the loch, lake of glass, & sky pond

Summer is nearly here, and it’s got me dreaming of spending time in the mountains and getting out to adventure. While COVID-19 continues to leave us in uncertainty of what’s to come in these warm weather months, my hope is that we’ll still be able to make the most of our summer days. And to help inspire that a little in myself, and maybe in you too, I’m here to share about my favorite hike from last summer, and possibly my favorite hike I’ve done to date: Sky Pond in Rocky Mountain National Park. Please bear with me, we did this hike eight months ago, so I did my best to remember as much detail as possible. But if the details aren’t your thing, feel free to scroll through for some pictures of this beautiful hike.

This hike made it to the top of my hiking bucket list when I saw a friend post some pictures of it the summer before last. As a difficult 9 miler, it felt a bit out of my league since I still consider us very novice hikers, but it gave us something to work towards. After getting a few hikes under our belts over last summer, I felt prepared enough to give it a try, and the timing worked out perfectly in every way.

We waited until the end of the summer to give it a go because 1) like I said I wanted to work our way up to it and 2) Adam was training for a marathon throughout the summer, so we wanted to wait until he ran it at the beginning of September so we didn’t hinder his training. So a week after he completed his 26.2 miles, we set out for the mountains.

As a reminder, we live about an hour and a half away from the Estes Park entrance to Rocky Mountain National Park (RMNP) so it’s extremely accessible to us as a day trip (plus we have a free annual military pass to national parks, so that helps too). We left our house early in the morning so we could get to the park before it got too busy, but we also knew that we had some more flexibility than we did earlier in the summer because it wasn’t peak season anymore. Thankfully, the Park and Ride lot on Bear Lake Road had plenty of spots when we arrived at 7:30am. We gathered up our stuff, took the shuttle to the Glacier Gorge trailhead, and set out on our way (probably starting the hike around 8:15ish). The forecast for the day was seemingly perfect – chilly in the morning, but sunshine, blue skies, and a high of upper 70s were projected for the day. We layered up, and we were able to shed them when it warmed up, and then put some back on the higher we went in elevation. It never got too hot or too cold, it was just right.

The first leg of the hike is to Alberta Falls, which we’ve hiked to a few times previously. It’s a popular hike in the park and it leads to a 30 foot waterfall. I’m guessing with the time of year, and by starting just a little early, the trail wasn’t too crowded like it has been in the past for us. We made it to the falls by 9am, took a quick rest to enjoy the always-spectacular views, Adam made friends with a chipmunk, and then we continued on into new territory for us.

After Alberta Falls, I remember the trail became rather steep, and there were a handful of switchbacks. Adam has much better endurance than I do, but thankfully we’ve found a good rhythm on our hikes where we each go at our own pace. Usually I fall a little behind, because I try to listen to my body and rest when I need it (and I stop to take pictures and stare at the views), but Adam always stops and lets me catch up along the way. As we slowly trekked up the switchbacks I was admiring the gorge full of these tall slender trees.

By about 10:30am we made it to The Loch – the first of three lakes we’d come across on this hike. You can walk right up to the shoreline of one side of the lake, so we took some time to admire the surroundings of trees and mountains and glaciers. As we continued our way around the lake, we stumbled upon a small harem of elk on the trail. It wasn’t until I was a few feet away from one that I looked up from the path and noticed them. Thankfully we were at a spot in the trail that had a small detour so we could safely keep our distance. They weren’t threatening in any way, but soon after we came upon them we were pretty sure we heard a bugle in the distance and we weren’t about to wait around to see who else would join them.

We moved on from The Loch, and made our way through some meadowy terrain towards Timberline Falls. Based on reviews I read on AllTrails we knew that we’d have to do a bit of scrambling to get past the Falls, but it was uncertain if it would be too icy or not. We got a little nervous shortly after we left The Loch when we ran into some people on their descent who said the rocks at the Falls were too icy and they had to head back. We decided to keep going, hoping that as the day progressed the ice would melt, but I also tried to adjust my expectations in case the Falls were as far as we got. In hindsight, if the hike ended at Timberline Falls, it still would have been a great hike – well worth our time. But the end goal was still to go further, so I was holding out hope.

We started to approach the Falls around 11:30am, and when they came into view we saw a small crowd of people getting backed up at the base. I became hopeful when I saw many people slowly scrambling up the rocks to the right of the Falls. After we made our way up one of the steeper parts of the whole hike we got to the base, caught our breath, waited for the path to clear out a little, and made the decision to give it a go. Enough people were making it up the wet rocks that we were comfortable giving it a try. With caution, it was a very doable 100 ft climb for us.

When we reached the top, I turned around to see a stunning view of The Loch well below us. And then I turned and saw the stunning Lake of Glass in front of us. We were literally surrounded by beauty. Lake of Glass was actually my favorite of the three lakes, because of the vantage points we got as we made our way around it. I do remember one point that it was a little unclear where the trail was leading around the lake because we had to climb up some large boulders to follow along, but we stuck to the edge of the water to make our way around. Along the way we met a rather photogenic Marmot. The animals in RMNP often seem to be used to people being around so he came up pretty close to us and Adam had a great photo op (clearly he enjoys making friends with all the animals), but I also remember one point that it looked like the marmot was going to pounce on him so I made him back away just in case.

We moved on from Lake of Glass at about 12pm and traveled along the small stretch before Sky Pond, which was a picture straight out of a fairy tale. I was in heaven.

We finally made it to Sky Pond at about 12:10pm, which was nearly 11,000 feet in elevation. There were only a few other people that we came across, so we found a boulder to sit down and rest and admire the views of the lake and the cliffs that surrounded it. I remember feeling so accomplished. It was definitely a strenuous hike up, but every bit of the fatigue was made up for by the surroundings along the way. I also remember noticing two little specks moving up one of the glaciers far above the lake – there were people that were going to far greater extremes than us. I was humbled by 1) how little experience we have in the great outdoors and 2) how small we are in comparison to these beautiful mountains (a fairly common humility that comes upon me when we hike). But I was also so grateful to experience what we were doing, and excited for the potential of adventure in the future – though I don’t see myself ever having the desire to hike up a glacier. I think it was fairly windy up at Sky Pond, so we actually didn’t stay put for too long. Plus we didn’t want to risk running into any afternoon storms. So we turned back and started the descent back down the way we came.

It was like a treat to revisit all of the beautiful views we just passed. We took our time, knowing that descending is pretty tough on both of our knees, and the 1700+ feet of elevation we already trekked up was starting to show its wear on us. After taking a long lunch break in a meadowy area next to The Loch, we noticed some clouds rolling in, so we started to pick up the pace to get ahead of any possible rain. Plus I really had to go to the bathroom so I was cruising on the home stretch since we felt close enough to try to make it to a bathroom.

Thankfully we made it to the trailhead without a drop of rain, despite the very cloudy sky, and I made it safely to a bathroom. But man, I was T-I-R-E-D. This was definitely the most challenging hike I’ve done to date, but I was so satisfied at the end. The hike I had been dreaming of for a year ended up going perfectly. I still look at the pictures from this hike and smile. It was a challenge. It was a dream. And it deepened my love for the mountains even more.

While the pictures are gorgeous, they never do these Rockies any justice. So if you haven’t already, I highly recommend adding this to your own bucket list. If you have a comfortable amount of hiking experience under your belt, it is definitely strenuous at times, but manageable. And so, so worth it.


I hope you enjoyed trekking along with us on this hike from last year! Now that I’ve spent this time reminiscing, I’m aching to get out for some new adventures, so I really hope that I’ll be able to share about more hikes that we are able to do this year. Hiking is still such a new hobby for me, but it’s one that I hope I can continue to experience for all the years to come.

So tell me, what’s your favorite hike you’ve ever done? I’m always open to adding more ideas to my hiking bucket list, so let me know in the comments!

Until next time friends,

ute trail

As we’ve made our way into February and are inching ever so slightly closer to warmer weather, I’m finding myself feeling my first waves of spring fever. Of course, I’m realistic about the fact that we’re still very much in winter here in Wyoming, especially as there’s a light snow falling outside as I type this. But a girl’s allowed to dream about warmer days ahead…or behind, I suppose. Because today I’m sharing about another one of our summer hikes from last year. This one ended up being a doozy, mainly because it didn’t go quite as we anticipated, but we still enjoyed our time in the fresh air and mountains, and I certainly learned a few good lessons along the way.

Back in July I was eager to get back into Rocky Mountain National Park for some outdoor adventures. We live about an hour and a half from the Estes Park entrance, so we’ve spent a fair amount of time exploring different areas of the park while we’ve lived in Cheyenne, and it has become one of my favorite places, with still so much left for us to see. My end goal for the season was to hike up to Sky Pond (which spoiler alert, we did do, and Iim excited to share more about it), but I wanted to work our way up to it since it was a bit of a longer hike, and I was still willing to admit that we’re novices in this hobby, so on this particular day I planned for something more moderate.

At the time, I had just discovered AllTrails, so I picked out a couple options for us, knowing that parking would probably determine our fate. The initial trail I had in mind was actually a portion of the Sky Pond hike, but with the trailhead being in one of the most popular areas of the park and it being peak season, our 7:30am arrival time was too late to get parking – even in the shuttle lot. Thankfully I had another hike in a different area of the park saved in my AllTrails app, so we headed towards Trail Ridge Road for Ute Trail, but considering the starting point was along the side of this heavily traveled highway, we knew that parking was going to be minimal. We crossed our fingers, enjoyed the always spectacular views as we made our way up the winding road, and thankfully found some side road parking a short walk away from the trailhead.

Based on my AllTrails app and the reviews I saw, this would be a 5.6 mile in-and-out hike. We started at 11,430 ft elevation, with the expectation that we’d decline for a bit in the middle of the hike before reaching the end point where we’d turn around and work our way back up. The down, then up format was different than what we were used to, but we were willing to give it a go for the sake of a fun experience.

Since we started the hike so high up and it was still early in the day, the weather was chillier and windier than we had planned for, but we thankfully had enough layers to manage. The weather stayed pretty clear throughout our time though, and it warmed up significantly the lower in elevation we went.

We made our way across Tombstone Ridge for about 2 miles. There was a handful of people along the trail with us, but it wasn’t too crowded. It was a different experience for us to be hiking so high up in the alpine tundra surrounded by seemingly endless mountains, so I was soaking in the views. We reached the point where the descent began (Timberline Pass) and started making our way down the rocky trail. I became slightly concerned that no one else seemed to be following along this path, but I assumed they didn’t plan on going as far as we did, and chose to trust the map as we continued down a steep decline, with no switchbacks in sight.

Along the way, I continued to check the map and the GPS on my phone, and as we appeared to be approaching the end point of the trail we expected to reach some sort of view point or an obvious sign that it was time to turn around. But as we hit the mile marker, that point never arrived. We chose to keep going a bit further, because surely we had to be close to some sort of destination, but the further we made our way down the mountain, the more we thought about how we had to climb our way back up it. We probably ended up going an extra half mile, and then finally stopped for lunch and to rest for a bit. From previous hikes we’ve learned that while descending can be faster and easier on the lungs, it takes a toll on our knees. Considering we just descended about 2,000 ft in the span of a mile, both of us were hurting. We considered our options as we ate, and acknowledged that the Ute Trail as a whole actually continues down into Beaver Meadows, and that perhaps the trail we were following in AllTrails was meant to be just a portion of it. While we loved the idea of finishing the trail out and not having to go back up the mountain, we only had one car, and it was parked up at the top. Our only way out was back up, so going any further seemed a bit illogical, despite not having reached any particular destination.

We slowly scrambled our way back up the trail, now feeling the struggle in our lungs, on top of our already aching knees. I definitely had a harder time than Adam (I’ll credit his marathon training for helping his lung capacity…& of course he’s just naturally stronger than me too), so I frequently stopped to rest. It got to the point where I’d step up a few rocks and have to stop. Then I’d take another few steps, and have to stop again. It was a big slice of humble pie. I mean, I worked at a gym for goodness sake and I was in the best shape of my life – this shouldn’t have been so hard. But the nice thing about hiking is that we spend a lot of time in silence, and I had plenty of time to consider that to get better at anything it takes practice – even hiking. So I kept trudging along, taking my time and listening to my body, stopping when I needed to. And when I stopped, I took the moment to look out at the mountains surrounding us and be reminded of why I enjoy hiking in the first place: to be humbled by God’s creation. I was definitely humbled on this day – just differently than I normally am. But as we finally reached the edge of Timberline Pass and our path leveled out as we started back across Tombstone Ridge, I breathed a huge sigh of relief. Plus those alpine views sure didn’t lose their splendor.

By the time we reached our car, we were exhausted and agreed that this was a tough one, but it was still a good one. It was a learning experience on many counts. I learned that AllTrails is a helpful tool, but since anyone can contribute information to it, everyone’s input doesn’t always match up accurately, so do some extra research when going somewhere new. I was reminded that the only way to get better at hiking is to just go out and hike. I learned that going up, then down is much more preferable than going down, then up. And lastly, don’t forget to pack some toilet paper 😉

If we were to do this hike again, I’d either keep it shorter and simpler, and just hike the 2 miles along Tombstone Ridge and then head back to the trailhead (the views along the way are plenty worth it). OR I’d take two cars, parking one down in Beaver Meadows and one at the top of the trailhead, so we could experience the full Ute Trail. I’d also probably start at the bottom, but that might just be preference. Regardless, I stand behind my mantra that any day I spend in the mountains is a good day.

Have you ever gone for a hike that didn’t go quite as you planned? Join me in sharing and tell me about it in the comments below!

Until next time,

horsetooth mountain

Since moving to Cheyenne and having close access to the Rockies, we have developed an ever increasing interest in hiking and spending time in the mountains. But growing up in the flat plains of Illinois means neither of us have a great deal of experience with the hobby, so we’ve been patiently allowing ourselves grace to learn and acclimate. Even in doing so, the process has still been enjoyable.

Last summer was our second in this area, so it was our second go at getting out and exploring the beautiful places that we live so close to. One of the first hikes of the season for us was Horsetooth Mountain. Nestled in the foothills just west of Fort Collins, this mountainous area offered us some beautiful views and a different perspective of a town we have spent a fair amount of time in.

We took on this hike in mid-July, so it was definitely a sweaty one. We found parking at the Horsetooth Mountain trailhead, but it seems we lucked out because there were only one or two spots left when we arrived. It was $9 for a day pass. We started our hike around 9-9:15am, and we were done within about 3 hours. We followed the Horsetooth Rock Trail which was about 4.5 miles round trip and had about 1400 ft elevation gain. I would say the hike was appropriately labeled moderate, with the harder, steeper portions being towards the end. At the very top we had to do a bit of scrambling to get to the peak, but it was reasonable for novices when done carefully. The views were definitely worth it. On one side of the ridge was a more lush view overlooking the Reservoir and Fort Collins, while the other side was more dry as it led deeper into the mountain region. We enjoyed a snack at the top before heading down. All in all, it was a fun hike and a great way to spend a morning.

Until next time,

st. lucia vacation

I am excited to start sharing more about some of our travels and adventures, both past and present, here on the blog. Seeing the world and being out in God’s creation brings life to my soul, and I want to be able to share a piece of that in this space. Plus it’s fun for me to have documentation of some of the exciting adventures we go on.

So, first up is our vacation to St. Lucia that we took in November. We had been saving up to go on a “big” vacation for awhile, and it was so satisfying to finally enjoy the fruits of our labor and relax in this beautiful place. Today I’ll be sharing some backstory on our trip, our vacation mentality, and the highlights (as well as a few lowlights) from the trip.

BACKSTORY

The fun fact about this trip for us is that we have a bit of history when it comes to St. Lucia. Almost twelve years ago, Adam and I both had the opportunity to join our high school youth group for a missions trip to the island, allowing us the chance to experience the people and places from a local’s point of view. It was the first missions trip either of us had been on, so it was an incredible adventure in each of our personal lives, as well as our intertwined story. You see, the summer we went on that trip was the same summer we started dating. Prior to the trip we had acknowledged our interest in each other and we already established a bit of a history together, but we chose to wait until after this trip to really pursue anything further because we didn’t know what God had in store for each of our hearts. But waiting aside, our relationship was in its early stages during that trip, so it felt like something special to be able to return to this beautiful place, now married, all these years later. For nostalgia’s sake, below is a picture of Adam and me on our first trip to St. Lucia in 2008, with our friend Zack who refused to let us take a picture alone (and who also happened to be a groomsman in our wedding 5 years later).

WHERE WE STAYED

We spent 6 days and 5 nights at the Sandals Regency La Toc resort. There are three Sandals resorts in St. Lucia, and we could have easily visited the other two via shuttle, but we chose to keep it simple and hang around our own resort, so I can’t speak to what the others were like. We were satisfied with what there was to experience where we were. The location was naturally stunning, the staff was extremely friendly, hospitable, and professional, the grounds were well kept and easy to navigate, and I felt safe and comfortable wherever we went.

VACATION MINDSET

Going into this trip I had two main goals: R.E.L.A.X., and refrain from making as many decisions and plans as possible. As much as I enjoy our adventurous and explorative type trips, I had been craving a laidback, do-nothing kind of vacation for quite some time. In our planning process I was adamant that we stayed at an all-inclusive resort to diminish the need to plan out meals or activities and give myself a mental break. THAT, to me, felt like vacation. I was open to doing some adventurous activities, but I also wanted to maximize the amount of time I’d have to sit at the pool with a book and just “be.”

Also worth noting is that we are probably a bit of an anomaly when it comes to vacationers at an all-inclusive resort. We spent the majority of our time tucked away by the resort’s smallest and quietest pool, completely avoiding the “party scene” at the main pool. I couldn’t tell you what the evening entertainment was each night because we were usually in bed by 9pm – if not earlier. We enjoyed some drinks, but I was more focused on staying hydrated in the hot Caribbean sun. I received many confused looks when a bartender would come around taking drink orders and I’d ask for water. We even utilized the fitness center a few times (the one that multiple people laughed at on our welcome tour, because who in their right mind exercises on vacation…). Basically, I wanted to maintain my healthy habits and rhythms on the trip, because I knew that it would make me feel my best throughout it, and therefore enjoy myself more. And I’m so glad that I did.

TRIP HIGHLIGHTS

Upon arriving to our resort, we were greeted with a surprise room upgrade, allowing us the opportunity to stay in a two-story suite tucked away from the hustle and bustle of the main area of the resort. This meant more privacy, and getting to avoid any boisterous night life. We were right up on the shoreline, so our view was incredible and the crashing waves were a constant soothing sound. Plus we were located at the center of the resort, so we had easy access to everything around.

Neither of us have ever had room service before, so we took full advantage of it. It came in handy for nights we were too tired to head out for dinner, and for relaxing slow mornings. Our last night we ordered it just so we could get one last bite of our favorite mango cake.

I think my favorite part of the trip was doing exactly what I set out to do: relax by the pool. We fully embraced our ‘old soul status’ and enjoyed many pockets of time lounging quietly at the small pool. We kept to ourselves most of the time, but we did chat with a few pool dwellers on occasion. Adam’s M.O. was lounging on a pool float with a drink in his hand, or staring out over the ledge at the crashing waves. I spent my time going back and forth from reading on a pool chair to hopping in the pool when the sun got too hot (which was often, even on cloudy days).

When we weren’t at the small pool, we made a few attempts to enjoy time by what I’ll refer to as the upper pool. It wasn’t too big and didn’t have ongoing events throughout the day like the main pool, but it did have a swim up bar and some music playing. We would try to get chairs along the ledge facing the ocean because it had some of the best views at the resort, but this pool was frequented by everyone who had butlers, so most of the chairs were reserved before we even had a chance to get to them. Plus the two mornings we attempted to hang out here, we were rained out. So instead, we would return to this pool at the end of our days to watch the sunset.

We only managed to step into the ocean once on this trip. I’m not sure if it was due to the location or the time of year, but the waves on the shoreline at our resort were a bit rough. Most days it was flagged yellow, and sometimes even red, and by our final day we saw some waves crashing that were easily 7 ft high. Our one ocean story involves Adam getting hit by a crashing wave when we first ventured out into the water that immediately knocked his sunglasses off his head. We considered them a lost cause, but a local on the beach noticed what happened and offered to look for them in exchange for some compensation if he found them. The guy searched for about an hour and a half – even after we had left the water – and sure enough he found them, without a scratch. We were pretty impressed. We didn’t stay in the ocean too long because once we got past the waves, the water was steadily moving between tip toe height and out of reach, so it got tiring quickly. Plus, salt water splashing in your eyes is even less enjoyable when you have contacts, so I opted pretty quickly for the pool.

As far as food goes, I was just thrilled that I didn’t have to cook anything for a week, but we did enjoy a great deal of the food on the resort. We didn’t go to every restaurant option available, but we enjoyed the ones that we tried, which included an Italian restaurant, an English pub, local cuisine, the breakfast buffet, and a made-to-order pizza shack.

Apart from getting to relax like I wanted to, our biggest highlight of the trip was getting to hike to the top of the Gros Piton (the second highest peak in St. Lucia, and one mountain in an iconic set of two that we became familiar with on our first trip). As a part of a guided tour, we hiked up just over 2,000 ft across a two mile span. Our group agreed that scrambling up the mountain was a better descriptor of what we did than hiking. Because of that, combined with the humidity, it was one of the more challenging hikes we’ve done. But despite the challenge, it was still a spectacular experience. Not only did we get a new experience of hiking through some jungle-like terrain, but we also saw some beautiful landscapes along the way. For sight seeing purposes, it was unfortunately a pretty overcast day so we couldn’t see much at the top other than the clouds that we were within (which was kind of cool in itself), but we were all pretty grateful for the rain that followed on our hike back down to help rinse off the massive amount of sweat pouring from us all. The entire hike took us probably 4.5-5 hours, so we were all exhausted by the end of it. I enjoyed one of the ‘top 5 best showers of my life’ when we got back to our room and I think we were in bed by 7pm.

In hindsight, we were very glad that we only planned one excursion for our trip. Not only did it allow us more time to relax without a schedule, but more significantly neither of our stomachs fared too well on the winding St. Lucian roads, so the less time we spent driving anywhere, the better. I’ll spare you the details, but we both put a tally on the scoreboard of roadside vomit as a result of our drive to the Pitons.

DOWNSIDES

We only had a few disappointments with the trip as a whole. The two most significant being the discovery that a local soda we enjoyed on our first trip is no longer produced, and our favorite local fruit, guinep (or St. Lucian ackee), was out of season, so we didn’t get to enjoy two of the memorable tastes from our first go around. We were also a little bummed that we didn’t get to experience more local fruit on our resort, but that’s what happens when you stay somewhere that caters to Westerners.

Missing out on enjoying the beautiful views on our drive to the Pitons because of motion sickness was a downer, as was the shore at our resort being rough and not allowing much chance to enjoy the ocean. It did rain a couple of the days we were there, but thankfully in true tropical fashion, it never lasted too long. But as a whole, none of these things ruined our trip in any capacity. Ok, we might still be bitter about the ackee and soda (RIP Busta), but we’ll get over it.


After experiencing St. Lucia in two drastically different ways, I’m truly grateful for each opportunity. You can’t beat the chance to experience a new place from a local’s perspective, as well as the opportunity to connect with the people and share the love of Jesus. But this trip was also everything I hoped for it to be, and more. It was the relaxing vacation I had been dreaming of, and it ended up being much more timely than I ever anticipated. I am truly grateful for the opportunity to return to this beautiful, lush land. The combination of ocean and mountains is a spectacular one. And the people – my goodness, the people are just gorgeous. After both of our experiences there, I would highly recommend this destination to anyone looking for a tropical getaway.

colorado springs anniversary trip

Over Memorial Day weekend we celebrated six years of marriage, and thanks to the long weekend, we chose to head a few hours South to finally check out Colorado Springs as a way to celebrate. It ended up being the perfect weekend getaway. We quickly realized that this city has so much more to offer than a weekend’s worth of activities, so we plan to return to check out the things we weren’t able to this go around. Here’s a breakdown of what we did do during our time there.

Where We Stayed

Adam found the most perfect Airbnb for the weekend at a fairly reasonable price. The location was perfect – a cozy, quiet neighborhood, but still only a few minutes away from the downtown area. Pretty much all the activities we did were within a 15 minute drive of where we stayed. Plus you could see Pikes Peak from sitting on the couch, so that’s a total win in my book. The house itself was the perfect size for just the two of us, and they were very accommodating for us bringing our two pups as well. The decor was minimal and fresh and made me feel so cozy and relaxed while there. I just loved it, and if we have the chance, I would definitely stay there again on our return trip.

Where We Ate

Bingo Burger – Our first stop after getting into town was this fun little burger joint with locally sourced and farm fresh ingredients. I tried the Shooks Run, and while the burger was good, the bleu cheese seemed to overpower it a bit more than I would have liked. Their chipotle ranch dipping sauce with their fries was tasty though.

Denver Biscuit Co. – We had been to the Denver location of this a couple years ago and enjoyed it, so when we found out there was a location in the Springs we wanted to give it another try. I got their Biscuits and Gravy and Adam got The Franklin and we were both very satisfied. Our waiter also convinced us to snag one of their highly sought after Giant Biscuit Cinnamon Rolls, and they are not kidding when they say giant. We had just a few bites before taking it to go and having it for breakfast another day, but it was scrumptious.

Dos Santos – When snagging breakfast at Denver Biscuit Co., we really liked the vibe of the collection of other restaurants that shared the same corner, so we made it a point to come back. One of those stops was Dos Santos (also recommended by our Airbnb hosts – actually pretty much all of the local places we ate were). They seem to pride themselves in their drinks as well as (surprisingly) their brunch, but we went for an afternoon pick me up after a hike, so I went with two street tacos – the Arrachera and the Porky Lechon – and they both hit the spot.

Frozen Gold – After Dos Santos we went next door for some ice cream. Frozen Gold serves unique soft serve creations that had me take about five solid minutes to decide which one I wanted. There were some that had cereal toppings, goldfish crackers, and one with Kool-aid candied popcorn (?!). I ended up going with the Samoa Samoa, and for a vegan option, it was still extremely delicious. Adam went with their Peanut Butter Puffy. Honestly, it looks like we couldn’t have gone wrong with any of the options…except for maybe the one with the goldfish. I’m definitely looking forward to coming back here when we visit again.

The Exchange – We went for a casual, light lunch at this local coffee shop and bar, and enjoyed our time there on the patio. Their caprese panini was on point, and we both enjoyed their smoothies as well. We didn’t try their coffee but they locally roast their fair trade and organic coffee.

The Melting Pot – this wasn’t a local try, but we saw it one day when we were downtown and decided to make it our official anniversary dinner destination since we had never been before. We tried their classic four course experience. While the experience was cool, I wasn’t overly impressed with the taste of the food, especially for the price we paid. I can’t complain about the chocolate fondue though, and their Yin Yang Martini was pretty tasty too.

What We Did

Seven Falls – This was one of the top things I saw recommended to do in the area so we were sure to cross it off our list. When we first arrived, they directed us to a parking area that was a bit out of the way to drive to, and then we had to take a (free) shuttle back, but I also read that you could park at the Broadmoor and also take a shuttle – we just didn’t realize that the two parking spots would be different. It created about a 30 minute delay for us, but in the end, our timing was still perfect. We probably officially arrived at around 9:30-10ish, and it wasn’t super busy yet. In fact it felt super casual and calm, which allowed a better experience taking in all the amazing views as we walked in through the canyon up to where the falls were. Once we arrived at the base we took on the 224 step staircase to climb up alongside the falls. After we reached the top we continued hiking to Inspiration Point, which overlooked the city of Colorado Springs, as well as some amazing mountain views. The trails were still fairly quiet, so we also did the other hike to Moonlight Falls. The weather was perfect and the hikes weren’t too strenuous. By the time we made our way back to the falls it was around noon and the crowds were definitely picking up. We climbed another set of stairs to get to the Eagle’s Nest for one final great view of the falls, and then we made our way out. I definitely would recommend going, and I would suggest going a little earlier so you can beat the crowds. There was a fee to enter, but they did offer a military discount.

Garden of the Gods – One of the other most highly recommended places to visit in the area was Garden of the Gods. We were given the advice by some trail-goers the day before to go early and beat the crowds and get good parking, especially since it was Memorial Day weekend, so we got there around 6:15am to do so. It was awesome to watch the sunrise over these incredible rock formations and get to explore the walking paths without too many people around. We weaved in and out around the paths to cover most of the grounds, but we didn’t venture off onto any of the hiking trails. Perhaps when we come back that would be something we would do, because I imagine that some of the views would be spectacular between the rock formations and the Rocky Mountain range all within the landscape. This is a free park and definite must see.

Drove Through Manitou Springs – After our time at Garden of the Gods we strolled our way over to Manitou Springs and drove through this quaint little touristy town. I was hoping to take on the infamous Manitou Incline but we chose to save that for our return trip when we get a little more hiking and stair climbing under our belts this summer. We saw it from a distance and I will say it looked even more intense in person that in does in pictures. We didn’t stay in Manitou long due to opting for a nap after our early morning, but I know there are a lot of cute shops and restaurants in the area that could be worth checking out.

REI & Boone’s Birthday Celebration – These are definitely not local things to do, but we had some gift cards to REI, and we knew it was their big Memorial Day sale, so we chose to spend the evening having a little shopping spree. That night we also celebrated our Boone boy’s 5th birthday and followed our tradition of taking the pups to Petco for him to pick out a few new toys and getting special treats.

21 Keys Escape Rooms – It’s truly not a Pruim vacation without an escape room. We took on 21 Key’s “Jester’s New Playmate” room, and had a successful escape in the end. Now I won’t go too nerdy on you all and give my in depth debrief of thoughts on the room, but from our experience, I would give this room a 3 out of 5 stars. There were definitely some challenging puzzles that stumped us, but some of them seemed due to a poor connection of clues in the room. A challenging room is one thing, but it needs to make sense as well. Thankfully they offered an unlimited amount of hints so we used some to still be able to progress through the room and enjoy our time. The decor and set up itself felt a bit sub par too. The staff was nice though, and they had plenty of other rooms to try that could be better.

Apart from all of that, we enjoyed lounging around our Airbnb and taking the dogs for walks around the neighborhood. Like I said, there is so much more to do in the Pikes Peak region, so we definitely plan to come back to check out some more. On my list is the Manitou Incline, the Royal Gorge Bridge and Park, and Cave of the Winds Mountain Park. I’ve also heard amazing things about the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo. And while getting to the top of Pikes Peak would be a dream, driving to the top didn’t seem as desirable for the cost, and we are no where near ready to hike a 14er (although it has become one of my life goals), so we’ll see if we ever get any closer in the future.

If you are considering or planning a trip to Colorado Springs, this website was a great guide, offering an in depth look at all the different attractions of the area.


As a whole, our weekend was a perfect mixture of relaxation and adventure – just the way I like it. And it was a beautiful location to celebrate our anniversary. I may or may not have asked Adam if we could move there at least 20 times throughout the weekend. Maybe one day the Air Force stars will align…

I hope you enjoyed this little travel recap. If you’ve been to Colorado Springs, let me know what your favorite things to do or places to eat are! And if you’ve never been, which activity seems most up your alley? Let me know in the comments.

when the pruims came north

Although it’s not particularly my kind of holiday, I still feel that it’s necessary to wish you all a Happy Halloween today! & to give you something else to celebrate, our internet is up & running this week! I know, I know, it’s a much bigger deal than dressing up in creatively thought out costumes & consuming an unheard amount of candy. But with the wifi set up in our friends apartment, I’ll hopefully be able to devote a bit more time & attention to The Pruim Life. The past two weeks have been a bit of a whirlwind, mostly due to our second cross country move in less than a year – nay, less than half a year. I’ve been to more states in the past six months than I have been in my entire life combined! And these recent endeavors have been some like I’ve never had before, so I wanted to share some of them with you today.

The first leg of our trip led us to San Jose, California for two nights to stay with Adam’s great aunt. This gave us a prime location to check out two of the only things I knew about in Northern California: the Redwoods & the Golden Gate Bridge. We spent a Friday morning driving up the winding mountain roads to get to a state park that we could wander around & look at some of the most fascinating trees I’ve ever seen. I know I’ve said before that palm trees are my favorite tree, but I might have to reconsider that now. These trees are giants. They’re tall, wide, & some are unbelievably old. Their experienced in their old age too. Many of the redwoods we passed by were hollowed out & charred on the inside from past fires. Yet they still press on, and still grow. And they’re still something to marvel over.

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We then trekked up the California coast along Route 1 to see our last bits of the pacific shores on our way into the depths of San Francisco. The rush hour traffic had us scooting along the same road for two and a half hours until we finally reached the big red bridge before the sun went down. It was definitely cool to see this structure in real life & it was interesting to read up on how it was made. But after seeing the redwoods at the beginning of the day, I made the decision in my mind that I’d much rather stare at the handiwork of God than the handiwork of men. I had no idea at that point what we had in store for the rest of the trip that would confirm this decision in my heart even more.

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On a Saturday we gathered our stuff & set off for Nevada. We said a last goodbye to In-N-Out in Sacramento. It just so happened that after we left In-N-Out I got stuck at a light and then the highway split into construction traffic so Adam & I were separated & I spent approximately 45 minutes trying to catch up to his car which had the GPS set for our next stop. In the midst of my stress and frustration while trying to work my way through other cars to find him, we were passing through the Tahoe area. This was the second time on the trip that I was staring out the window with my jaw dropped at the pure beauty of the scenery. It was one of those “Ok God” moments where I gave up my stress, calmed down & just thanked him for His creation. Because guys, it was gorgeous. We pulled off on the side of the road to take some pictures shortly before we crossed over to Nevada.

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From here we moved on and made it to Winnemucca, NV after sun down. We stopped on the side of the road to give Boone a brief break from the car as the sun was setting over the mountains. This was the most enjoyable part of the state of Nevada for me, because to be honest, driving through the desert is just plain boring. & we learned that to be even more true on our Sunday drive across the never ending roads going through nowhere. Breaking into Idaho at least gave us cell service & a little bit more color other than sandy brown.

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We left Monday morning with the destination of Montana, but this was the day that we would pass through Yellowstone National Park. Friends, if you have never been to Yellowstone I strongly suggest that you go add it to you bucket list right now. Ready, go. Ok, have you added it? Great, let’s move on.

We entered into the park at the West entrance & drove south to visit Old Faithful. After many miles of trees, streams, and hot springs (as well as a moose sighting by Adam – I’m terribly saddened that I missed them), we reached the infamous geyser. We had to wait about a half hour for it to actually go off, but something so unique as this made the wait worth it.

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We headed back up the same path we drove down & stopped at a set of springs to take a closer look. I’ve never really seen anything like them before. The heavy amounts of steam and the bold colors in the rocks and water made for a pretty artsy view.

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We moved on and continued to work our way north. We didn’t stop anywhere else along the way, but for the third time on this trip my jaw was in drop mode and my eyes were not paying nearly enough attention to the road I was driving on (sorry mom & dad). Pictures could never do this place justice. Every bit of it was breathtakingly beautiful. My favorite part was actually driving through the mountain passes. After leaving a dry & droughty land in California, to see greens and yellows in the trees and water in the river beds made my heart feel full. I wished we could have stayed and stared off those mountain tops for hours. But alas, we had to move on. And that led us to a long, food-less drive to Billings, Montana.

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I anticipated Montana to be a bit more eventful in it’s views, but the southern parts that we drove through were long stretches of nothingness, with some sub par mountains along the way. I guess driving through Yellowstone makes other mountains a little less fascinating in comparison. This day, as well as a couple others, were supported by gas station food for lunch because towns with restaurants were few & far between. Chex Mix & I got real close on this trip. By our last day of driving we were antsy to get to Minot. We were tired of spending the entirety of our days in the cars. We were tired of staying in a different place every night. We just wanted to get there. When we reached North Dakota the land slowly started to level out and it quickly became littered with oil rigs errywhere. I knew that oil was a big deal in North Dakota, but seriously, I did not expect to see rigs every mile. The construction traffic we got stuck in made us all the more eager to get out of our dirty, bug covered cars. And by Tuesday evening we made it to Minot. A town that has ended up being much larger than I ever expected. So large that one of the first stores I saw as we pulled in was a Hobby Lobby. Now that’s saying something in my opinion, but that may just been out of pure excitement that the store I worked at for almost five years was once again at an attainable distance!

As a whole our travels were easy, smooth, & for the most part stress free (except for our 45 minute separation on the highway & the one day I went a real long time without food. That day wasn’t pretty). Everything went smoothly. We were pleased to find that Boone is a rock star traveler. The little pup spent most of the days sleeping in the front seat of Adam’s car. Then he’d have a burst of energy when we got into each hotel room, and then he slept all night. How he has the ability to do so, I have no idea. We think he also liked having king size beds to sleep on. He took full advantage of the extra space.

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As of right now, we’ve been in our new town for a week and a half. We’re currently staying in some gracious friends’ apartment until our house on base is ready for us to move in to. Don’t even bother asking me at this point when that will be because it’s been a headache of a situation to deal with. It’s one of those circumstances where I’m reminding myself daily that this is God’s will so I will be trusting & patient. The latest we should be moving in is November 20, but we’re hoping for an earlier date. We’ll just have to see what happens.

We were ecstatic to arrive in 70 degree weather. Our whole first week here was the perfect fall weather that I’ve been craving. 60s and just slightly breezy. That made a quick shift this week though as we’ve entered into the 20s and 30s. Needless to say, we’re already starting to make preparations for a North Dakota winter. But more than anything, we’re making preparations to start a life here. We’re welcoming any & all visitors that are willing to come 🙂