Colorado Travel Guide: Boreas Pass + Giveaway Winners!

Every season in Colorado is beautiful, but autumn is especially lovely. On a recent trip into the mountains to admire the changing colors my family decided to explore a new to us part of Colorado and drive through Boreas Pass. We ended up driving to the summit and then turning around instead of going the whole length of the pass but it was so pretty that I had to share it with all of you.

But first, I have some giveaway winners to announce! Emily Robberson and Sarah Subramanian I’ve sent you an email to get your prizes to you!

Boreas pass is a dirt road that goes between Fairplay and Breckenridge. My family started in Fairplay and turned towards Como where the road over the pass starts. The road is fairly rough and can be pretty narrow in places so this is not a good road if you don’t have a car that can easily navigate dirt roads or if you have a fear of mountain driving.

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The views are incredible and the aspens lining the road are gorgeous!

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That moment when you delete the wrong picture and you have a truck in the middle of your view.

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The summit of Boreas Pass intersects with the Continental Divide and is at 11,482 feet in elevation.

This is a really beautiful part of Colorado and I highly recommend visiting if you are looking for a place to admire the autumn foliage.

What are your favorite places to admire the autumn scenery? Let me know in the comments!

~Maizy

Unless I let you know otherwise, my posts aren’t sponsored by any of the companies whose products I mention. I won’t accept sponsorships from companies whose products I don’t use all the time and think are really great. However, links marked with an * are affiliate links. Should you click on the links and make a purchase, at no extra cost to you, I’ll go add to my growing stash of tea, or pay the fines on that library book that I couldn’t put down for a month.

Hiking Pikes Peak: My First Fourteener!

On Saturday, July 16, I hiked my first fourteener! A fourteener is a mountain that is between 14,000 and 15,000 feet in elevation. It was REALLY hard. The trail itself was surprisingly easy but the combination of altitude and sheer length of the trail made this a very difficult hike. This post isn’t going to be part of my Colorado Travel Guide series but I do plan to write a post for that series about the Colorado fourteeners after I have hiked a few more.

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Me and the ladies I hiked with

I hiked Pike’s Peak with three other ladies from my church. The summit is 14,110 feet in elevation and the trail is 12.7 miles long. My group started at the trailhead at 5:00 in the morning in order to reach the summit by early afternoon. Storms, especially lightning storms, are very common at high elevation especially in the afternoon. We hiked for about 3.5 hours and stopped at the halfway point, Barr camp to rest a bit and refill our water bottles. There is no running water on the trail that is safe to drink so bring a filter, or bring a lot of water. I drank two 70 ounces (two liters) on the first half and 118 ounces on the second half. Drinking lots of water is more important the farther up you go because it helps with altitude sickness. There is a stream at Barr camp where you can refill (with a filter or you will get giardia) and according to one member of my group there is a runoff stream a little ways down from A frame camp and off from the trail. It was dry when I was there so I would not count on filling up there. I didn’t start to feel the altitude until we got above treeline. After treeline you climb about 5,000 feet in 3 miles. Once I got to the top the altitude kicked I started feeling a bit nauseous and I was really tired but I never got altitude sickness thankfully. After hiking Pike’s Peak  I feel a bit more serious about hiking more fourteeners because I know how hard it is but I also am excited because I’ve proven to myself that I can do it.

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Me and one of the ladies on the hike

Here are my takeaways from the hike.

  • HYDRATION IS ABSOLUTELY VITAL! I drank twice my normal amount the day before the hike as well as during the hike and I attribute how well I did with the altitude entirely to that.
  • Eat something before. I carb loaded the night before the hike and packed lots of carby and sugary snacks to make sure I had enough energy but I wish that I had remembered to eat something like toast with almond butter before I left for the hike so that I had something in my stomach before I started.
  • Wear light layers. The temperature fluctuates so make sure that you can take things off and put them on easily.
  • Every time I stopped, my body could have kept going but I had to convince my mind that I could finish the hike. Your body can do a lot more than you think you can.
  • Whoever said that the 16 golden stairs were the very end of the hike lied because there are definitely more than 16 switchbacks before you reach the summit.
  • Mt. Bierstadt, here I come!
  • Be prepared to hike all the way back down, or have someone drive to the summit to pick you up. Not all fourteeners have a road to the summit.

~Maizy

Unless I let you know otherwise, my posts aren’t sponsored by any of the companies whose products I mention. I won’t accept sponsorships from companies whose products I don’t use all the time and think are really great. However, links marked with an * are affiliate links. Should you click on the links and make a purchase, at no extra cost to you, I’ll go add to my growing stash of tea, or pay the fines on that library book that I couldn’t put down for a month.

Colorado Travel Guide: Rocky Mountain National Park

Happy Independence Day!

Rocky Mountain National Park is a stunning part of Colorado, filled with rugged mountains, dense forests, powerful rivers, and freezing tundras where summer never comes. It is the home of Long’s Peak, the highest mountain in Colorado as well as the source of the Colorado River, which makes its way through the country, eventually winding its way through the Grand Canyon. It is one of my favorite places to hike and camp, or just take a day trip to drive around and see the beautiful views. An entrance to the park is located just outside of Estes Park, Colorado.

I recently camped in the park to explore and get some higher altitude hiking in before I hike my first fourteener (also known as mountians that are at least fourteen thousand feet in elevation).  Please note that Rocky Mountain National Park is a high elevation park. Make sure to stay hydrated and watch for signs of altitude sickness, which can be life threatening. If you are from a much lower elevation than most of Colorado I would reccommend taking a few days to acclimate to the elevation in a place with access to medical assistance before attempting a hike in the park.

The first hike I did was to Fern Lake, I got caught in the rain so I didn’t make it all the way to the lake, but the views were incredible and the foliage and wildflowers were beautiful. Make sure to bring bug spray and wear long pants/sleeves, the mosquitoes were fierce.

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The second hike I did was in the Wild Basin area the trail passes a series of waterfalls and ends at a lake. Again, I got caught in the rain so I didn’t make it all of the way to the lake but I made it five miles in and saw three of the waterfalls.

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Before you leave the park, make sure to drive over Trail Ridge Road. It is the highest paved road in the United States and takes you through all of the various eocsystems in the park. The first is Montane, the thick mountian forests with a large diversity of animal and plant life. Next is Subalpine, which is located just before and after treeline, where the elevation makes it too difficult for trees to grow. The last is Alpine Tundra, summer seems to never come here and there is always snow on the ground.

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the view of the park from Trail Ridge Road

While on Trail Ridge Road we stopped near the trail head for Mt. Ida, there was a short trail above this lake that was quite lovely.

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I never realized before this trip that there is a National Scenic Trail along the Continental Divide that goes all the way from New Mexico, through Colorado, Wyoming, and Idaho, to Montana. Backpacking along that trail is definitely something that I want to do in the next five years.

I hope you enjoyed this and got another idea for your next visit to Colorado!

~Maizy

Check out my Colorado Travel Guide posts about Estes Park pt. 1Estes Park pt. 2, The Celestial Seasonings Tea FactoryBishop’s Castle, and The Hanging Lake Trail.

Unless I let you know otherwise, my posts aren’t sponsored by any of the companies whose products I mention. I won’t accept sponsorships from companies whose products I don’t use all the time and think are really great. However, links marked with an * are affiliate links. Should you click on the links and make a purchase, at no extra cost to you, I’ll go add to my growing stash of tea, or pay the fines on that library book that I couldn’t put down for a month.

Colorado Travel Guide: Hanging Lake Trail

Hello!

The Hanging Lake Trail is a beautiful hike of a little more than one mile, located just off of eastbound I-70 about 15 minutes east of Glenwood Springs, CO. The hike is strenuous but doable for most abilities. The trail never gets hot, there is a thick cover of trees the length of the canyon, and there are benches spaced fequently throughout the length of the trail for the tired hiker.

The parking lot can only be reached from eastbound I-70 and fills up very quickly. I reccomend arriving before 7:00 if you want to avoid waiting in line. You can also park in Glenwood Springs, or any of three rest areas near the trail take the bike trail that runs along the Colorado River and connects all of those stops and simply lock your bike up before hiking the trail, if you decide to do this, however, you will need to be sure that you won’t be too tired to bike back to your car, and during the spring run off, parts of the trail are closed due to the Colorado River flooding the trail. Once you’ve parked, or bike to the Hanging Lake rest area there is a short walk along the same bike path that I mentioned to get to the trail head. The path is lined with wild rose bushes and other wild flowers and has breath taking views of the river and the Glenwood Canyon.

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The sun rise hits the canyon later than it does the rest of the world so you can leave Glenwood when the sun is up and still see the sun rise in the canyon (It’s stunning).

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As I said before the trail is strenuous. This is what the most difficult parts of the trail look like up until the final strech. The last bit of the trail is in stair steps. The steps can be quite tall but there are not many of them and there are two places to step aside and take a rest, with more beautiful views of the canyon.

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Once you get to the top of the stairs follow the walkway to your right and just around the corner you will see the most beautiful crystal clear lake that makes the whole hike all of the hiking and climbing worth it. There is a walkway around half of the lake with benches to rest on and places to take pictures and admire the lake and the waterfall that is its source.

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Later in the summer there will be yellow columbines growing along the lake!

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You may think that coming down will be easier than going up but while you won’t get as winded the steepness will be jarring to your joints so take it slowly and you’ll see things like this waterfall that you might have missed on the way up. The view is different in every season so the surroundings never get boring.

Be sure to also check out By Quiet Waters’ post about Hanging Lake, to find out about the short walk from the lake to Spouting Rock.

~Maizy

If you would like to read more from my Colorado Travel Guide series, check out my posts one Estes Park, CO pt. 1 and pt. 2, the Celestial Seasonings Tea Factory, and Bishop’s Castle.

Unless I let you know otherwise, my posts aren’t sponsored by any of the companies whose products I mention. I won’t accept sponsorships from companies whose products I don’t use all the time and think are really great; you know I’m classier than that;). However, links marked with an * are affiliate links. Should you click on the links and make a purchase, I’ll go add to my growing stash of tea, or pay the fines on that library book that I couldn’t put down for a month.

 

Fashion Friday: Chilly Spring Days + Big News!

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Hello!

Spring in Colorado can be a bit unpredictable. We get days where the temperature is in the 60s and 70s and days when it gets all the way down to the 40s. Today I’m sharing an outfit that is perfect for when the weather cools off a bit.

I took all of these pictures at Bishop’s Castle. Colorado Travel Guide: Bishop’s Castle

Before I get into the outfit though, I have some exciting news. I am the style intern for The Refugee Project based in Houston, TX! I will be sharing styling ideas and ways to use their products, as well as stories and information about the awesome work they are doing on their blog and social media. If you want to keep up to date with what I’m doing with them, hop on over to their blog and follow the Refugee Project on Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest. (the blog will be coming soon!)

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I was a little bit terrified in this photo, there was a metal grating and very few supports between me and a stone roof about 50 feet down.

For my outfit I paired some flare jeans from American Eagle with a plain black Tshirt, and tied a blue plaid button down around my waist. My shoes, visible in the first photo, are some black converse.

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tee unkown source/ similar, plaid sold out/similar, jeans

What has the weather been like in your area? What outfits have you been loving lately?

Have a great day!

~Maizy

Colorado Travel Guide: Bishop’s Castle

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Hello!

I have another travel guide post for you all! Bishop’s Castle is a beautiful stone castle that was hand built by a man named Jim Bishop. You can explore and wander through the entire castle. It’s really amazing, and slightly terrifying. Don’t worry, noone has died on it….yet.

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After Memorial Day, the dragon breathes fire!

 

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These stained glass windows were all throughout the castle.
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My mom, in one of the towers of the castle.
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An almost exact model of the castle.

If you live in Colorado, or are visiting, this is definitely something you have to see! It is free to visit but the current builder accepts donations. The donations are split between continuining work on the castle and a fund for infant heart surgery.

Have a great day!

~Maizy

Colorado Travel Guide: The Celestial Seasonings Tea Factory

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Hello!

The Celestial Seasonings factory is one of my favorite places and definitely a must see if you are visiting the Denver or Boulder area of Colorado. Celestial Seasonings has been around since 1969, they  source top-quality ingredients from all over the world and sell their teas in many different countries. They have a huge variety of flavors and many of their teas are organic and fair-trade certified. Some of my favorite teas are Sleepytime, Cranberry Vanilla Wonderland and Fast Lane. Their factory in Boulder is the only one in the world.

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The tour takes about 30 minutes and unfortunately, photos are not allowed. After the tour I highly reccomend spending some time in the tea shop and the sampling room. You can try out teas in the sampling room, and then buy them in the tea shop perfect, right? The tea shop has one of the best selections of their tea I have seen (surprise, surprise, I know) so whenever I visit I stock up on all of the teas that I can’t find anywhere else.

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The Sleepytime Bear

Have you visited the Celestial Seasonings factory? What did you think?

Have a great day!

~Maizy

Colorado Travel Guide: Estes Park pt. 2

Hello everyone!

Today I have my second post about Estes Park. I will be telling you about the shops that did not involve food.

Macdonald Bookstore

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I can’t resist a good bookstore, and this is the best one I have ever visited. It smells like old books and it has comfy chairs that you can curl up in to read by their wood fire. I always find something different when I visit but they usually have the most beautifully illustrated children’s classics and the last time I went they had leather bound Austens, and beautiful collections of Shakespeare’s and Conan Doyle’s complete works.

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This shop has really beautiful glass pieces and the artists do free demonstrations throughout the day. The piece that is being made in the pictures is the same color and design as the finished bowls in the pictures.

Weaver’s Attic

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At the Weaver’s Attic is a weaving store, a loom/spinning museum, and a place for a community of weavers to work on projects together. We met one of the weavers while we were there who told us the history of their three looms and some of the projects that were in process.

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This was the first loom, they were just tying on a new project.

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This was the second loom, and the one with the capability for the most variety of patterns. They were weaving a rug out of old saris, or Indian dresses. Isn’t it beautiful?

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This was the last loom. They had several projects on the same weft the one pictured was almost done and they had enough weft for one more rug.

The Weaver’s Attic was in the Old Church Shops. An old church had been repurposed into a mall of sorts. There was a coffee shop that looked really cool but I didn’t have a chance as well as some other shops.

Tregent Park

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The last place I want to share with you is the riverside walk ending with Tregent Park. There is a river that runs behind the shops of one side of the town and then crosses over to Tregent Park on the other side. Its a really beautiful place to walk and because we visited right after Christmas all of the lights were still up and the park was enchanting at night.

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That’s all, I hope you visit Estes Park sometime.

Have a great day!

~Maizy

 

Colorado Travel Guide: Estes Park pt. 1

Hello!

Estes Park, Colorado is a delightful little town in northern Colorado at the entrance to Rock Mountain National Park. It is definitely a must-see if you ever visit Colorado, whether you stay in the town itself or spend a day there while visiting a different area. My family spent a weekend there a couple of weeks ago to relax and have some fun before the spring semester started. We spent a little bit of time in Rocky Mountain National Park, but it was really cold so we spent most of our time in the town and I took pictures at some of my favorite shops and restaurants to share with you all. I have several shops to share with you so I think I will split it up into restaurants and food related shops and non-food related shops.

Donut Haus

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Donut Haus was the most adorable little bakery. I had an amazing chocolate donut. My sister, who likes her donuts totally plain without flavor or icing said that they had the most perfect plain donut she had ever tried. Pick some up for breakfast in the morning, and go early, or you’ll just be buying coffe; when we stopped by in the afternoon, they had sold out.

 

Rocket Fizz

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There is a Rocket Fizz store near my home in Colorado Springs but the one in Estes Park is the best one I’ve visited. They have a huge variety of candies and soda. Just visiting and looking around is a really cool experience.

Estes Park Times and Old Fashioned Candy Store

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This store always has the most amazing window displays using candy and the two times I’ve visited around Christmas they have had elaborately decorated gingerbread houses that look really cool. Inside the store they have lots of different old-fashioned and modern candies in barrels and crates like you’ve stepped into a candy shop a hundred years ago. One of my favorite things about this shop and about Rocket Fizz is that they often have candies that I really like but that are hard to find in the stores I normally shop at.

Estes Park Taffy Company

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Speaking of candy, this taffy shop is the first taffy shop to be opened in Estes Park in 1935. You can watch them pulling the taffy and cutting and wrapping it using the same machinery they’ve been using since the 1940s. If you visit, try the peppermint and butter pecan flavors, they’re my favorite.

 

You Need Pie! and Shakes Alive!

You Need Pie! is a really fun bakery and diner. Go for breakfast or just go for the pie. My favorite is the blueberry. I haven’t had a chance to visit Shakes Alive! because it closes in the winter. If you visit in the summer before I do, tell me how it is.

Have a great day!

~Maizy