Colorado Springs is full of delightful places to spend an afternoon. As I continue to write Colorado Staycation posts I must include Cheyenne Cañon and Helen Hunt Falls. Located in southwest Colorado Springs the Cañon can be found along the same route from downtown Colorado Springs to the Broadmoor Hotel and the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo.
Exploring the Local Coffee Shops: The Coffee Exchange
We are on a quest find the local cafes and coffee shops, tea rooms and diners, in search of delicious coffee, tea and local flare.
As I partner with my daughter, Maizy, we’ll each share our experiences and individual thoughts. This week, we’re talking about The Coffee Exchange, located at 526 S Tejon, in downtown Colorado Springs.
The Coffee Exchange is located downtown at Cimarron and Tejon. There are a variety of tables and plenty of space for a energetic downtown atmosphere, while still being cozy. The walls were covered in local art, and there was good reading material on the coffee tables near the back of the shop. That is where we settled in for about an hour, on the sofas at the back of the cafe. That gave us a wonderful view of the entire shop.
As I told you all in May, a few of my daughters and I joined a Compassion Tour Trip in July. Because of the way the flights worked out to reach our group and the connection in Miami, I was able to build in a couple of days on either side of the long weekend in El Salvador. One of my older teens has had an extremely full summer with summer classes, an internship with a big project and working her “day job”. We also had a change pre-trip and one of the daughters scheduled for this trip decided not to go, and another daughter jumped in at nearly the last minute. All of that caused me to believe that a short break from regular life before we entered into what the trip held for us would be very good for us.
And it was so good.
For several years, as I looked at the Colorado map and thought about where to go next, Steamboat Springs and Dinosaur National Park were high on my list. But from home we have to drive somewhat diagonally across the state for many hours. Well in early January when Builder and I were talking about Spring Break, and we decided to make plans to stay in Steamboat Springs and explore.
Ever since our fantastic Florida Keys vacation a few summers ago, we have sought to stay in houses or townhome. Through Retreatia we rented a great 2 bedroom 2 bathroom townhome. The house had a washer and dryer which was a bonus after our day at the hot springs pool.
Fish Creek Falls always shows up when I search pinterest for Colorado Waterfall Hikes. All of the trails were snow covered and I forgot my trekking poles, so we simply took the .5 mile overlook path to see the falls.
We also spent hours at the Old Town Hot Springs, which was a blast. Just imagine how fun it is to spend an afternoon in a hot springs pool with teenagers, laughing as the snow falls in nice big flakes, then an hour later enjoying the sunshine while relaxing in one of the smaller pools. It was fantastic!
A gem that we found was the Off the Beaten Path book store! Two floors of books and a coffee shop.
We spents a couple of happy hours here. I enjoyed a Mr Darcy cinnamon mocha and this good book.
We also found some of the other hot springs, and enjoyed a visit to an art museum.
None of us are skiers, so I can’t tell you about that action in Steamboat, but explorers and hikers we are. It is quite a drive to get to this area, but I sure look forward to another visit in the not to far off future!
During the summer of 2017, I headed out on my first backpacking trip with one of my daughters. To be honest, I had spent more time pinning hiking and backpacking articles to my pinterest board, than preparing for this venture.
But the geared was gathered and packed in my new Osprey backpack, off we went. Our first trip was in the Wild Basin area of Rocky Mountain National Park. This park is just about my favorite place on earth and I was pretty excited to experience it in a new way.
After picking up our back country permit, we headed to the trailhead. With backpacks on, we began hiking. There is a lot to learn in any new endeavor. It didn’t take us long to realize that we had the backpacks unequally loaded weight wise. We corrected this the next morning!
About 2.25 miles in we found the sign we’d been looking for. Much to my surprise, we turned off the trail and started heading DOWN. Way down. All I could think is, tomorrow we are going to have go climb back up. Crossing a stream at 2 different points, we suddenly came upon the campsite.
It was so exciting to be there. We found the best spot to hang our hammocks and prepared dinner. Our meals were quite simple. We ate macaroni and cheese with freeze dried broccoli for dinner, and oatmeal with freeze dried fruit for breakfast. We carried nuts, granola bars and apples to eat for lunch and along the trail as needed.
By the time we finished eating and setting up camp, it was beginning to get dark so we stashed our bear canister way on the other side of our site, in the trees, and we climbed into our hammocks.
Right at the moment of wishing each other a good night…a coyote howl. Now we had heard all about how to be bear aware, but coyotes? After a few startled moments I decided to just enjoy the experience, pray that the animal was in fact miles away, and drift off to sleep in the swaying trees.
After a chilly night’s sleep we rose to make breakfast and coffee. I woke many times that night from the cold, so I’ve been thinking it through and I think I have a lightweight plan to stay warmer next time!
Knowing we were not prepared for the snow that was deeper into the wilderness area, we went the other direction to do some exploring of different sites.
Backpacking the first time didn’t go quite how we planned, but it went perfectly. We learned a lot, and are better prepared for the next time.
Have you ever backpacked? Did you sleep in a tent or a hammock?
Earlier this month my family and I traveled across Colorado to visit the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, near Montrose, Colorado. Ever since my “mom retreat” last summer I’ve talked to my husband about going back, and I am so glad he said YES!
We had talked about going to the North Rim, where I had a fabulous time hiking during my retreat, but instead of another hours drive, we pulled into the South Rim campground. On this side of the canyon there are various hikes along the rim, and a drive through tour of specific lookout points.
In this photo my husband and daughter look as though they are “outside” the guard fence, but there was actually a walkway off to that side, just so daredevils can make mom freak out a bit.
While I have this growing love for canyons, I prefer to keep the guard rail firmly between me and the edge!
Also along the South Rim, one can drive down the East Portal Road, down to the river. While we were there, the park was pretty quiet, and we had a delightful picnic by the river. While we were there, we came upon this area full of swallowtail butterflies. Reminded me of our time on the wetlands in British Columbia.
Have you ever been to the Black Canyon of the Gunnison? What other places like this do you recommend we explore in Colorado or neighboring states?