How to have fun on a Solo Vacay to Colorado
A soft place to land...
At the onset of this year God gifted me with a trip to Colorado. I say He gifted me because it came as a sweet surprise on the heels of a couple of failed attempts at weekends out of town with friends. And while I love time with friends, I love exploring and opening myself up to some experience I haven't had all the more. So in a very detailed conversation with a dear friend, he mentioned going to Colorado with guy friends for a weekend of skiing. When I shared my current frustration with wanting to get some fresh air, he offered me their place for a personal retreat. It was the best surprise I'd had in a long time! Just a few short weeks later, I was on an airplane to Breckenridge, COLORADO for a real vacay, just me & God. (and I've discovered those truly are the best in certain moments)
Yeah, I know what you're thinking... because I got all the stares. All the questions. All the weird responses from family and friends, who thought going out of town alone for fun was the strangest thing they'd heard of. But honestly, I couldn't wait... for time away to clear my head, to soak in some new scenery & and to see what was on the other side of that mountain. And so I did...
One thing's for sure, if you think you'll be bored, think again. My trip to Breckenridge was anything but boring. In fact boredom was not on the local menu. Don't worry if skiing isn't your thing. If you like beautiful scenery and adventure, you won't be disappointed. Adventure seems to be the heartbeat of COLORADO, I'm fully convinced. There were so many things I wanted to do, including snowshoeing, and tubing in keystone, that I found myself needing more days there just to take it all in.
It was highly recommended by my good friend to book my ski accommodations online prior to the trip, and so I did. They have better deals and you'll feel fully prepared once you're there to just relax and have fun. Plus they had a class that jumped out at me and I needed a little refresher. While I was booking that, I asked a local over the phone where I could rent a snow mobile... because I'm a girl from a small town with a passion for driving things that go fast, I figured snow would only enhance the adventure. It was true! I was directed to a place called GOOD TIMES ADVENTURES and a good time it was! The first image I saw at the top of their web page was dog sledding... Yes, I said dog sledding. That was a no brainer. The guide asked when I wanted to come and I asked when was the best time of day to be on a dog sled. "Sunset of course", he responded... And the rest is history! (YOU gotta ask a local!!)
So I had a little map of an itinerary that looked something like this:
Day 1. Sunrise Snowmobiling
Day 2. Afternoon Women & Wine Group Ski Class
Day 3. Sunset Dog Sledding Tour
Day 4. Gondola ride up the Mountain
I regained my composure each day at a local coffee shop where the view was snow-lined streets and locals soaking up time in front of the fireplace. (one of which I adored and wanted to transport back to Birmingham)! Now to some my schedule may seem a bit too rigid, but the locals were even jealous! I had loads of time in between for relaxing, trying out some great food, touring local shops, and checking out the International snow sculpting competition that comes around every year. (That alone was worth the trip!) PLUS planning ahead gave me a bit of something to look forward to and eased the feeling of being overwhelmed trying to figure things out once I got there.
DISCLAIMER: Two things to note when traveling to another climate is Cold is Colder in the Rockies... at -17 degrees this southern sister was layering everything I'd brought in my suitcase! LAYER, LAYER, LAYER!! I was praying for things to appear that I could add on! Good thing the shops were fully prepared for all of it! BUT don't forget your pjs. trust me!
AND altitude sickness is a real thing! Don't mess around... follow the rules and you'll be on your way to a good time! The town literally has oxygen bars to help you catch your breath and stay acclimated. I was forewarned, and so glad I was! HYDRATE HYDRATE HYDRATE!!! and take advil or alieve every few hours to thin your blood a little. It really helps!! But plan to take it easy on your arrival day. Stay clear of alcohol for at least 24 hrs. and give your body time to adjust. Loads of people can't handle it and end up transported right back to Denver. But you don't wanna do that. Be aware! (Once or twice, I had a hard time catching my breath.)
THE FUN FACTS
- Wednesday's Women & Wine was a win! A great female taught session and a glass of vino overlooking the slopes!
- Dog Sledding might be the single most entertaining thing I've ever done in my life!
- And watching the sun come up while on a snow mobile was indescribable!
By all means....
TAKE YOUR CAMERA!!!! The scenery is unbelievable!!!! Stop and make friends! Now let me say this about Colorado and the people there... they are uber laid back, easy going and ready for adventure themselves. Let the fresh air sink in to your spirit! You'll bring a part of it back with you if you do!
BORROW CLOTHES FROM FRIENDS I had a couple of people ask if I needed anything and boy was it fun to have too many options! When you don't travel that way very often and reside in the South, there's no reason to have multiples of things to wear snow skiing on hand. I had some cute things with me that were so much fun to borrow!
HITCHHIKE the locals are amazing! I was walking to the bus stop in front of my condo and went left where I should've gone right. About a quarter mile downhill I realized what I'd done but there was no turning back. So what did I do?! I risked my life by pulling off my glove, flagging down a driver, and hopped in a warm car to the city. But it's so cold there, they look out for one another. He was like an angel with a very rugged beard! PS. I left a glove on that street and had no idea until I was dropped off... then my driver to the adventure place gave me a pair to replace them. So awesome!!
BE SPONTANEOUS and find a city map of what's going on around town and jump right in. One of the coolest things I saw was a FIRE art exhibit lining the snow-filled streets. Literally these structures took a year to build, and were made of steel with coils of fire running through them. It was the most amazing site! I made a friend at dinner and we met up and walked through it together. (God is full of surprises!)
DINE ALONE people will find it so interesting! I saw a restaurant when I arrived in town and kept thinking I should go. The last evening I was there, I went solo and had the most wonderful pad THAI. When I was seated it was so interesting... A minimum of 3 or 4 waiters kept coming over asking if they could take care of me. It was like I was an unrecognized celebrity. They couldn't figure me out which made it even more fun.
OWN IT when falling on the street! I was out shopping one night and my feet came right out from under me. I was up faster than I fell and a couple of people yelled out from a truck on the street, "hey, you okay?!" I totally acted as if nothing happened and kept on my merry way! Then laughed out loud at myself later! I mean, there was no denying i fell.
DINE WITH STRANGERS when you can. I was at the coffee shop and started chatting it up with the lady ordering next to me. We were ooey-gooey over their lattes and coffee cocktails & they were enamored with my accent. So they invited me to dinner at a place where they'd tried to get reservations for years. I felt so intrigued by the invitation but thought maybe I wouldn't. They said we'll be there at this time, so if you change your mind just show up! At the end of my time of writing I was starved, so I went. And had a blast! They owned several airports and since my dad is a pilot and has a love for flying it was a great conversation piece.
...and ALWAYS SAY YES TO ADVENTURE WITH GOD! He knows us like no other. If it's surprises you love, it's surprises you'll get! The time alone was worth more than I can say. I honestly felt myself resetting and parts of me coming back to life that distractions and the daily grind can tend to squeeze out of us. As I got into bed this New Years, I heard the Lord say "just breathe" and it's been the running theme of my year. In Breckenridge, I literally had to think about my breath because of the oxygen and altitude. So in essence, I needed to catch my breath again... and i more that did that!
I was at such peace in returning that I only asked God that I didn't forget what I'd gained there, spiritually, mentally, and emotionally. 3 days later I was reaching into my book bag to grab my laptop and found this little plastic token keychain from the trip... "The Breckenridge bear." I have no idea how it got there. I don't remember getting it anywhere. But there it was. And I laughed a little, because every time I see it, it's my little reminder of moments with God that I won't ever forget!
PERSONAL FAVES LIST
BRIAR ROSE CHOPHOUSE & SALOON
THE CROWN COFFEE & BAR
BANGKOK HAPPY BOWL
GOOD TIMES ADVENTURES
THE CANTEEN-LOCAL SPOT
CREPES A LA CARTE