After taking Denver by storm in the first day of our vacation, we woke up on Sunday morning ready for a good cup of coffee. We didn’t have to venture very far, just a few blocks from our hotel was The Market in Larimer Square, where we indulged in big cups of coffee, flaky pastries, and a healthy serving of bacon and eggs. We joined the locals reading their hefty papers and consumed our breakfast on the sidewalk at tiny cafe tables, watching people bike up the street and loving every dog patiently waiting for an accidentally dropped crumb of a croissant. I want to remember just how perfect those moments felt, how relaxed and at ease we were.
After breakfast, we walked around the few streets we hadn’t yet explored in downtown Denver, then hopped in the car to drive to Aspen for the next part of our journey. The drive was hilly, but beautiful. Mike was especially infatuated with the runaway truck ramps placed after an especially steep grade. We wound our way through Independence Pass, along sharp turns with no guard rails and through two-way roads barely wide enough for our full-size car.
We pulled off at the top of Independence Pass, at the Continental Divide, to stretch our legs and take in the view. Just a few steps in, we were both gasping for air and trying to calm our racing hearts. But the view was well worth the trying walk from our car.
Once we arrived in Aspen, checked into our condo, and found parking (no small feat) we walked to the Aspen Mountain gondola, as it was the last day of the summer we would be able to venture to the top. Once inside our pod (I’m sure it has a more technical name, but that’s what I call it) with the doors shut, I looked over to a wide-eyed, white knuckled fiance.
“What’s wrong?!” I asked.
“I really, really hate these things,” Mike responded quietly.
Months of planning this trip, talking about taking the gondola to the top of the mountain, and never once had he mentioned his fear of heights and gondola rides.
Once we arrived safely at the top, we picked-up a few frisbees to play the disc golf course. The first nine holes were relatively easy, with only a few climbs that I thought I might never be able to catch my breath again. The back nine were impossibly difficult - with cliffs and steep climbs. We played to the point that I was certain I would not be able to climb back up the hill if required. The day ended with a few pints at Aspen Brewing Company, one of our favorite spots of our time in Aspen.