What to pack for a Colorado-cation

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One of the perks of my life is that I have friends all over the country and although I’d prefer them to be close by, I love an excuse to travel to visit them! For our 30th Birthday, one of my best friends, Liz and I decided to take a trip out to Colorado and each visit one of our friends that had moved away.  I was out to visit Ann and she was out to visit Andrea.  Together we packed one suitcase, left for Milwaukee at 2:45am  (Thanks Mom and Dad for the 3am donuts and ride!) and was in Denver, Co. by 8am bright-eyed and bushy-tailed!  Upon our arrival we had a few ideas of what we kind of wanted to do, but nothing much planned as a definite which can make packing a little more difficult.  Here is my ‘cation’ series on what to pack when you go to Colorado!

After our morning of slap happiness laughter and napping in our designated nap zones (best host ever.. and best nap ever) we were ready to explore parts of the city!

In a matter of minutes you could be freezing with the sun under the clouds to sweating and roasting the minute the sun decided to show through.  You can be hiking in the foothills, drive an hour and be in the snow-covered mountains.  If I had to give you one piece of advice when considering what to pack for Colorado in the spring : in one word… LAYERS!!  You will need shorts and pants, tank top and long-sleeved shirt, wind breaker jacket and sunscreen.

Right away Liz and I could feel the effects of altitude change.  They don’t call Denver 5280 for nothing being a mile above 0.  One of the main issues is staying hydrated!  Drink an abundance of water which means I would pack a water bottle to take with you! Of course, you can purchase one once you get there but don’t wait, it makes the world of difference.  Note *You will also get drunk faster than people who are already acclimated to the altitude so be prepared to be a cheap date.

I was so excited for fresh mountain air and had in my mind that the air would be so rejuvenating -I was sooo wrong!  DRY! The air is gritty, dusty and dry!  Pack moisturizer hand, body, and face!  I would say pack a humidifier if I would think people could fit that in their suitcase, but alas, you probably can’t so just drink lots and lots of water.

Now, there were some clear differences being a hiking novice like myself vs. a hiking pro  that I would like to point out.  I like to hike like the best of them, however, let me be clear that what I call hiking in Madison or Chicago is what Denversodians would call walking for a long time. 😉  Ann, who has climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro, took Liz and I hiking and there were some clear differences in how we were dressed (also how much air we were huffing, but that’s not what this blog post is about;) ) . Don’t let not being totally prepared stop you because we got by just fine- I’ll just point out the differences now…

Ann: Camel Back for water so she doesn’t have to stop.  Hiking boots for traction and rocks.  She has multiple pairs, some that aren’t as heavy-duty for warmer days.  What you can’t see is that she also has a waterproof bag with a roll of toilet paper, hand sanitizer, a knife, rope, reflector heat blanket thing, you know… those life saving survival things.

Liz and Myself: Each had a water bottle so we had no choice but to make pit stops to drink… bummer. 😉   Tennis Shoes which forced us to walk like mountain lions down the steep and rocky inclines. A snack pack which was just that- a pack for our snacks (and our cell phones).

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It is safe to say in this scenario Ann would live and we would die.  Although she assured us she would share so we would all live!  Now that’s a friend!

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It would not have been a complete Denver Vacation if I would not have showed-off my skills and practiced yoga on the rocks which always makes the most sense to practice when you are one off-balance motion to your death, but alas I sacrificed and did it anyway. 😉   Props to the real yogi’s who actually make this look good! This is why this blog is perfectly imperfect!

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Pack your swimsuit and flip flops for the hot springs.  Your silver jewelery will turn this copperish color in the water so I suggest you don’t wear it.  An interesting fact about Sulphur is it is supposed to be very detoxifying (similar to Epson Salts, etc) because it is all negative ions.  As humans who are around phones, computers, signals, etc we have so many positive ions so the Sulphur’s negative ions bond with our positive detoxifying us.  This also allows us to sleep better!IMG_2474

I would definitely check out what sports games and concerts are happening during the time you are there because there is so much do!  We hit up opening weekend of the Rockies vs. Cubs so I sported my purple shirt and Andrea lent me a Colorado Rockies baseball hat and Liz a shirt.  Being a Brewer’s fan I could not cheer on the Cubs so I went local! I also learned to whistle – with my fingers. For real!!  I’m still practicing.  We hit the capital and we went to Red Rock Amphitheatre, and not to mention all the breweries!

The trick to visiting friends, especially friends that probably have frequent out-of-town guests is to know when to rest and when to go.  Know when to spend and know when to save.  And above all respect and be flexible with the lifestyle and work of the people you are visiting and staying with.

What made our trip so special is that we probably hung out with a solid 10 different gals- all friends of friends, neighbors, girlfriends, etc and everyone had a ball together!  I am a firm believer that like attracts like! Liz’s friends posses similar amazing qualities that Liz has so no wonder I loved them all!  I could not have asked for better company or a better time.   The quote that sums up the trip and takes the cake for the best quote (there were a lot to compete with) :

“I cannot laugh and Parkour at the same time!”

Hopefully your trip will have as many laugh so hard you cry moments as mine did! I don’t know if it is the altitude but I’m much funnier a mile in the sky. 🙂

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