Bouldering in Boulder (Road Trip Part 2)

I think it’s time I actually look up what “bouldering” means. An ongoing theme of our trip was me misusing it. Or just using it to mean climbing over rocks, which I’m not entirely sure isn’t somewhat correct.

Part 1: There and Back Again

Now for Part 2–

Day 3: We woke up in Denver and took advantage of the excellent indoor plumbing. We drank coffee with Derek and Sarah for a bit and then took off. We made a quick visit to REI’s flagship store nearby and then drove to Boulder, which was only about 30 minutes. Leslie and Peter play with the Colorado Music Festival, well, this summer Peter was playing and Leslie was on leave/subbing due to somebody needing to take care of the baby.

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That baby. Such a cutie.

We met Leslie in their place at Creekside, which is code for really terrible housing. Thanks Colorado Music Festival! But they had the apartment fixed up very nicely for a baby and they were eagerly awaiting our arrival. After Peter got done with rehearsal we had lunch at Next Door at the Kitchen, or the Kitchen Next Door, or who really knows. It was tasty though, and that’s what mattered. Boulder is a cute town, and is honestly really busy and crowded, no matter what time of day or week, it seems, which means it’s pretty touristy, I guess? I’d visiting a few years prior but it was fun to go with Louie and also to see my little niece.

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That’s her looking annoyed that she was eating peas off the table when we were getting delicious shrimp tacos and salmon salad sandwiches and whatnot.

After lunch Louie and I needed to go meet our Air BNB host, a woman named Alexia. We’d rented a small guest cottage for 3 nights. It was easy enough to find, though a little scary as it was up a steep gravel driveway that the Corolla had a little trouble with. (Did I mention this whole trip was made in a Corolla? Packed to the gills!)

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The place was adorable—a little cabin in the woods basically. With outdoor plumbing…and no hot water. Such would be the theme of our trip. But the cabin had electricity…mostly…IMG_3926 

After getting settled we decided to head to Chautauqua to do a little hiking (we decided this was going to be a hiking intensive vacation and had no intention of being lazy, ha!) while waiting for Athena to wake up from her nap. We’d just gotten parked and started when Leslie called, so they headed over to meet up. Together we hiked the McClintock Trail to Woods Quarry, which seemed so hard at the time! Altitude is no joke!

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It was a nice hike for a late afternoon and we worked up a good appetite for Pizzeria Locale. After dinner Louie and I walked around Pearl Street while Leslie and Peter had to put Athena to bed. Louie had been to Boulder as a child and remembered seeing a “loose rope walker” called Evan from Heaven and being friendly with him. (There are lots of street performers on Pearl Street.) We didn’t see Evan, but later googled him and were fascinated.

Day 4: We woke up and had muffins and coffee in our cabin. The bathroom situation was a little funny, but manageable. The toilet required water to flush, so you’d go, flush, and then refill it with water from a bucket and refill the bucket to prepare the next user.

Louie and I decided to hike to the Royal Arch this morning and then meet up with folks for lunch. I’d hiked to the Royal Arch in the past, but I didn’t remember it being so difficult! Some of the hike was changed, but honestly, I think I just forget how hard stuff is. In fact, I’ve already forgotten how challenging the hike was. Either way it took us much longer than we thought it would take and we were at least an hour later getting down the mountain than we’d anticipated.

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I met up with Leslie and Peter for lunch and we got burritos at a place called Illegal Pete’s. I had a giant fish burrito and it was delicious. Probably illegal 😉

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We just hung out in the afternoon (I showered at the apartment…) and then for “dinner” we went to the mashup concert at Colorado Music Festival. Leslie was playing this concert instead of Peter—it was a singer called Storm Large, who none of us had ever heard up. So the mashup means it is a crossover concert or a mix of classical and popular music. PLUS they set up tents beforehand with samples of food and drink from a variety of local restaurants, so we gorged ourselves on sushi, ice cream, iced coffee, beer, and other random bites. Honestly we didn’t eat too much, but it was tasty and the price was right..especially since we had comp tickets.

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Of course, we made a quick stop at the playground. Somebody loves swinging.

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Athena might have thought Louie was too big for the swing, but she seemed to love having him swing next to her.

We took the bus back from the concert (which, for the record, I hated so much, but Louie seemed to enjoy it, so I assume I wasn’t the target audience…) to Creekside (Leslie/Peter’s apartment) and then some of us went to a place called the Dark Horse for a drink and another snack. We ended up ordered something called Rocky Mountain Oysters there, and I wasn’t too impressed 😉

When we got home to our cabin we didn’t have any power! We’d had to have our flashlights out in order to get up the stairs to it, so it wasn’t a disaster, but still, no fun. We went to bed right away then, after texting our “landlord.”

Day 5:

We woke up and Alexia had left a note saying we could use a bathroom in a nearby house until 2 pm, and that she had called the electrician. We met Leslie at the Chautauqua Dining Hall for breakfast since we couldn’t use the hotplate in the room for coffee and figured, what the heck, let’s just eat out. It was a really nice place to eat! We sat outside and they had a variety of vegetarian options—I had a “tofu scramble” and it was very tasty.

After breakfast Louie and I went to hike up Green Mountain on the West Ridge Trail. Leslie and Peter recommended it as a very different view than what you get from the Chautauqua area so it sounded like a lot of fun.

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There were some steep rocky bits but mostly the trail was really nice and enjoyable and it was fun to do a trail that actually went to the top of a mountain. After getting our daily hike in we stopped by Whole Foods and picked up supplies for lunch—Leslie and Peter had already eaten so we just headed over to eat our lunch and hang out. Once Peter was done working we all went to the Avery Brewing Company for dinner.

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Coolers are so much fun!

Avery is great for trying beers because you can order a tiny size of many of the beers. I had a few different ones, but I can’t remember what they were, except the last one, which was a raspberry sour beer. I wasn’t sure about ordering it, and then they ended up bringing me a larger glass of it by accident, so I ended up with a lot of this beer I didn’t really like, so that kind of ended my sampling. I had the “sloppy seitan” for dinner which was like a sloppy joe except with seitan instead of beef. It was really surprisingly good!

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After dinner we walked along the Boulder Creek for a bit before Athena had to go to bed. Our power was back on that night.

Day 6: We woke up and had to pack up, and decided also to take “peace corps” showers! We didn’t take selfies as Alexia had recommended, but we did get some pictures…

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Louie wanted to hike the Flatiron trail while I wanted to relax, so we ended up first eating breakfast at the Chautauqua Dining Hall again (this time I had veggie sausage gravy with biscuits, awesome!) before he hiked, Peter went to rehearsal, and I went to do laundry at Leslie’s apartment so we’d have clean clothes at the beginning of the trip. Boring but necessary…as today we were headed to Rocky Mountain National Park. The morning flew by and then it was lunch time…and Athena hadn’t woken up, so everything got a bit off schedule as we had to wait for her to wake up. Louie and I got some groceries, including a variety of trail mixes, some snacks that involved okra and I don’t know how to explain, and a few other things to supplement the rice and beans and whatnot that we already had. We went for lunch at a nearby Asian place and had some nice noodles before saying our goodbyes. And we were off on the Peak-to-Peak highway, heading to Nederland and then Rocky Mountain National Park. It was sad to leave, but we’ll see them again soon! Athena will be walking by then though, and maybe reading and talking as well…the things you miss when you live too far away 🙁