On Friday night, we arrived in the city of Boulder, Colorado. I’d wanted to visit for so long, I’d heard so much about the amazing outdoorsy vibe here. It was like having a crush on a town – when we arrived, I was as excited as a teenager meeting Justin Bieber. We landed at Denver and picked up our rental car. We upgraded from the economy car (we sensibly got a 4 x 4) and drove off in the mother of all enormous cars. For a Honda Fit driver, it made quite the change.
The other thing that has to be discussed was the cold. It was -16 C (3F) when we arrived. It’s hard to describe the cold – it takes your breath away, it’s sharp like a knife on your face. Kind of amazing, kind of awful! We drove to Boulder, found the little condo we’d rented and hunkered down for the night.
Saturday, our first day, was a bit of a disappointment. It was unbelievably cold. The clouds were low over the town so we couldn’t see any of the mountains which allegedly surrounded the town. The famous Flatirons were invisible. We headed to Pearl Street – allegedly vibrant, buzzing heart of the town – but it was empty and bitterly cold, although we did bump into some people we knew!
And then we did what any sensible set of parents would do – we found an indoor play area in nearby Lafayette for the Dude to shake some wiggles out. So Day One – a bit of a let down.
Day Two however was utterly awesome. It was still as cold but the sun came out. I started the day with a run – just under 6 miles through the residential streets of North Bolder. The pavements were covered with hard packed snow so I took my time, careful not to slip. The sun was shining and best of all, we could see mountains! I’d bundled up in a million layers and I was honestly not cold. In fact, I was buzzing. When I got home, my mouth was frozen and my bottom was red with cold but I was so so happy.
So we wrapped up again in a thousand layers and headed to Chautauqua, the hiking area at the bottom of the Flatirons. It was full of Boulderites hiking and running through the snow. We hiked 2 miles through the snow and it was BEAUTIFUL! The only parts of us that were cold were our hands, which thawed most painfully on the way to lunch on Pearl Street. Pearl Street was still bitterly cold but much more fun today, lots of people were out. We finished the day at the famous Boulder Running Company where we spent some money :)
On Monday, we drove an hour into the Colorado Plains to the quite incredible Wild Animal Sanctuary where they’ve rescued hundreds of tigers, lions, bears, wolves and other BIG beasts. These animals were all born in miserable captivity (the rescue stories made me cry a little) so it was moving to see them living in wide open spaces. Did you know there are more tigers in captivity in Texas alone than wild in the entire world? At one point, the lions all started roaring at each other – it was one of those moments where the hairs on your neck stand up. The Husband and I had never heard anything like it, it will stay with us forever. The roaring was quickly followed by another new, amazing sound – a pack of wolves howling. Utterly brilliant!
And then today, Tuesday I squeezed in another run before we packed up and left Boulder. I planned a 6 miler with a stretch along the famous Boulder Creek Path. However after two days of warmer (!) temperatures, the pavements were pretty treacherous and the creek path looked like a slip-fest, so I turned round and ran carefully home. 4 miles done.
Before we left, I got in contact with one of the bloggers from Salty Running who I knew lived in Boulder. She sent me some great advice about places to run and things to do so thank you so much Beth! I would have loved to have run in Chautauqua or Wonderland or along the Boulder Creek Path but the snow made that unrealistic. Next time, Boulder, next time!
Today, we drove 4 hours into the mountains to Steamboat Springs to go skiing. We stopped briefly at the Buffalo Bill Grave and Museum and then drove a pretty scary, wild, desolate 4 hours into the middle of nowhere.
Tomorrow we hit the slopes. Wish me luck.