14er #2: Mount Bierstadt

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Trailhead sign for Mount Bierstadt. Photo Credit: Kirsten Ebey, July 2014.

Last Friday, a few co-workers and I received a random day off. With summer coming quickly to an end, we decided to hike Mount Bierstadt, a Class 2 difficulty, 14,060′ mountain in Colorado. This only being my second 14er, I was just as anxious as the first!

Out of the three of us who hiked, 2 of us were on our second 14er and for one of us, Bierstadt was the first. I would definitely recommend Bierstadt for first-time 14ers for a few reasons: 1) lower class of difficulty, 2) no incredibly steep inclines, 3) the trail is clearly defined and consists of wooden planking (beginning), dirt, and boulders – you get a taste of everything! 4) if you can park in, or close to, the parking lot at the trailhead, it is only about a 7.5 round trip. For directions to Bierstadt, click here.

 

Luckily, the weather last Friday was incredible! We had a few scary clouds once we hit summit, but no rain or hail the entire afternoon. Amazing, right?! It was nice to hike on a Friday and beat the weekend crowds also – if you have the chance to go on a weekday, take it!

 

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A hidden lake during mile 1 of Bierstadt. Photo Credit: Kirsten Ebey, July 2014

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Sunshine and a two-track trail – how beautiful is that view?! Photo Credit: Kirsten Ebey, July 2014

 

We began hiking the trail at about 7 am and made our way across the two-track path; wooden decking also consumed a portion of the trail early on in the first mile, leading us over marshy land and through tall grass.

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Beautiful meadows and wildlife. Photo Credit: Kirsten Ebey, July 2014

 

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Beautiful meadows and wildlife. Photo Credit: Kirsten Ebey, July 2014

 

The views of the valleys  and meadows were breath-taking. Beautiful wildflowers are present along the majority of the trail until about the 3rd mile (guess-timate). Marmots and little chipmunks were everywhere! It was really fun to see wildlife in addition to the beautiful plant life on our hike this time.

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Check out how far we’d come! Looking back at the trailhead below somewhere between mile 2 and 3. Photo Credit: Kirsten Ebey, July 2014

 

Although the trail is pretty tame, the last mile or two are definitely more rough. The higher up, the rockier it gets!

 

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View from somewhere around mile 3. Photo Credit: Kirsten Ebey, July 2014

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Rough terrain in the last mile. Photo Credit: Kirsten Ebey, July 2014

Check out the sweet “Stairway to Heaven” pic from summit:

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Cassy summitting Bierstadt. Photo Credit: Kirsten Ebey, July 2014

 

The views from the top were incredible, but with the clouds rolling in we were only able to stay up there for about 10 minutes.

 

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View from the top of Mount Bierdstadt. Photo Credit: Kirsten Ebey, July 2014

Just enough time to get a picture with the conveniently placed, home-made signs that are waiting for you at the top!

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Kirsten at the top of Mount Bierstadt. Photo Credit: Cassy H., July 2014

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Lonely backpack at the top. Photo Credit: Kirsten Ebey, July 2014

Something we need to mention – 14ers are hard. They truly test your physical and mental abilities to the max. When I hear people say “It’s an easy 14er” or, “Hey, that one’s an easy one!”, it annoys us as this is not necessarily true for you and your abilities. Know your limits. Yes, the 14ers are classified, and this is a good guide in order to pick out which mountains to start on and which mountains will be more challenging than others; however there are no “easy 14ers”.

Research your mountain before you go – 14ers.com is an amazing site with a TON of information including classifications, directions, trailheads, and pictures. Figure out which mountain is going to be right for your skill level. There are 54 to choose from! We definitely recommend Bierstadt as a first-time 14er, but remember that it is still a physical feat to accomplish! There’s no doubt in our mind that you can do it. 🙂

Have any questions or want to accompany DenverSpeax on an upcoming 14er? Comment below, or email us at denverspeax@gmail.com.

 

 

Urban Hiking – Yes, it’s a real thing.

Denver….er, well, Colorado’s weather hasn’t been cooperating much as of late. Tornados, hail, rain, thunderstorms, you name it. It’s making it pretty hard for us to conquer the remaining miles in the June Hike Challenge.

Planning hikes and then having the weather screw up your plans is not only frustrating, but can cost you gas money, time, and energy. For these reasons, plus not wanting to let another day go by sans hiking, Moguls and I set out on an Urban Hiking Adventure around the capitol this afternoon and knocked two more miles off of our 50 mile goal. 45 more miles to go!

Take a look at our journey!

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When life gives you rain, bring an umbrella. Photo Credit: Kirsten Ebey, June 2014

 

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Have you ever noticed the paintings inside the archways in and around Civic Center? Beautiful work. Photo Credit: Kirsten Ebey, June 2014

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Swimming, anyone? Photo Credit: Kirsten Ebey, June 2014

 

Urban hiking is actually a real thing – people document their urban hikes throughout cities, including cool quirks like staircase connections, unseen walkways, and much more. Moguls and I kept to the sidewalks and walkways of the different parks, but look forward to finding interesting, less-traveled parts of Denver on our upcoming excursions.

Urban hiking is not only less costly then driving somewhere to hike, but it’s also good for the environment.

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Halfway through our Urban Hike, the sun started to shine again! Photo Credit: Kirsten Ebey, June 2014

 

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Love the contrasts of all of the different colors, shapes, and sizes of the buildings downtown. Photo Credit: Kirsten Ebey, June 2014

 

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There’s artwork all around – go walk around and snap some shots. Photo Credit: Kirsten Ebey, June 2014

 

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More amazing artwork around Denver. Photo Credit: Kirsten Ebey, June 2014

 

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Moguls’ favorite part – the fountains! Photo Credit: Kirsten Ebey, June 2014

 

Get out there, Denver. Urban Hike! Get to know your city using the power of your own body. 

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Our favorite shots from the Urban Hike. Get outside and check out your own city! What new things will you find when you’re face-to-face? Photo Credit: Kirsten Ebey, June 2014

 

Check out more hiking adventures on our Facebook Page.

Chalk it Up – Denver Chalk Art Festival Faves from 2014

Another reason why Denver is the coolest – the annual Chalk Art Festival on Larimer Square a few weekends ago (May 31 – June 1st). Free for all ages, artists gathered and created replicas of photos that were often displayed next to their work in the Square.

Here are some shots of our favorite moments and works from the festival:

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Photo Credit: Kirsten Ebey, June 2014.

 

Not only were there 200+ artists creating these beautiful works of art, live music, food, and beverage tents were also a part of the festival, much of which supported by Colorado businesses.

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Photo Credit: Kirsten Ebey, June 2014.

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Photo Credit: Kirsten Ebey, June 2014.

Many of the artists are local students competing for cash, backed by local businesses. Check back on the Denver Chalk Art website to find out who the winners are.

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Photo Credit: Kirsten Ebey, June 2014.

 

Chalk art, or street painting, dates back to the 16th century in Italy – it’s amazing this tradition is still prevalent all over the world today.

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Photo Credit: Kirsten Ebey, June 2014.

 

Yet another spectacular event in downtown Denver. We love having so many things to do and see downtown – it’s what makes the city great! What Festivals are you looking forward to this summer? Let us know!

 

Follow our adventures on Facebook.

 

Wipe Your Stress Slate Clean – The Acupuncture Lounge

When I was referred to acupuncture by my physician, I initially thought he was an idiot.

A form of traditional Chinese medicine, acupuncture was the last thing on my mind to help me reduce stress. Weren’t there other options? No – little tiny needles stuck in me like a pushpin would be the way to go, he said!

I’m sure most of us have assumptions regarding acupuncture, but I think these assumptions come from a lack of knowledge. Allow me drop some learning:

  • Acupuncture doesn’t hurt. The needles are barely thicker than a human hair.
  • Many people associate needles with drawing blood or getting a shot – these are hollow needles, and sometimes painful. Accupuncture needles are virtually painless.
  • While Eastern practitioners describe acupuncture as the free-flowing of energy or life force within the body, many Western practitioners explain acupuncture as places to stimulate nerves, muscle, and connective tissue.
  • Acupuncture is used to reduce pain, relieve stress and allergies, and much more.

On Groupon, I found an offer for a $17 acupuncture treatment, thought “what the hell”, and purchased. Before purchasing, I made sure to look up the local center providing the Groupon to confirm reputation – The Acupuncture Lounge has nothing but raving clients and good reviews, so I was quite confident that I would be in the best hands there.

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The session I had purchased was for one-hour in a group setting. It might sound strange to be laying down and receiving treatment in the presence of a group of people, right? Wrong. No one’s concerned with you – they’re too busy relaxing and enjoying their own sessions. The Acupuncture Lounge makes it easy to enjoy the session and relax, wiping your stress slate clean. The soft music enhances the experience, and all three times that I’ve visited, I’ve been able to take a nice little siesta.

The staff at Acupuncture Lounge are friendly and helpful, answering any questions that you may have. They’re also relatable, and able to provide plenty of helpful tips to continue your stress-free journey after your sessions.

Frequency of visits really depends on what you’re going to treatment for – The Acupuncture Lounge will be happy to help you carve out a plan.

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Check out the Acupuncture Lounge on Facebook by clicking on this picture. Photo Credit: Kirsten Ebey, June 2014

 

I’m happy that my physician recommended acupuncture; like I said, I would never have thought about this sort of treatment for stress, but it really is helping. I enjoy, and look forward to, my once per week visits – it helps me wipe the stress slate clean, and recollect myself. It helps me to remember my own goals and to focus on them, rather than sweating what we call “the small stuff”.

 

Acupuncture can be used for ailments other than stress – helping with quitting smoking, pain, allergies, migraines – you name it. Check out the Acupuncture Lounge and give them a call with any questions you may have – try something different! You’ll be pleasantly surprised.

 

Find more about what’s good in Denver by visiting our Facebook page.

Follow our adventures on Instagram  and Twitter: @denverspeax

Valverde Bazaar Pop-Up Outdoor Market – 1 Day Only!

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Check out one of the coolest Colorado home-grown, hand-made flea markets around – the Valverde Bazaar. Click on the photo to check out their Facebook Page! Photo courtesy of the Valverde Bazaar’s Facebook Page, May 2014

 

Set up in the outdoor space of Eron Johnson Antiques, this 1-day Pop-Up Market will launch their second season this upcoming Saturday, May 17th. Open from 9 am – 4 pm, the Valverde Bazaar will show off over 70 local, crafty vendors toting vintage, antique, and creative offerings to the public.

As if home-made goods and beautiful collections weren’t enough, food trucks and live music are also on the roster for this upcoming Saturday. Check out the Bazaar located at Eron Johnson Antiques on 389 South Lipan Street in Denver – it is a FREE event, suitable for all ages, and is a great way to get outside. Support local artists and bring a friend or two! There will be so many amazing booths, great food, and sunshine – something we all need after the blizzard of last night!

For more information, check out the Valverde Bazaar on Facebook.

Be Inspired: Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs

Yesterday, Steve and I (Kirsten) journeyed to Colorado Springs for the first time since moving to Colorado a year ago. Equipped with snacks, water, cameras, and a little dog, we hiked for a few hours throughout Garden of the Gods.

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Steve & Moguls, checking out the view. Photo Credit: Kirsten Ebey, May 2014

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Garden of the Gods. Photo Credit: Kirsten Ebey, May 2014

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Garden of the Gods. Photo Credit: Kirsten Ebey, May 2014

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Garden of the Gods. Photo Credit: Kirsten Ebey, May 2014

 

Garden of the Gods is a registered National Natural Landmark located about an hour south of Denver on i25. There are about 15 miles’ worth of trails throughout the park, all of which outlined on a FREE map provided by the Visitor & Nature Center Information Desk. For our first trip, we stuck to the paved walkways and took note of interesting looking trails for next time. We couldn’t have asked for better weather!

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Garden of the Gods. Photo Credit: Kirsten Ebey, May 2014

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Garden of the Gods. Photo Credit: Kirsten Ebey, May 2014

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Garden of the Gods. Photo Credit: Kirsten Ebey, May 2014

 

Climbers are allowed in designated areas of the park with proper permits and equipment. Honestly, one of the coolest experiences at the park was watching climbers clench to the side of these massive, jagged rocks.

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Garden of the Gods. Photo Credit: Kirsten Ebey, May 2014

 

 

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Garden of the Gods. Photo Credit: Kirsten Ebey, May 2014

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A Boy and his Nikon. Photo Credit: Kirsten Ebey, May 2014

 

 

Garden of the Gods is a great place for all ages! The views are spectacular, and the hiking is amazing. There are all levels of trails throughout the park with maps posted throughout. Also, it’s a great workout for you and your furry friend, just remember to keep them on a leash at all times.

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Garden of the Gods. Photo Credit: Kirsten Ebey, May 2014

 

 

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Steve and Kirsten exploring Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs, CO. Photo Credit: Kirsten Ebey, May 2014

 

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Garden of the Gods. Photo Credit: Kirsten Ebey, May 2014

 

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Steve looking for the best shot in Garden of the Gods. Photo Credit: Kirsten Ebey, May 2014

 

 

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Garden of the Gods. Photo Credit: Kirsten Ebey, May 2014

 

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Garden of the Gods. Photo Credit: Kirsten Ebey, May 2014

If you’re ever in the mood for being inspired by more of Colorado’s natural beauty, check out Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs. Visit their Visitor and Nature Center, climb the massively jagged rocks, or hike one of the several trails.  They have tons of events relating to geology, tours, and more. Also, check out the other sights in the park, like Balanced Rock.

Jonesy’s Eat Bar – A Favorite Denver Gastropub

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Right outside Jonesy’s on the corner of 20th & Logan in downtown Denver, Colorado. Click on the picture to visit their Facebook Page.  Photo Credit: Kirsten Ebey, Mar 2014

Your first question may be, “What is a gastropub?” This type of establishment reflects the warm comforts of your neighborhood bar while still dishing up some delicious, high-end food. At Jonesy’s, the food boasts fun creativity, collecting comfort foods from around the globe and recreating them at an affordable price.

 

Opened in 2008, Jonesy’s focuses on the simple pleasures of relaxing at a local eatery. An insta-comfort zone, Jonesy’s is built with a welcoming atmosphere, supporting the wino and Colorado Craft Beer junky alike; bonus – they ALSO cater to foodies near and far. The menu is anything but foreign- it’s simple to pick out old favorites with a new, funky twist.

A speciality of Jonesy’s are their ridiculously addictive fries in several flavors.The header of the fry menu states “Best fries in the US + Best in Denver”; DenverSpeax is here to assure you that they were not fibbing a bit. And, why is that? Oh, because we tried all of them.

That’s right – 3 mouths, one sitting, 5 plates of fries: 

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Thai Ginger fries at Jonesy’s – click on the link to check out their Facebook Page! Photo Credit: Kirsten Ebey, Mar 2014

To get a feel of what we were in for, we began with the Thai Ginger, a plate bursting at the seams with a powerful kick of spice teamed up with a sweet thai chili glaze.

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Getting our snack on at Jonesy’s Eat Bar – pictured is a fantastic vegetarian option, The Tuscan Veggie sub chocked full of sautéed harvest mushrooms, stewed garlic tomatoes, gorgonzola, arugula. Photo Credit: Kirsten Ebey, Mar 2014

After eating one plate of fries, we had to check out what was going on with the rest of the menu. Luckily, we were able to try the other fry flavors via sides with our meals! The Buffalo Fries were to die for; crumbly, blue cheese with mouth-watering buffalo wing sauce smothered over a heap of hot, crispy fries.

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Bacon Mac’ n Cheese fries? Don’t mind if we do! Check out the menu by clicking on the picture. Photo Credit: Kirsten Ebey, Mar 2014

 

We loved how the fries were crispy at first, but eventually soaked up the sauce of whichever flavor we tried. There may, or may not have been, an argument regarding whether the first or last bites were the best.

 

By the end of this magical Jonesy’s journey, we were stuffed. Plates of fries, Colorado craft beer, entree’s…. BUT WE COULDN’T STOP. So we did what any sensible person does when they’re over-stuffed and unbuttoning the top button on their jeans, and ordered dessert.

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A dish created so well, no drop could be left behind – check out other dessert options at Jonesy’s by clicking on this picture! Photo Credit: Kirsten Ebey, Mar 2014

Vietnamese ice cream atop a chocolate brownie – a fantastic collaboration of sweet, rich, and indulgent. The Vietnamese ice cream was most definitely the best we had ever tasted, agreeing that this should be a weekly splurge. Oddly enough, the dessert kind of resembled what we loved about the fries – the smothered goodness of flavor, enhancing each fry as they sat and soaked.

Stop by and check out Jonesy’s at 400 E 20th Ave in Denver. The environment provides a great outlet to wind down the week. Also, the patio should be opening soon due to this amazing weather we’re having – sit outside, take a load off, and enjoy a brew and some fries!

 

 

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Get Ready – Denver’s City Park Jazz is BACK in June 2014

One of the coolest, FREE events in town, City Park Jazz in Denver’s City Park offers Denverites of all ages a great time outside.

Pack a picnic, ride your bike, and find a spot in the Park on June 1st, 2014 to kick off another season of FREE Jazz concerts.

Pavillion within City Park Credit: Kirsten Ebey May 2013

Pavillion within City Park Credit: Kirsten Ebey May 2013

 

A Few Easy Reminders: 

  • Yes, you can totally bring your furry friend! Make sure they’re on a leash.
  • Please, please, please don’t forget an extra trash bag to keep your trash concealed before throwing it away when leaving. Keep this beautiful place clean.
  • No, you don’t have to pay – it’s FREE! You can, however, always donate while at the concert (they have volunteers that collect) or on the website.
  • The show starts at 6:00 pm MST, but if you’re looking for a parking spot on a nearby street, you’ll need to head over a few hours earlier. We totally suggest riding your bike if at all possible!
  • No glass in the park, but canned beer is allowed.
  • Food trucks will be at the park so if you don’t pack you’re on food, you will not starve.
  • There are portopotties, and they’re usually pretty clean.

Click here for the 2014 season schedule. Get ready to have an amazing time! We hope to see you there.