Escape to The Mountains

My sister in laws and I decided to make a pact to have an annual girl’s trip every summer. This is our second year doing this and let me stress how incredibly important it is to take some time out of your busy life to experience things in a different way. Girl’s trips are good for your mental health and I think we can all agree that mental health is essential!

This Summer we went to Colorado for a five-day vacation and it was every bit of breathtaking, venturesome and unforgettable. Let me start with some suggestions when packing for a summer trip to Colorado. I struggled with what to pack and ended up over packing. Here are some packing tips:

  • Layers, Layers, Layers! Colorado in the Summer has warm sunny days and cool starry nights.
  • We did experience some rain so keep your rain gear handy.
  •  Colorado has a lot of outdoor activities and hiking so you will want to bring lightweight t-shirts, shorts & jeans in addition to a pair of broken into hiking boots and or comfortable tennis shoes.
  • Small backpack for hiking!
  • A light sweater, rain jacket and thick socks for your shoes. You don’t want to get blisters while hiking. Ouch!
  • Most of the restaurants are very casual no need to bring fancy clothes unless you are planning on going to a fancy dinner or something like that and want to.
  •  If you are going rafting like we did make sure to bring some type of sport sandal or water shoe.
  • Don’t forget a swimsuit! We enjoyed the jacuzzi after our day of rafting and it was every bit of relaxing. Especially after a day of hiking, biking, riding, or rafting.
  • Sunglasses are a must!
  • Make sure to bring some sunscreen and lip balms as the air is very dry.
  • Make sure to bring medication that you may need such a Bonine or Dramamine. This was essential for me as I got altitude sickness and having this helped me tremendously.
  • Bring a portable water bottle with you. All three of us took our water bottles everywhere with us. Drink plenty of water- don’t forget!!  It is the number one way to help your body adjust to the higher altitude.

Hope that helped! Knowing in advanced what to pack for your summer mountain trip will ensure your trip is enjoyable.   

 We left on an early flight Thursday morning out of Austin, TX to Denver, Colorado which is about a 2hr and 15-minute flight. We then took a connecting flight to Colorado Springs which was approximately a 45-minute plane ride. When we landed, we got our rental car and drove to Colorado Springs.  Our first stop was to get something to eat. At this point we had been in an airport since 5 AM and all we wanted was some food. We stopped at this real cute restaurant (I can’t for the life of me remember the name) but it was so delicious and scenic!! We sat outside and ate and admired the gorgeous mountain scenery.  After brunch we had some time to kill before we checked into our tiny house. So, we did some thrift shopping (a thing we all three love to do) and after checked out a recreational cannabis store. It was neat! ? After that we drove to Manitou Springs, a super cute town in Colorado Springs, Colorado. We stayed at this tiny house for the next two days and that experience was a great one. Tiny houses are becoming the next big thing for travel when deciding on places to stay and are so cuuuuuuute. I know I am not alone in my quest for a cute photo opt for the gram! Not only are tiny houses economical but they are a lot cheaper than the standard hotel which is a plus for you adventure seekers looking for budget friendly accommodations. There were three of us in our tiny house and it was perfect. It had everything we needed. If you’re comfortable sharing a tiny bathroom with three girlfriends – then go for it. We kept our luggage in the car and just took down the essentials and went to the car to grab anything else we needed as the house wasn’t big enough for us to have our luggage’s with us. It worked though and neither one of us had a problem with that. Our table turned into a bed so one of us slept there on the main floor and two in the loft. I honestly feel that if there was one more person staying with us it would’ve been a little chaotic, in my opinion three to a tiny house is perfect! It had a mini-fridge, microwave, tv and a coffee maker. Bonus!  We weren’t far from grocery stores and restaurants. We were down the street from literally everything! The lady who we rented from was also one of the sweetest ladies. I would rent from her again! The tiny house experience, even for just a few days, hits the ultimate sweet spot. You’ll get great pictures and save some cash but the ultimate feeling for me was stepping out of the house onto the tiny porch and admiring the beauty of the mountains and trees surrounding me instead of the many box hotels I would’ve seen staying at a hotel. It felt intimate, real and absolutely one of the cutest things you’ve ever seen. 

While in Colorado Springs we did so much. We went to The Garden of The Gods and hiked and that was so much fun, but it was HOT! Drink plenty of water and I can’t emphasize this enough drink PLENTY of water. The Garden of the Gods is a registered National Natural Landmark and it is FREE to the public. The amazing red rocks are so beautiful! We enjoyed our hike so much and got so many great pictures. Make sure to visit this site if you are planning a trip to Colorado because with Pike’s Peak as a backdrop it makes it worth your while.

 Another great place we went while in Colorado Springs was to visit the Anasazi Cliff Dwellings. If you are a lover of history, then this is right up your alley. They have the pueblo museum and cave museum. It was 10$ for 12 and over and so worth it. We also went downtown Manitou Springs and had a lovely dinner outside at a fondue restaurant and walked the cute downtown streets of Manitou Springs. Our two days in Colorado Springs was filled with adventure and wonder. We ate at too many delicious restaurants. I cannot remember all the names of the wonderful restaurants we ate, and I wish I did but here is a list of the ones I did remember. There was Uncle Sam’s Pancake House, Savelli’s Pizza & Subs, The Kitchen, Garden of The Gods Market & Café and more. I would recommend these restaurants hands down 10 out of 10! The next day we woke up and packed up our car and headed out but first we stopped and had an amazing breakfast at this place called Grandmother’s Kitchen ’it was so good! After breakfast we ended our Colorado Springs stay with a visit to Pike’s Peak aka America’s Mountain. That was something to see! Pike’s Peak is the highest summit of the southern front range of the Rocky Mountains. Tickets to enter were 15$ per person, it is a 19-mile paved road that you can enjoy at your leisure. We wanted to get to the summit! So, we drove up the 19-mile road and enjoyed the scenic views of lakes, mountains and wildlife. We stopped at mile marker 16 and it was there we took a shuttle for the rest of the way to the summit. There are multiple shuttles that run every 5-10 minutes to pick you up and take you to the summit and bring you back to your vehicle at whatever mile marker you’re parked at.  When driving up to pike’s peak a few things to keep in mind, make sure you have a full tank of gas or at least half a tank. Driving up to Pike’s Peak is a hard-steady climb so your car may not make it. Make sure your car is tuned up and in good running shape and that your vehicle has a low gear availability because continuously going downhill can make your brakes get hot and go out and that is something you do not want to happen. Just take seriously the advice they tell you when entering and you will be ok. There is a checkpoint halfway down the mountain where they do make you stop, and a ranger will check your brakes – a tremendous thing! There is a train and was the more traditional way to get up to pike’s peak but unfortunately it is down for maintenance. How great an experience that would have been though? Quick side note on our way to Pikes Peak we did stop to peek at Santa’s Workshop, they had rides and attractions that you could see from the parking lot. We unfortunately did not get to experience the magic of what was inside because we were pressed for time, but it looked so fun and magical, especially for children.

 Once we reached the summit at 14,115 ft, I was speechless. The view is spectacular! Keep in mind to drink lots and lots of water! For someone who was not used to the elevation change, this was extremely important. Water is your best friend and was all of ours during this entire trip! Once at the top there is Pikes Peak Summit House where it is famous for its “high elevation donuts.” The girls and I grabbed our donuts and coffee and sat on some rocks and took in the beautiful view. There is nothing better than enjoying a delicious fried donut and coffee with friends all whilst having the spectacular view in front of us. That was the end to our stay in Colorado Springs and to anyone visiting or planning to visit all I have to say is Have Fun and don’t miss going to Pikes Peak. The view is breathtaking and worth it.

We then drove to our next destination Breckenridge, Colorado where we stayed for the remainder of our trip. It was about at 2 hr. drive and of course was a very scenic drive. We had a condo there and it was right in the middle of downtown Breckenridge, so we walked everywhere. It was perfect! adventure that calls out the freedom-seeker in all of them.

It is true what they say Breck’s vibe is different. I suddenly had energy and an up for anything mood. Our first night we went to have dinner and drinks. We ate at this scrumptious burger house and drank cold beers. So good! Afterwards we walked the streets of the town and enjoyed the arts, music, stores and the people. It was such a wonderful vibe. We headed back to our condo and watched a classic Steel Magnolia. It was a great ending to a relaxing evening. The next morning, we got up had coffee and breakfast and headed to the gondolas to check out the Mountain. The ski resort isn’t just an epic winter must but also a summer adventure. They had a lot of outdoor thrill-seeking activities for all ages. We were going to get on the ski lift and ride up to the highest point of the mountain but lightening not too far from us permitted that. Instead we went to check out snow mountain which was so fun! We eventually headed back down to town, at this point it was dinner time we ate and again just walked around afterwards enjoying it all. That night we talked about going white water rafting after some research and many different options for white water rafting companies, we chose one and purchased our tickets. We couldn’t wait for the next morning! We woke up and drove about 20 min outside of Breckenridge and met our guides for white water rafting. I have to say if you have never tried this please put this on your bucket list! So fun!! It is an adrenaline rush and for all you thrill seeking adventurers this is a must for you! Us girls had so much fun doing this, and it was a great thing to do on our last full day of vacation! ? Afterwards, we ate and did some more shopping, eating and walking and ended the night in the jacuzzi. Super relaxing especially after a day of rafting. The next morning on our way to the airport we squeezed in one last stop. We stopped to see a 15 ft wooden troll sculpture located on the trollstigen trail (“Trolls Road”) at Stephen C. West Ice Arena at 189 Boreas Pass Road. Isak is made entirely out of reclaimed wood pallets and other recyclable materials. He was named Isak Heartstone because of a heart-shaped stoned placed inside his chest.  Isak was moved from its previous location due to an overwhelming number of visitors and parking quickly became an issue and residents in the nearby walking distance were becoming unhappy.  The new location Isak is now at was chosen because it is away from populated areas, easy public transit access and scenic forestland. The Troll is something that should not be missed if you are visiting this area. Adults and kids alike will appreciate the relaxing, beautiful, easy stroll in the woods. It is an amazing work of art and something you should see. I was so glad we were able to include this last stop on our way to the airport.

Overall, this trip was so full of adventure and wonder! Visiting Colorado had so much to offer from the great outdoors and admiring the beautiful rock mountain peaks to the red rocks, hiking at the national parks, music, arts, food and so much more. With so much to see and do you’d be crazy to not put this on your list of places to visit. I would also say add a girls’ trip to your bucket list! Traveling is a very healthy escape and traveling with your best girlfriends makes it even more memorable.

  • Leslie