Adventures in Vail and Aspen
It seems like my blog is turning into an "Adventures in (insert Colorado city here)" blog. That's perfectly acceptable to me! I've really enjoyed visiting cities beyond my usual circle of Colorado Springs, though I do love Colorado Springs!
Last week, I competed at Vail Invitational. I love the competition in Vail...more for the excuse to visit Vail than actually competing a long program at over 8,100 feet above sea level! It's amazing how going up an extra 2,000 feet in elevation makes such a difference. My short program went pretty well and my long was semi-decent, but most importantly I learned what I need to fix before Collegiate Nationals next month.
While I wasn't competing, I made the most of my trip to Vail by exploring the village, hiking the trails, and taking the gondola to the top of Vail mountain. This was the third time I went to the summit of Vail mountain. The first was a few summers ago and the second was last winter. This time, we hiked a bit and enjoyed the views and wildflowers. During dinner one night, it was a bit stormy, but also sunny, creating a double rainbow over the mountain!
After Vail, we drove to Aspen for a few day vacation. Our first stop after
checking in to our hotel in Snowmass, was a visit to Maroon Bells! Maroon
Bells are gorgeous as were the hiking trails around them. I was surprised to
learn that they are the most photographed mountains in North America, given that
they're not all that accessible.
We took a bus to reach the bells and then took a free guided tour past the lake and some snowmelt streams and waterfalls. We saw some marmots and a beaver lodge. It was one of my favorite hikes ever!
The next day, we explored the city of Aspen, had lunch at the all-vegetarian Spring Café, and explored the Ice Age Discovery center in Snowmass. At the Spring Café, I had gazpacho soup and a watermelon caprese salad. Like most places in Aspen, they had lovely outdoor seating.
Aspen has some cute and quirky shops like the Emporium and Flying Circus which
has handmade gifts and trinkets and Explore Booksellers, a great independent
bookstore! Since I can't go in a bookstore without buying at least one
book, I had to buy two! My reading list is getting quite long. I'd
like to visit Sanibel Island later this summer and read The House on Mermaid
Point at the beach! Lost Luggage is set in the three European cities I
visited last year: London, Paris, and Barcelona so of course I had to buy it! The evening was spent around the pool with a book (and occasional trips in the pool to cool down).
The next morning, we visited Ashcroft Ghost Town. Some of the structures were original and we were even able to walk around the hotel. I was surprised that the city was occupied for less than five years during the silver boom.
In the afternoon, we took a trail ride at T Lazy-7 Ranch. The trail went through Aspen trees and through the mountains. It was gorgeous! Afterwards, we visited the Aspen Historical Society museum and went to Le Creperie du Village for dinner. The museum featured history of the Ute as well as the founding of Aspen. At Le Creperie du Village, we sat outside right on the sidewalks of main street and our table had couches for chairs. My "Big Apple" crepe was even better than the ones I had in Paris! We concluded our trip in Aspen with the a sunset beaver tour from Aspen Center for Environmental Studies. We walked around Hallam Lake and through the trees and were able to spot one beaver carrying a tree branch to add to its dam! It was the perfect way to end a lovely vacation!
After a long, dark, lonely drive featuring mountain passes, hairpin turns, flooding, and detours, I finally arrived home about 1 AM this morning. Aspen ranks highly among my favorite cities. With mountains all around, snowmelt streams everywhere, and forests of Aspen trees, it has to be one the most beautiful places on earth. I definitely want to return in the winter to ski sometime!
I have a trip to New Mexico planned in early August, but I'd like to visit or re-visit a couple more Colorado cities if I can this summer. Any suggestions on which should top my list?
17/7/2014 09:30:55 am
I was hoping to go to Estes Park next week, and now I'm definitely going to have to because this post is really making me want to go to the mountains! I love how you always do so many different things when you go to a new town. My mom and I used to go to Aspen every summer for a "girls getaway," but we usually just walk/bike around the trails and eat! We haven't done nearly the stuff there that you did! Now I want to go back just so I can visit the ghost town and do the trail ride. :) And eat some crepes!
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Hi, I’m Crystal! I love to travel and am currently a graduate student in Scotland. You’ll get all the best tips and insights from my experiences as a former ice-skating coach in Iceland and former study abroad student. Of the 27 countries I have visited, a type 1 diabetes diagnosis has been the strangest land yet. Type 1 has not slowed down my travels and you'll learn how to take type 1 with you on the road! You can connect with me further on Instagram @CrystalChilcott, or send me ideas of where I should travel next via email: firstname.lastname@example.orgHappy Travels, Crystal
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