An Italian-American living la dolce vita in the Deep South

An Italian-American living la dolce vita in the Deep South

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

La Dolce Vita Travels: Breckenridge, Colorado

It started with a phone call one afternoon in early June. "Do you want to go to Breckenridge with us?" asked my friend Gayle.

Joe, who was sitting beside me said, "Go to Breckenridge." By that evening, we had all booked our flights.

Sometimes things happen like that.

My favorite photo from the trip. The mountains, and me taking it all in.

Day 1: Departure Day

Oh, it was good to meet bright and early at the Augusta Municipal Airport. Four gals, who had traveled together to Italy two years ago, were now on a grand adventure. But it was a long day of  travel: Augusta to Atlanta (with a three hour layover), Atlanta to Denver (where I sat beside a bride-to-be who was traveling with her wedding dress for a destination wedding in Colorado Springs), and then a two hour drive to Breckenridge.

We arrived to Gayle's cabin by the light of the moon.

Day 2: Breckenridge and Peak 8

We woke to breathtaking views. Because we were already feeling the effects of the altitude, we decided to explore downtown Breckenridge to allow our bodies time to acclimate. The town, nestled between tall mountain peaks, was just lovely. We meandered through the different stores, and after lunch at The Gold Pan Saloon (a Breckenridge tradition since 1879) we took a gondola to Peak 8 (elevation 12,998 ft.), then yet another chairlift, and decided to walk all the way back down the mountain to the downtown area.

That night we drove around and took photos of the local Cannabis trade (if you don't know, marijuana is legal in Colorado). We had been told to at least walk inside one of the stores (It's like a Cracker Barrel! they said) but we were too chicken and the storefronts looked suspicious. Although ... with the four of us hanging out our car windows taking photos, maybe we were the suspicious looking ones?

My shirt says: And so the Adventure Begins. And so it did.

In front of Gayle's cabin.

Goose Pasture Tarn

Breckenridge, CO

Fun place ... our server looked just like a gold prospector!

Clear skies, blue fluffy clouds, mountains ...

The views were spectacular!

Everything was gorgeous.

On top of Peak 8

Crisp mountain air and hiking in the great outdoors ... it does a body good.

Love this sign!

Another store was called Aspen Glow.

This sign cracked me up.

Day 3: Hike to Mohawk Lake

Today was the day for The Big Hike. It was what we had come to do. And to give us encouragement Mr. Moose joined us for breakfast. After discussing what to pack (water, lunch, toilet paper) and how many layers of clothing to wear, we drove to the trailhead.

The hike to Mohawk Lake is 3.4 miles . . . all of that is going UP. And because we made a wrong turn, our route was actually 4 miles . . . all of that going UP. I am not kidding. With the exception of a beautiful glade where we made our wrong turn, we climbed for over three hours. It was a steep climb, and the last mile we climbed hand over foot over the rocks because there wasn't a clearly marked trail.

It wasn't easy, and we really pushed ourselves, but when we finally made it to Mohawk lake and sat on the shore taking in the breathtaking beauty, it was exhilarating. We had persevered and conquered the mountain. There is nothing better than feeling you are on top of the world when you are (literally) sitting on top of the world.

When we got back to the cabin, we celebrated with a glass of wine by Goose Pasture Tarn.

Funny story: On the way up to Mohawk Lake we encountered a group of young people who were huffing and puffing along. Someone in their group, offering encouragement to the others, pointed to us and said, "Look at those women. They're in their 40's, and if they can do it so can we." (Ha! The youngest in our group is 50, so we tood it as a compliment.)

Mr. Moose, right in our front yard.

Getting ready for The Big Hike.

Due to a wrong turn, our hike to Mohawk Lake was actually 4 miles!

During the hike we kept taking off layers, then adding layers. Off and on. On and off.

This glade was the ONLY flat spot. We climbed for four miles.

This is where we made our wrong turn.

Layers off ...

and layers on.

Cozy mountain cabin.

Taking in the view or stopping to breathe?

Still climbing!

In which we encountered snow.

Mohawk lake. We made it!

Taking in the views.

On top of the world.

Celebrating with a glass of vino by the shores of Goose Pasture Tarn.

Day Four:

After yesterday's epic hike, today we took it easy. We drove around the area, and after lunch took the canoe out on the tarn. Canoeing was very serene ... until a weather front blew in out of nowhere and Julie and I struggled to make it to shore. I'm not going to lie, it was a little scary. One minute it was sunny, the next the wind was blowing and the waves were rocking our canoe.

By late afternoon Gayle's daughter, Hannah, arrived with her friend and we all went out to dinner. (BTW, Hannah came to Italy with us, too.)

That night we sat around the fireplace.

Goose Pasture Tarn

Canoeing = tranquility

The calm before the storm.

Best turkey/apple/brie sandwich. Ever.

Fun times!

Sitting by the fire.

Day Five: Hoosier Pass

We couldn't leave Colorado without one more hike so we decided on Hoosier Pass, a mere 3-mile loop that turned out to be more that we thought it would be. It was steep, it was very windy, we had to hike through some snow, and again it was straight UP. But it was marvelous.

That night we walked around Breckenridge and said goodbye to our Colorado adventure.

One more hike!

Loved the weather. Back home, the weather hovered around 100 degrees.

More breathtaking views.

For some reason we kept singing John Denver songs. And "The Hills are Alive" from the Sound of Music.

Mountains through the trees.

Hiking through the snow.

Again, on top of the world.

God's country.

Picture Postcard

Gorgeous views everywhere you turned!

The Hills are Alive ...


Last night in Breckenridge.

Thanks, Gayle, for organizing this Grand Adventure and sharing your home with us!


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