Camping at Turquoise Lake & Exploring Ski Towns

Happy Wednesday everybody! Sorry I’ve been MIA for a few days, things have been busy busy around here! We were out of town all weekend, then Monday Cam’s parents arrived from Oregon, so they’re here for the week, and it’s nice to have some visitors! But before this whole week flies by, I wanted to post some pictures from this past weekend…

So readers of my blog know that Cam and I tend to keep pretty busy on the weekends, and this one was no exception. I see those two days as our time to spend together, but also to explore our surroundings, which is a lot of fun in a gorgeous place like Colorado. This weekend’s adventure consisted of a lovely little camping trip, an incredible hike, and visiting Vail and Breckenridge. So while we were able to see a lot of our new state this weekend, it was the perfect balance of activity and relaxation, and I so wish that it could have lasted longer.

We started out the trip on Friday afternoon, and headed west on I-70 out towards the mountains. Along with everyone else in Boulder/Denver apparently because we were stuck in terrible traffic almost the whole way. Unfortunately, there is only one highway that heads out West from Denver and we had heard that it can get pretty congested but this was my first time experiencing it and it sucked. However, we tried not to let it dampen our mood by breaking in to the camping snacks I bought/baked on the car ride.

This picture was actually from the following morning, but we did make a pretty significant dent in it during Friday night’s traffic jam

I was really really really excited to be going camping because it’s something I’ve done every summer of my life, and I just love being outside, unplugged from all distractions, breathing in the fresh air, making s’mores, and reading a good book. To me, it’s not summer if you don’t go on a camping trip so I was determined to make sure we logged some time in the tent before it’s starts to cool off here in Colorado.

I had heard good things about the campgrounds near Turquoise Lake, about 2.5 almost 4 hours from our house (thanks stupid traffic), however I wasn’t able to get a site online and things looked pretty booked. However, last week I called the office and asked how quickly the “first come first serve” sites fill up, and I was told that there are plenty of spaces as well as dispersed camping (aka an area where you can camp in the woods not on a camp site), so I figured we’d be fine and we headed out without a reservation.

Welllll, there’s one thing about camping, it will definitely teach you about patience and loving your spouse through frustrating situations. Due to all the traffic, we didn’t get to Leadville, CO (the town closest to the area we were camping, which was a really small town with these odd, sort of run down, really interesting houses with beautiful views of the mountains) until it was almost dark, meaning we were driving around looking for a campsite in the dark. And of course every single campsite in the park was completely full. Joy. That meant we had to go to the dispersed camping area and try to figure out where to set up our tent in the dark. The thing about camping outside of a campground is that you get people who want to get away from the noise of a campground, but then you also get people who want to get away from the noise restrictions of a campground aka teenagers who want to blare Mexican dance music all night. Needless to say, we were not in the best mood. Cam was irritated because I thought it was such a good idea to come here without a reservation and I was mad because he forgot to pack our camp chairs. And our big water jug. And extra batteries for the flashlight. When in reality Cam could have made the camping reservations and I could have packed the camp chairs, so while it was frustrating at first, we both realized we just need to get over ourselves and enjoy the weekend and not let minor details get us down.

So moving on to Saturday morning, we really had a great day all around. Leadville is up over 10,000 feet, and I had never camped at such a high elevations, and so I was a little surprised at how cold it got at night. (Definitely below freezing!) Lola was extremely confused about why we had just spent the night sleeping on the ground in the cold in a tent, probably because she had never seen a tent before due to the fact that she’s a 9 month old dog that is basically confused by life most of the time.

Seriously, why are we still outside? WTF.

However, the cool morning temps were made better by some coffee via our JetBoil and more slices of blueberry buckle. (Seriously I’m obsessed with this recipe, it’s so delicious, y’all need to try it ASAP…plus it even has Greek yogurt in it so it’s sort of healthy? Just ignore that strusel topping…)

Guess which cup is mine? 🙂

Seriously you need to make this.
Early morning view of the mountains near our campsite 🙂

 After stocking up on some water (as an excuse to use the bathroom…classy) at Safeway, we headed out to do our first 14er. And that experience deserves it’s own separate post, so I’m not going to go into detail about it now since I’m already being way more long-winded in this post than I intended to be…let’s just say, it was an experience.

After our hike, Cam and I headed back towards Turquoise Lake and had a super relaxing afternoon/evening. Seriously, it was just like I had been dreaming about–laying by the water in the sunshine with a good book. Bliss. Lola even played in the freezing cold mountain water for a little bit, and was basically having the time of her life.

Snaggletooth McGee.
I love this picture.

Cam trying to coax Lola into the water…

This is major progress for her!

We then set up our tent in a different (more quiet) part of the dispersed camping area, and it was actually great because we were able to let Lola run around off the leash since there was no one around. Then we made a bonfire, cooked hot dogs, made s’mores, and relaxed by the fire.

Yes, we do have his and hers sporks, are you really surprised?

So sweet and summery. I’ll admit, the summer mood was dampened slightly though by the fact that it was literally freezing cold, but all in all it was a pretty near perfect day. (Lola was not a fan of the weather though, she spent the night alternating between sleeping in the bottom of my sleeping bag and sleeping on top of my face to keep warm…silly puppy!)

And then on Sunday morning as we started to head back home, we had the pleasure of stopping at two big ski towns along the way, Vail and Breckenridge. Vail had a big farmer’s market going on, so it was a lot of fun to walk around and check that out. Vail was very nice, but I was a little bit underwhelmed. It reminded me a lot of Hilton Head, SC where it’s pretty much just all resorts, and there is really no downtown area. (I mean there was sort of a little downtown area where they had the farmer’s market set up, but it was mainly just resorts) Vail has a sort of Swiss/German type theme to some of it’s resorts and restaurants, and I loved all the gorgeous flowers everywhere. I knew that Vail was somewhat of an expensive place, and that was further evidenced by the fact that when we pulled out of the parking garage after walking around town for two hours, it cost us $23. For two hours. WTF.

Nutella crepes…mmm.

After leaving Vail, we headed about a half hour east to Breckenridge, and I absolutely loved it there. It was such a charming little town and there were gorgeous views of the mountains from every single spot in the town. It had much more of a downtown, and while it was a little touristy, I thought it was really adorable. While Vail had a more European feel, Breckenridge definitely had a more Western flavor and it kind of reminded me of Mackinac Island or Traverse City in a way. We had a lot of fun walking around checking out all the little shops and restaurants, and it’s definitely a place I’d like to come back to! (Side note: We ate lunch at the Breckenridge Brewery and I wouldn’t recommend it. The beer was not great, and the food was just average.)

Most adorable Starbucks I’ve ever seen.

 Lola has a really tough life.

So all in all, a great weekend and I’m really enjoying exploring all that Colorado has to offer. Stay tuned for more details about our 14er hike and some more life updates…Hope y’all are having a good week! xoxo