#peak

I went to the grocery store yesterday. The day after the Super Bowl should have been quiet. Monday is supposed to be the worst day to go shopping. It’s the day after previous promotions have expired and before the shelves have been restocked with fresh goods. My list was short and contained many similar items I’d typically toss in my basket: lunch meat, chicken, granola bars, fruit, etc. I browsed the juice and contemplated all of the amazingly delicious bizarre combinations before putting a jug of Simply Mixed Berry under my arm and serpentining the aisles towards checkout.

I nervously scanned each item while eager patrons oversaw, awaiting the next checkout terminal. I fumbled through the goods, trying to somehow place each item in the recyclable bag without smashing the loaf of 12-grain or bruising the bananas. I trekked back to the parking lot and drove back home, where I scaled the stairs and put everything away. Except for the juice. Which I didn’t realize until a failed attempt at laundry and a feeble attempt at vacuuming. Did the juice fall out of my bag? Did I leave it at check out? Did I forget drinking all 59 oz. during the eight block commute back to my building? I have no idea how or where I lost my mixed berries and now fear my morning smoothies will include some other alternative base liquid.

 

 

But that’s not why I called. As exciting as my biweekly visits to the market may be, seeing family and friends in Colorful Colorado for a long weekend of winter action and plenty of indulgence. The flight from LAX to DEN was the gnarliest I’ve ever ridden, even emitting an audible WOOOOAHAOOOHAHA as we bounced on turbulence. I’m not sure stomach ever recovered for the duration of the trip when combined with mild altitude sickness and brew flu.

The perfect cure for a queasy tummy is a hearty breakfast and our well-planned itinerary book-ended the trip with delicious dining. Sharky’s in Fraser featured pulled pork eggs Benedict that was indeed special and lined my stomach for the first day spent in alpine conditions. The last breakfast before exploring Denver and Boulder and taking flight home was at locally-famous Snooze. It was difficult to decide which was more memorable: the setting inside Union Station or the Sandwich I Am; poached eggs, ham, and hollandaise on a pretzel roll. Will there be time for a nap budgeted on the itinerary?

The genesis for our Colorado Adventure was to see the Blackhawks play the Avalance in Denver. We met with extended family to learn what we had missed over the last twenty years when we hung out at that suburban chain pizza restaurant. Only so much can be gathered via Facebook, so it was fantastic to see everyone before the game and reconvene in the corridor during each intermission. Our seats at Pepsi Center were fantastic and we enjoyed the positive results with the other 12000 “Chicagoans” in attendance.

But the highlight of the trip was all of the winter activities in lovely Winter Park. We celebrated Mary Jane’s birthday with some New Belgium and loosely played Rummy and the upbeat acoustic melodies of Hunker Down at the base of the mountain. We got a tour of Winter Park via Snow Cat where we climbed up and around the resort for a unique perspective of the terrain, learning local tidbits from a retired science teacher. We raced down the hill in a tube, testing various techniques to ensure maximum speed and aerodynamics.

…and we skied. For me, it was the first time ever. Perhaps my last, but I’m not yet willing to retire my boots. After a brief lesson down a slight decline, it was decided that I was ready “enough” to take on the mountain. I mean, those knee-high 5-year-olds can do it, so why can’t I? At least let’s attempt the green runs. I never quite figured out the pizza and french fries, or how to turn gracefully or the proper dismount from a chairlift. I did somehow master some sort of 360-degree pirouette maneuver and offered some comic relief during each of my four epic wipe-outs. Only on the third fall did I worry I had hurt myself when I got going too fast towards the trees, only to “brake” and cross skis and twist ankles and throw an impromptu yard sale. My last header looked worse than it felt: I landed on my face, I lost nearly all of my equipment, and I walked the last 300 yards down the base with only one pole guiding my way.

Cheers to Case and Jenny for being such patient and knowledgeable hosts. They opened their home for me to tag along and the pantry was fully-stocked with Clif bars. I hope we didn’t wear out our welcome while attempting to talk to locals or strong-arming restaurant waitstaff or complaining about chilly, blizzard conditions or being indecisive where we would enjoy our next meal. The #roaming team are Colorado Experts with an endless list of great spots for local flavor, outdoor activity, and memorable moments.

 


 

Colorado is a U.S. state encompassing most of the Southern Rocky Mountains as well as the northeastern portion of the Colorado Plateau and the western edge of the Great Plains. Colorado is part of the Western United States, the Southwestern United States, and the Mountain States. Colorado is the 8th most extensive and the 22nd most populous of the 50 United States. The United States Census Bureau estimates that the population of Colorado was 5,456,574 on July 1, 2015, an increase of 8.50% since the 2010 United States Census.

The state was named for the Colorado River, which Spanish travelers named the Río Colorado for the ruddy  silt the river carried from the mountains. The Territory of Colorado was organized on February 28, 1861, and on August 1, 1876, U.S. President Ulysses S. Grant signed Proclamation 230 admitting Colorado to the Union as the 38th state. Colorado is nicknamed the “Centennial State” because it became a state 28 days after the centennial of the United States Declaration of Independence.

Most people with a basic knowledge of Spanish know that rojo means “red.” Well, turns out so does colorado, which is an alternate word for red usually used in instances like “to turn red” or “go as red as” something. Spanish explorers in the area noticed red silt in the river they named the Rio Colorado, which is how the name came about.

Colorado is bordered by Wyoming to the north, Nebraska to the northeast, Kansas to the east, Oklahoma to the southeast, New Mexico to the south, Utah to the west, and Arizona to the southwest, at the Four Corners. Colorado is noted for its vivid landscape of mountains, forests, high plains, mesas, canyons, plateaus, rivers, and desert lands.

Colorado is notable for its diverse geography, ranging from alpine mountains, arid plains and deserts with huge sand dunes, deep canyons, sandstone and granite rock formations, rivers, lakes, and lush forests. The borders of Colorado were originally defined to be lines of latitude and longitude, making its shape a latitude-longitude* quadrangle which stretches from 37°N to 41°N latitude and from 102°03’W to 109°03’W longitude. Colorado, Wyoming and Utah are the only states which have boundaries defined solely by lines of latitude and longitude.

The summit of Mount Elbert at 14,440 feet elevation is the highest point in Colorado and the Rocky Mountains of North America. Colorado is the only U.S. state that lies entirely above 1000 meters elevation. The point where the Arikaree River flows out of Yuma County, Colorado, and into Cheyenne County, Kansas, is the lowest point in Colorado at 3,317 feet elevation. This point, which holds the distinction of being the highest low elevation point of any state,is higher than the high elevation points of 18 states and the District of Columbia.

Denver is the capital and the most populous city of Colorado. Residents of the state are properly known as “Coloradoans”, although the term “Coloradan” is used in modern times.

Colorado’s primary mode of transportation (in terms of passengers) is its highway system. Interstate 25 is the primary north–south highway in the state, connecting Pueblo, Colorado Springs, Denver, and Fort Collins, and extending north to Wyoming and south to New Mexico. I-70 is the primary east–west corridor. It connects Grand Junction and the mountain communities with Denver, and enters Utah and Kansas. The state is home to a network of US and Colorado highways that provide access to all principal areas of the state. Smaller communities are only connected to this network via county roads.

Denver International Airport  is the fourth busiest domestic U.S. airport and thirteenth busiest world airport. DIA handles by far the largest volume of commercial air traffic in Colorado, and is the busiest U.S. hub airport between Chicago and the Pacific coast, making Denver the most important airport for connecting passenger traffic in the western United States. Denver International Airport is the primary hub for carrier Frontier Airlines, with routes throughout North America. It is also the fourth-largest hub of the world’s largest airline, United Airlines. DIA is a focus city for Southwest Airlines, which since commencing service to Denver in January 2006, has added over 50 destinations, making Denver its fastest-growing market. 

via WIKIPEDIA

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