Exploring Colorado with my brother
Earlier this month I had the joy of going on a week long trip exploring Colorado in the Rocky Mountains with my little brother. It was a MUCH needed break from work and the stress of my husband being gone on deployment!!! Plus it gave me an entire WEEK to pick on my brother since I don’t get to see him that often! You know, sibling love!
I’m so so so thankful to my parents for sending us out on this trip together and to have such a wonderful family who spoils me with trips or flights home to visit!
My brother and I both flew in to the Denver airport on the 2nd and we made our way to Vail, CO to where we stayed at the Vail Run Resort for the week! It’s a nice little resort that’s very rustic and I love that each room has it’s own kitchen space for us to cook our own meals in!
On our way to Vail we stopped in at Frisco, CO to eat at the Backcountry Brewery where David and I had went to on our anniversary earlier this year in June while traveling through to Minnesota! Since we’ve been living in Southern California now for 2.5 years I’ve become addicted to really good tacos!!! Backcountry Brewery has two of my favorite things! Mango fish tacos and beer! What more can a girl ask for!
So if you’re a beer and taco lover like myself and you’re exploring Colorado, be sure to check them out! Their mango fish taco’s are SO amazing!
Lower Piney Trail
Our second day exploring Colorado we didn’t get out of the resort until later in the afternoon! You know! While on vacation relax and sleep in!
We started our daily exploring Colorado adventures by driving out the the Lower Piney Trail outside of Vail. Little did I know the GPS didn’t really know where the trail head was so we winged it! We ended up driving for an hour on a very bumpy road but we made it!
We didn’t get to hike too far into this trail because we didn’t know it would take that long to drive back to it. The mile that we were able to hike on it before we had to head back to the resort was gorgeous!!! We stopped by a beautiful little creek on the trail and I loved the fall colors that were starting to peek out!
So if you’re planning to hike this trail, heads up that it takes a while to get to it and the road isn’t very car friendly. I’d recommend a crossover or truck for sure.
The Red Rocks Amphitheater
Later that evening we made the drive back to Denver to go to the Red Rocks Amphitheater! This was recommended to me from several of the amazing ladies on the Girls Love Travel Facebook group and it was pretty awesome!
The music we got to hear was more modern day pop music with a fun twist to it! Not a live band sadly but still fun to listen to! I was really surprised by how long they played too! We arrived at 4:30 PM and the event went all the way until 11:30 PM.
I was a little bummed though when we looked up who was playing that week at the Red Rocks Amphitheater. One of my favorite bands, Nickelback, was going to be playing there three days after we left Colorado! Next time I guess or maybe they’ll come visit California!
Another lesson I learned while we were on vacation is that I am GREAT at losing my Oakley’s sunglasses! No joke I’m on my third pair now within the last 2 years! They seem to like to jump out of my purse! Lucky for me my brother actually likes shopping (rare I know!) and we both found new shades the next day! Exploring Colorado in STYLE!
FaceTiming my Hubby and a Lazy Day!
After a LONG night the day before my brother and I decided to have a VERY lazy day! We went shopping for our new Oakley’s, grabbed lunch, and came back to the resort to watch an entire day of Criminal Minds replays!
My handsome hubby was able to FaceTime us too which I’m so happy I got a chance to talk to him and see his handsome face! Since he’s been on deployment communication has been limited so I take every opportunity I can to FaceTime him the few times he’s able to!
Later that evening I lounged by the pool and read my Nora Roberts book while my brother grilled steaks for dinner! Yes he cooks too!!! I’d say my little brother is pretty darn awesome and I’m a lucky sister that’s for sure!
Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte’s while Exploring Colorado
A fall vacation is not complete unless you get a Pumpkin Spice Latte from Starbucks! In my opinion anyways! Admittedly I am one of those people that loves pumpkin spice everything and I get all giddy when it’s finally that time of year again!
One of the things I love about Starbucks is that they hire military spouses and veterans! Being a military spouse myself that’s important to me and I love supporting businesses that support our military members + their families!
The Grotto’s Trail in Aspen, CO
It was a fairly easy trail to hike and it was SO SO SO pretty!!!! We had originally went here to see the ice caves but couldn’t find them. We did see the Cascades there though which was really fun to see a series of several mini waterfalls and how the water smoothed the rocks!
My brother being the farm boy that he is decided to jump across several times to different rocks in the center of the river to get a different view! I, however, was not that brave to do it with my professional camera in hand.
On our way back to the car after we were finished hiking the trail we found a spot to sit on a rock at the edge of the river where we enjoyed an afternoon snack and skipped some rocks!
The Grotto’s Trail was a BEAUTIFUL trail and I highly recommend it to anyone visiting Aspen, CO!
The Maroon Bells
After the Grotto’s Trail we headed to see The Maroon Bells during sunset! From the parking lot it wasn’t a far walk at all. During the day parking is limited and you have to take a shuttle but after 6 PM visitors are able to drive all the way up.
This spot was one of my favorites! Not only because it’s one of the most popular mountain spots for photographers to visit but simply because it is a STUNNING view with the mountain reflection mirroring into the lake!
We arrived a couple hours before sunset so we did a little exploring around the lake and along the trail further down before we went back to our spot at the beginning of the lake to photograph the Maroon Bells at sunset!
We waited for an hour or so at our spot on the lake to photograph the Maroon Bells! It was so worth it! My brother I don’t think realized what it would be like to take a vacation with a photographer though!
Towards the end he willingly let me take a photo of him in front of the Maroon Bells just so we could head back to the resort! Which for the record is rare for him to WILLINGLY take a photo!
The Maroon Bells is definitely a location that would be STUNNING to have an elopement at or an engagement session at! I fully plan on coming back here to photograph some beautiful couples! I just can’t get over how absolutely gorgeous it is here! Especially in September with some of the fall colors coming out!
So if you’re going to be exploring Colorado be sure to check out the Maroon Bells at sunset! If you’re thinking of eloping or doing your engagement session here, hey girl hey! We should TOTALLY connect!
Storm King Fourteen Memorial Trail
On the fifth day of exploring Colorado we tried to go visit the Hanging Lake in Glenwood Canyon. Sadly the trail was closed for maintenance that week. Instead we made plans to try to go hike the Storm King Fourteen Memorial Trail.
The trail is marked as difficult but it’s a shorter trail so we figured we’d give it a try.
At the beginning of the trail they have signs telling us about the trail and how it was created to honor the 14 firefighters who lost their lives here fighting a fire. It was so sad reading about each firefighter knowing that their lives were cut too short.
They created this trail in their memory and for everyone to see what it’s like for a firefighter to hike through the unpaved mountain terrain to fight the fires.
As we hiked up the trail there were several tree stumps with coins pounded into them called The Wishing Stumps. You pound a coin in and make a wish.
My brother and I only made it halfway through the trail. We’re not seasoned hikers by any means so by the halfway point our legs were shaking and I couldn’t breathe. So we ended up heading back down the trail but it really gave us a new appreciation to what the firefighters go through to protect us.
Holy Cross Wilderness – Eagle Ranger District Wilderness Trail
Since it was early evening yet my brother and I decided to try the Holy Cross Wilderness – Eagle Ranger District Wilderness Trail in Eagle, CO. It’s a 13.5 mile out and back trail that is very scenic as it goes through the wooded areas, the meadows, and by the creek that runs through it.
We started the hike at 6 PM and were only able to make it in about 2 miles before we had to turn around to head back before dark.
This trail is another one of my favorites from our trip! I just LOVE all of the beautiful aspen tree’s that surrounded us on this trail and the fall colors! It was a beautiful hike to see closer to sunset during the Golden Hour!
On our way back to the car on the hike my brother got a surprise visitor who was curious who he was. A cute little squirrel peeked it’s head around the tree to check us out! Then it scurried back up the tree!
I definitely recommend this hike to anyone out exploring Colorado so be sure to check it out! Next time I come back I will be coming back to do the full hike for sure!
Horseback Riding at the Rusty Spurr
Our sixth day of exploring Colorado we went trailriding at The Rusty Spurr Ranch outside of Kremling, CO. It was a bit further of a drive for us from Vail but it was one of the only trail rides open in September and it was WELL worth the drive!!!
The road to get to the ranch had a sign for it at the end so we could find it and the dirt road that went 4.5 miles to the ranch was long and winding.
The people at the ranch were very welcoming and super sweet. We arrived an hour early so I could spend more time with the horses since I’m such a horse lover!
We chose to do the two hour trail ride and I LOVED how this trail wasn’t the standard “nose to butt” trail ride that I normally end up going on when I travel and go riding!
My horse, Ricochet, was such a sweet boy with such kind, curious eyes!
We rode through their ranch through the brush, the aspen tree groves, up the mountains, and back.
Our wrangler, Bart, was a pretty cool guy too! He grew up here in Colorado and is only back for the summer but he does the Western Show for Disney over in Paris, France. So it was pretty cool hearing his stories about Paris and living there!
I HIGHLY recommend this trail ride if you’re wanting to go riding while you’re exploring Colorado! They’re such great people and they’re one of the few trail riding ranches that I’ve seen that actually really care about their horses! Which is so important!
Booth Falls Trail in Vail, CO
The second to last day of exploring Colorado we were able to hike one more trail! We hiked the Booth Falls Trail just outside of Vail. It was only a 10 minute drive from our resort and was absolutely GORGEOUS with the fall colors!!! It’s rated as a moderate trail.
Since it was R.E.D Friday (Remember Everyone Deployed) and it was one of our last days exploring Colorado I was missing my husband a little bit extra.
Throughout our hikes on our trip we had seen so many names carved into the aspen trees along the trails. So my brother and I both carved initials into a tree while we were on this hike. So my brother and I both did one of our own. I did one for my husband and I since I was missing him extra that day and I can’t wait to show it to him next time we visit!
The entire hike was filled with beautiful scenery and while we were resting at one spot a tiny little chipmunk came closer to use to check us out! It was so tiny and so cute! Definitely a cool experience!
90% of the way through this hike we ended up getting rained out for a short bit and we decided to head back after seeing more rain was coming! Which was a bummer since I was hoping to see the waterfall but I’ll be back!
I highly recommend this trail when you’re visiting!!!
Staying Deployment Strong
Being a military spouse and going through deployment isn’t easy. There’s good days and there’s bad days. Thankfully I’ve been able to stay strong a majority of this deployment so far which I’m thankful for! I’m also very thankful for all of the amazing support from our family and friends!
Before heading out to go exploring Colorado with my little brother I had a custom deployment sweatshirt made so I could wear it on R.E.D Friday’s! R.E.D stands for “Remember Everyone Deployed”. I had this beautiful custom sweatshirt designed by Funky Rabbit Co. which is run by another military spouse!
Since our second to last day in Colorado was a Friday I got to wear my deployment sweatshirt and have my brother take photos for me in it while we were there!
I absolutely love the quote on the back of my sweatshirt and it holds so much meaning to me! It says…
“Together forever, never apart, maybe in distance, but never in heart.”
No matter the distance my husband will always be with me in my heart! Always!
Friends Coffee Date at Rocky Mountain Coffee Roasters
Saturday was our last day here exploring Colorado. We woke up early to get backed and then headed to Frisco so I could meet my beautiful photographer friend, Emily, for a coffee date at Rocky Mountain Coffee Roasters before we left for home!
I met this beautiful lady back in June when my husband and I stopped in Frisco for the day for our anniversary and we did a session swap together! You can see the beautiful anniversary photos Emily took for us here and you can see the gorgeous couples photos I did for her and Ben here!
I’m so glad we got to get together again while I was in the area to catch up on life and exchange business tips! So thankful to have this beautiful lady as a friend!!! Can’t wait to head back there to see her again or for her to head out to Cali for a visit!
One of the most amazing things about being a creative business owner is all the incredible people you get to meet and make friends with along the way! Which I am SO thankful for!
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