Hiking in Colorado

If you want to get fit, come to Colorado.

My brother told me that Colorado has the fittest people in the nation, and I believe that wholeheartedly. The atmosphere and culture just scream: “Outdoors! Stay active! Wear sneakers!”

I mean, with this kind of land, how could the culture not be that way?

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When in Colorado, do as Colorado people do. So we’ve been getting outdoors and climbing ALL the rocks!

(Warning: A ridiculous amount of photos ahead!}

Monday: Red Rocks Park and Amphitheater

We started with a delicious breakfast a la hotel.

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scrambled eggs, hard boiled egg, Canadian bacon + oatmeal with honey, banana, and pb

other half of banana with more peanut butter

Mom: “Alison’s cooking.” ➔ aka cutting up a banana and spooning peanut butter onto my oatmeal.

Then we were off to Red Rocks! As soon as I started walking up the hill and stairs, my heart started beating what felt like twice as fast as usual. Hello, high altitude!

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But the beauty of the red rocks distracted me from my lack of lung capacity.

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The good people of Colorado were doing their thing, working out at the amphitheater by running the bleachers and climbing the stairs. Ben and I were inspired!

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 had to throw some burpee bench jumps in there

Ben and I decided to walk on the quick and leisurely 1.4 mile trail around the red rocks. Man, was it fantastic.

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Our time at Red Rocks ended up being a great workout between all the stairs and walking, so we were definitely ready for lunch afterwards.

DSC_0960 some Enlightened crisps to snack on

Ben found a Nepalese/Indian restaurant with great reviews on Yelp called Sherpa House. It was an all you can eat buffet for $9.99! NAAN, PLEASE AND THANKS.

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After a mighty satisfying lunch, Ben and I explored the town we were in— Golden, CO. My motive for exploration was finding ice cream, to be honest. But the quaint, western town was beautiful and charming! (We found awesome ice cream though. Caramel Oreo + Bing Cherry, oh my goodness.)

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The rest of our day was spent in our hotel room resting/blogging until we went out to dinner at California Pizza Kitchen with some family friends. I had the roasted vegetable salad with grilled chicken, which I totally devoured. Plus lots of bread and olive oil.

Tuesday: Bear Peak

This hike was probably the hardest workout I’ve ever done. At least, it’s up there. If you see a little Asian waddling with a look of pain on her face in Colorado today and tomorrow, it’s probably me.

I woke up at 7:30, and my body felt pretty tired— not quite sore, but just lead-like. I knew that Ben and I had a long hike planned at Bear Peak, but I secretly wasn’t opposed to just chillaxin’ instead. But we got up, ate breakfast, and tackled the darn hike. We are in Colorado!

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scrambled eggs + pineapple + oatmeal with honey and pb (I didn’t end up eating the yogurt)

but I did have a quarter of my mom’s waffle with the rest of the honey and banana

Let me just commentate our hike for you. We heard great things about this trail, the weather was perfect, and we were excited (Ben a little more so than I). The hike was almost 8 miles and took us just over 5 hours.

I knew it was going to be a tough hike, and I consider myself to be fairly fit, but WOWZA this hike was a whole ‘nother level for me.

At the start:

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In my head: Oh that’s cute. The start of the trail is going downhill. Bringing you down to go up. 

Me: It’s so not cool to be hiking up a mountain when you just ate a large breakfast.

Ben: Some people run up this mountain. In the winter.

Me: If we see a mountain lion or bear, the plan is that I get up on your shoulders and we make ourselves look huge. I’ll try not to scream and you just back away. And you film the whole thing.

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The hike up to the summit was about 3 miles, with 1.1 miles being straight up. Those 1.1 miles were the death of me. Ben had to stop several times for me to catch my breath. If I want to make excuses, I’d say we were climbing from 6,000 ft to 8,000 ft elevation, which is way up there for this city girl. I’m also a high maintenance packer who brought two water bottles, lots of snacks, and my jacket in my honker of a backpack.

Me: I feel like I’m using the stair master, running, doing burpees, and squatting all at the same time.

Ben: We have about 1,000 ft of elevation left. ➔ I give him a silent death stare.

Me: I definitely should have eaten pizza last night. Need carbs.

Me: My glycogen stores are depleting. I need a snack.

 peanut butter and banana on whole wheat sandwich thin

 A girl about our age was climbing up behind us, and I let her pass us because she was a beast and powered through those rocks much faster than I. Poor Ben had to keep stopping for me, but he said that made it easy for him. Ha.

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After a sweaty and butt-killing 2.5 hours, we carefully climbed up the rocks at the summit and just soaked. it. in.

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In my head: Worth it. Also, don’t fall off the mountain.

We ate a power lunch/snack at the summit before heading back down the longer but less steep 4 mile trail down the mountain.

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sweet potato, eaten just like that

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The hike down was so much less strenuous than the hike up (thanks, gravity), but it was still interesting. There was a creek that was rushing pretty hard due to melting snow, and we had to cross it back and forth at least ten times. Our feet got completely wet, but it was still a fun challenge to figure out how to cross each time.

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Ben: I lied about this being the drier side of the mountain.

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we climbed up that whole left side of the mountain

In my head: If anything will kill me on this hike, it would be a fly buzzing past my ear, causing me to spazz out and fall off the cliff.

Our last obstacle of the hike was passing by a rattlesnake, which made my heart beat just as fast as when we were ascending the mountain.

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7.8+ miles and 5+ hours later, we made it back to where we started. It was an incredible experience and I absolutely loved this hike, despite the pain my legs are in right now.

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I ate two more of those peanut butter banana sandwiches upon finishing. 🙂

Showers and relaxation were much needed afterwards. Then dinner! Mom took us to a Vietnamese restaurant, where I ate a rice vermicelli bowl with grilled pork and tons of veggies, herbs, and ground peanuts. We also shared egg rolls as an appetizer. Hit the spot so good.

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As you can see, I housed that bowl. Hiking hunger is as real as “runger.” I even had room for frozen yogurt.

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peanut butter and cookies ‘n’ cream with graham cracker crumbs, hemp granola, and mochi

Now it’s time to sleep. Does anyone who is attending Blend wanna bring a foam roller?

Hope you all have a wonderful Wednesday! Your lesson of the day: eat the dang pizza.

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Linking up this hiking and eating extravaganza with WIAW!

So tell me:

What is the hardest workout you’ve ever done?

Do you like hiking?

What sweet treats have you eaten lately? 

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In the Wild

*wave*!!!

I had absolutely no voice yesterday, so I was whispering and using (made-up) sign language all day. I did feel better physically though! Thank you all for your well wishes and prayers. Y’all are sweeter than cream cheese frosting on red velvet cake (when in the South…).

I accomplished close to nothing yesterday, but that’s what vacation is all about, right? Actually, I always feel slightly guilty whenever my days pass and I haven’t done something work-like-productive. That feeling is bogus though, because a) life is too short to always be doing work, b) it’s winter break, c) I did a lot yesterday anyway!

Breakfast was a delicious green smoothie consisting of:

  • ½ c. unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • ⅓ c. 2% Greek yogurt
  • ½ c. oats
  • cinnamon and nutmeg
  • splash of vanilla
  • 1 heaping tbsp. peanut butter
  • half a frozen banana
  • a crapton of spinach

All blended up and eaten out of a huge mug with a spoon and Honey Nut Cheerios on top for crunch!

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I made a run to Publix for a few food items that we don’t really need, but that we would like to have for some recipe experimentation. Ahem, crepes.

Although my body wasn’t feeling 100% yesterday, I still managed to get in some moves, which felt awesome after two days off due to feeling crappy. I did Jen’s “cookie crusher” workout, using light weights for some of the exercises. I took it slow and listened to my body extra carefully.

I also did some shoulder strength exercises later in the evening. Ooof the soreness in my shoulders is REAL, especially after this external rotation exercise. 5 lb. dumbbells never burned so much.

Lunch was composed of three of my favorite things— toast, avocado, and runny eggs. It’s an extremely close second to the peanut butter + banana combination, I must admit.

Carrots and hummus on the side!

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I did some relaxing blog reading and Food Network watching as I ate lunch, and then Ben came downstairs from his slumber (he’s completely, literally nocturnal) to eat. He asked me if I wanted to join him for a hike at the Disney Wildlife Preserve, which would essentially involve a 2 mile trail walk on flat land.

Count me in!

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He’s so sick of my picture-taking.

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I feel like I wear this EVERY time I go hiking.

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You can see the Disney influence on bench design.

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We didn’t see any wildlife that wasn’t a plant, except for a couple tiny frogs and a lizard that wasn’t even on the reserve land itself. Other people logged in animal sightings of creatures such as a young gator and a bobcat. What?!

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We figured that we didn’t get to see many animals because we went in the late afternoon when the sun was bright and hot. We saw this little fella only barely because he camouflaged so well.

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And then this lizard on the sidewalk. Remember when one of these got into our house?

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I found three sandhill cranes in their natural habitat though.

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It was a beautiful, warm walk with brother Ben!

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Back at home, I ate snacks, did some Instagram stalking, helped mom clean, and then ate dinner. I had Laotian sausage with sticky rice and a side salad. Plus bites and nibbles of other foods.

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Then the ol’ classic— dried figs and Greek yogurt for dessert.

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Our guests were at a water park all day, so they came home in the evening and we played some board games before going to sleep. Or at least, before they went to sleep. I’m typing this at 2 AM because I procrastinate when there’s nothing to procrastinate.

Also, I think my sickness has traveled to my nose, so I’ve lost my sense of taste. I just had a chunk of frozen banana and some almonds, and I could not taste the flavor of either at all. Sadness.

Today, I work! Work=studying my manual for BU tour guiding, reading, and just not watching youtube videos all night.

Happy New Years Eve Eve 🙂

So tell me:

Do you feel like you have to be doing something productive more often than not?

What is the wildest animal you’ve seen in nature?

For me, maybe a deer. I don’t get out into the wilderness that often.

What did you eat for lunch yesterday?