slaved over making Amy's family's Greek Pastitsio dish with hopes with winning a prize. No such luck, but we filled our bellies with a plethora of incredible food that ranged from all genres and cultures. Caught out by the changeable autumn weather, after being parked up in a downstairs bar for a few hours our stunning sunny day turned into a a snow covered evening. The journey home was slippery but a memorable, laughter filled adventure. We spent another day driving over the Vail Pass back to our old home in Avon and our beloved ski field Beaver Creek. The area was eerily deserted, but we walked around reminiscing and stopped in to have a few tasters at the newly opened Vail Brewing Co. We sipped our beers while the smells from the marijuana dispensary next door wafted in and snow fell soundlessly outside. 

So the scenery had taken a dramatic change that is nothing short of magical. Witnessing a scene change in such peaceful serenity in such a soft and quiet manner is what really captures us, time and time again. What it made for us also was some awesome scenery to venture through while we had a rental car for a few days. With our temporary transportation being the iconic Suburban, we accidentally entered the interstate headed east only to realize that we just got on at the last exit for 21 miles. So we made the adventure under the continental divide through the Eisenhower Tunnel and then back again, although we had only intended to just go down the road. We eventually made it to the summit of Loveland Pass, and the continential divide. Life is pretty epic from up that high, just walking a hundred metres to the viewing platform at 12,000 ft is a real effort. Over the next couple of days we made a nice trip around the back roads of Summit County. After swapping out the Suburban to something more appropriate, we made it just over the back of Breckenridge to the true area of South Park, where we rummaged through an antique store in Leadville and drive on roads that just twisted around and hung off the cliffs of these mountains we so dearly love. The recent snow fall tested my driving with bare road surfaces on the southern slopes and packed and icy surfaces on the north. Slow and steady I got us there, to Hot Sulfur Springs, where the appropriately named town had just that. We soaked our souls, and got dusted with a perfect evening snow shower.

Turing into winter

With the ski field gates still closed, we had to find ourselves another "ski lift" to get some runs on all that fresh snow. Taking advantage of friendly locals who offer lifts, and baked goods, in spare seats or the backs of their trucks, we lapped a section of glades from the summit of Loveland Pass down to a lower section of road. This behavior epitomizes the spirit of Colorado, away from the stereotype, there is more than one way to get high in the Rockies.

Getting "high" in the Rockies

1 comment: