Last Wednesday, Beer Geek, the boys, and I all hopped a plane at o’dark thirty from DC to Denver. Upon arrival, we grabbed our rental car and headed 5 hours away to Angel Fire, New Mexico. Our plan was to visit Taos and the Taos Pueblo, as well as various hiking activities. Instead, he and I both came down with a wicked bug that threw a wrench into the first bit of our vacation. Beer Geek and Jones managed to make it to Taos, but I was barely capable of walking from the bedroom to the bathroom that day. Luckily, we were staying with family and they made sure that everyone survived.
Thankfully, the bug was short-lived, so by Saturday, we were active again. First order of business: taking the ski lift up and hiking down the mountain in Angel Fire. It was a challenging hike for a variety of reasons: altitude, downhill hiking is HARD, and I was afraid to eat anything, lest I have a trail emergency. All in all though, it was a good visit.
Next we headed towards Santa Fe, with a stop at Pecos National Park on the way. Our time exploring there was limited by a storm moving in and some intense lighting, but we did manage to not get rained on.
When we got to Santa Fe, we stayed in a really cute condo right near the Plaza. It was an awesome choice because we could easily check out the historic area, as well as walk to dinner each night.
While we were staying in Santa Fe, we ventured out to Bandelier National Monument. First we went to the Tsankawi area for a short hike.
I highly recommend this part – not a lot of people were there and the hike was really cool. I manage to even meet up with another Altra Ambassador for a short while.
After that part, we hit the main Bandelier area. This was interesting, but had a lot more crowds and was more difficult to get to as you had to ride a bus from parking to the actual area. After hiking all day and a short visit to the science museum in Los Alamos, Beer Geek and I managed to hit a brew pub in Santa Fe. (This was particularly challenging because my stomach was still not enamored of food or alcohol.)
After another night in Santa Fe, we headed to Chaco Canyon.
Visiting Chaco Canyon has been a goal for Jones ever since he and Beer Geek watched a documentary together when he was a little guy. Because it’s a somewhat difficult park to get to (10+ miles of dirt roads, some of them really rough), the number of people there was small. We wandered around the ruins and then opted to do a hike that took us to the top of the mesa cliff to look down on Pueblo Bonito. While the hike was only about 2 miles roundtrip, the altitude, rock climbing, and backpack filled with water all combined to make it a strenuous workout for me!
The next day, we made a quick stop at Four Corners (you kind of have to…) and then headed to Mesa Verde.
This is a much more popular and easier to get to park, so we were unable to get tickets to climb through the actual ruins. Instead, we did another hike around the cliffs and settled for some amazing views.
Needless to say, this hike was enough of a workout that I didn’t even try to go for a run that evening. (In fact, I didn’t run from Thursday until Friday, thanks to being sick and then all of the hiking. I’m reasonably certain that I got in enough hard workouts to not lose fitness though.)
On Thursday, we arrived in Durango, where the boys begged for a “day off” instead of another day of hiking. Beer Geek and I were happy to oblige and instead hit 4 brewpubs, including Ska Brewing, a big supporter of Skirt Sports events.
We had some interesting beers (including one that tasted like a peppermint patty which is not a taste I expect in a beer…) and still managed to walk between 3-4 miles that day.
Finally, it was time to head back to Denver. I managed a quick run in Durango before we left, where I discovered that I still wasn’t adapted to the elevation. Oy. The drive to Denver is long, but beautiful through the mountains. It’s also very isolated, so stops were few and far between. Luckily, we’d planned a day of recovery in Denver before our flight back. How did we spend that day?
The Denver Zoo, of course. (I collect half marathons, Beer Geek collects counties, and Jones collects zoos – guess we need to find something for Shoo LOL.)
We were fortunate to be joined by a couple of Beer Geek’s fraternity brothers and their families. Jones guided us through the zoo so that we did not miss a single animal. (Yes, that did take 5! hours.) Then we followed that up with dinner and beer, which made the zoo walk worth it.
And now we are home. I’ve never been so happy to see my own bed! Both Beer Geek and I are still not 100%, but we managed to not let that destroy our vacation. With the big trip out of the way, it’s time get serious about marathon training. I’m actually close to on track, so if I can run my runs this week, I’ll be right back where I need to be. Yay for a physically active vacation! (And in case you were wondering, yes, I did wear a Happy Girl skirt for every single hike, as well as my Altra Lone Peaks.)
We crammed a lot into this vacation, but it was absolutely amazing!