Denver: hikes, bikes, and beers

So we actually started our trip in Denver, and one of the first things we wanted to do was hike around Red Rocks park. Strangely, that was another thing I never did when I lived in Colorado.

The hike around the major formations is pretty easy. We decided the hardest part was climbing the steps to the amphitheater. Which is probably why tons of people were using those steps as a free gym.

The rocks are beautiful, of course.

We saw a lot of wildlife, especially birds. Magpies, jays, orioles, and a few others I can’t remember.

Fortunately, we saw no rattlesnakes.

It seemed like there were spiky things everywhere.

That night our friends Jennie and Jim met us at Steubens for dinner. If you’re ever in Denver, I highly recommend eating there. It is retro cute, and specializes in comfort food and yummy cocktails. What’s not to love?

The next day we added Jennie’s husband, Patrick, to the group and went on a little bike ride/brewery tour. We rented bikes from B-Cycle (which I can’t believe they don’t have here). Then we headed off to our first stop, Strange Brewing Company.

This place is awesome. It’s basically like a big garage where they throw open the door, you park your bikes, and get a drink.

I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t drink much, especially beer, but I’m really trying to learn more and embrace the craft brewing movement. What better place to do that than Denver?

Our “tour” ended up being only two stops long, but it was still fun. We even saw this guy next door to the bar.

He had blue toenails!

Then we headed back to the Dorris/Doyle home for a backyard barbecue full of homegrown things. Patrick made us some delicious cocktails, too.

Complete with perfect ice cubes.

Aside: This was my first trip out of state since we moved to California, and it totally confirmed all the differences I’d observed between CA and the other places I’ve lived. I just kept saying, everything is so clean, and so far apart! Everyone is so friendly! My hair is so straight!

Anyway, after we recovered from that night, we decided to take a drive up the mountains outside Boulder. We drove up into Four Mile canyon, and saw a lot of the damage from last year’s wild fires.

The trees were just blackened. Some houses were untouched, others were completely destroyed, some had already been rebuilt. The views were still incredible, though.

The best part of the trip was when we got sort of lost and stumbled on this old mining town called Gold Hill. It was just a few houses and the general store.

Complete with sleepy dog on the porch.

We stopped and had a piece of chicken pot pie. We also bought a map.

All in all we had a great time, and can’t wait for someone else to get married so we can go back!