Colorado 2013

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I had to go to Colorado Springs in March 2013 for work, so hubby tagged along to explore Colorado…and to go ice climbing.  Here’s the thing – he is a Floridian, and until we arrived in Colorado, he had never seen snow…and he wanted to go ice climbing!!  Ya.  More on that in a minute.

On our way from the airport to the hotel, we stopped at Cave of the Winds for the lantern tour.  The caves are beautiful, and the stories and history surrounding them is really neat!  The lantern tour is kind of like a ghost tour because you go off the beaten path, so to speak, and you only have lanterns to light your way.  At one point they have everyone blow out their lanterns to listen for ghosts.

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The cave was actually very beautiful. This the start of our tour, before we got to the lanterns and darkness.

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Yep. Just darkness and lanterns. It was neat.

Also, there was a blizzard on the day that we arrived.  Fortunately the predicted snow never came, but we experienced the wind and bitterness of a blizzard for the first time.  And, actually, it delayed hubby’s ice climbing by a day because it was actually too cold to ice climb.

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The blizzard on its way.

I did not go ice climbing because I was working when he went, but I would like to try it someday.  He did his homework and ended up in touch with a local guy who teaches people how to do it and provides the necessary equipment (ice axe and crampons). Of course the day they went was the day that my phone died in the middle of the day so we had no way of reaching out if something happened.  That was not a good feeling, but all turned out well (thank goodness).  Hubby had a blast.

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Crampons are necessary for ice climbing. Hubby was loving them.

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His ice axes.

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I’m so glad he got to do this. 🙂

On the days of my conference, hubby went out adventuring on his own.  He did some hiking and rappelling.

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The trails were icy.

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Hubby took this pic while ascending the “plastic” ice.

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His view from the top. Doesn’t it look like plastic?

The last day of my conference was a half-day, so hubby took me out to Cheyenne Mountain where they went ice climbing.  He was so excited to take me there because he knew I would love it.  Hubby brought his rope and canyoneering gear on this trip (which made for interesting trip through airport security).  We hiked up the icy paths of the mountain and decided to rappel down because the paths were just too icy and we did not have crampons for gripping the ice.

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It was a cold. icy day during this hike. It was much colder on this day than it was on the day that they went ice climbing.

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Rappelling down because the path was too icy.

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Although it may look like you can just walk right down this hill, it was icy and steeper than it looks.

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On our second rappel down, I topped to make a snow angel.

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Rappelling down the side of a mountain.

We also decided to go snowboarding at Monarch Mountain while we were out there.  We extended our stay so that we could do that.  I was very impressed with Monarch Mountain.  Before we went there, I thought of skiing as snobbery and hoity-toity, so I was apprehensive…because, well, we aren’t those things.

We decided snowboarding was more our style than skiing, so we signed up for lessons because we had never been snowboarding before.  We heard it was easier to learn, which made it more appealing, too!  Our teacher, Nick, was a cool guy and a fantastic teacher.  He broke down the techniques and simplified it.  Of course, hubby and his daredevil self was moving ahead of us putting both feet in the bindings right away and starting at the top of the bunny hill when the rest of us were with one foot bound and starting mid-way down the hill.

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We Floridians got to use the ice scraper that came with our rental car!

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Hubby on the slopes.

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That would be me.

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In the caterpillar going to the top of the bunny hill.

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This was one of many of my falls on one of the beginner slopes. Hubby came over to check on me.

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His first snow angel.

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The weather was beautiful. We were actually shedding layers because the sun was so warm. And I wound up with a pretty bad sun/wind burn. I always associated sunburns with the beach…not the snow. Go figure. Lesson learned!

We stopped to see The Royal Gorge Bridge on our back from snowboarding.  The park was closed, but we were still able to see the bridge and the massive gorge that it crosses!

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Sun and wind burnt from snowboarding all day, but having a great time. Royal Gorge.

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It’s amazing that things like this exist. I am grateful that we are able to visit places like this.

On our last day, we went to Garden of the Gods.  Of course, I was in awe of the red rocks.  We hiked a little but we drove through the park stopping periodically.

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The white capped mountain in the distance is Pike’s Peak. We didn’t make it over there because the Cog Train times didn’t work with our schedule.

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Hubby fixing the leaning rocks.

To prepare for this trip we:

  • Read up on dressing for March in Colorado (we’re Floridians, remember, we don’t own super warm clothing)
  • Went back to our local adventure outfitter store to get base layers and long underwear, warm socks, and other appropriate clothing and layers for skiing.

For me, Colorado fits into the “nice place to visit” category.  Colorado is beautiful, but I would not want to live there.  Experiencing a blizzard with the wind cutting through me despite my many layers did not make me very happy.  And, although it may have been extreme amounts of snow (I think 12-24 inches predicted) I think that would have made it more tolerable because we would have seen lots of snow for the first time.

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To see more of our travel adventures, go to the Travel tab at the top or click here.

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3 responses »

  1. Great photos! I love your Colorado escapade! Looks like you really had a great time. I love the ice climbing and snowboard experience, plus the Garden of the Gods so awesome! I think I should visit this place too : ) .. Anyway, thanks for sharing! : )

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