OneSpark 2014 – CitySpeax Project Promo Video

Thanks to all of our friends and family that have made this trip to OneSpark in Jacksonville tomorrow possible. Watch our brand expansion project’s video – CitySpeax – your city, your love.

Also, please please PLEASE vote for our project to get NOTICED and FUNDED here. “Bookmark” it, and help us rise through the ranks of popularity. Thanks again for your support!

Exploring the Highlands – Seafood Landing

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Seafood Landing has a great selection of seafood, and is located right in the heart of the Highlands on 32nd Ave. Credit: Kirsten Ebey, Feb 2014

Remember a few months back when we explored The Highlands and visited places like Vert Beauty & The Matador? We also visited this fantastic seafood shop located at 3457 W. 32nd Ave called Seafood Landing. Open since 1974, the staff over at Seafood Landing really know their stuff, and carry an incredible selection. With the help of Seafood Landing, we can now make a May 2014 Crawfish Boil actually happen right here in DENVER!

When speaking with the staff, we learned that the original owners of Seafood Landing actually brought seafood to Colorado about 25 years ago – we’d say that’s quite the incredible feat, and deserves to be recognized.

Seafood Landing not only sells a great variety, they also have spices, cookbooks, and other novelties to help you do it right – this is definitely a plus! Not sure what spice or recipe to follow for your purchase? Ask them! They’re happy to help make your experience enjoyable in any way possible.

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We are big fans of the spices on display in this fisheye pic! Check out their marinades and spices to keep your seafood delicious and exciting. Credit: Kirsten Ebey, Feb 2014

The Omega-3 found in fish oil is fantastic for your health! Looking to lower blood pressure and help out your heart? Fish! Trying to figure out a way to burn fat faster? Pick a day or two of the week and eat fish instead of red meat as your protein. The benefits are plenty – good thing we have Seafood Landing to help us out! Stop in and say hi – check them out and support local business that supports your health.

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Support the Boys and Girls Club of Metro Denver at Crossfit DeCO!

This weekend, February 23rd, 2014, CrossfitDeCO and the Boys and Girls Club of Metro Denver are teaming up to hold a fundraiser to sponsor student athletes.

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Thanks to CrossfitDeCO for posting this awesome photo for the fundraiser – click on the photo to be re-directed to their site for more information on the event and how you can help. Credit: CrossfitDeCO, Feb 2014

Stop in at CrossfitDeCO from noon to 2 pm this Sunday to see how you can help a student with an 8 week Crossfit membership. No donation is too small, and this is a great way to get kids active in the Denver area. Don’t believe us? No worries – there will be a sample workout performed to make you a believer. Note that while childhood obesity is increasing in awareness, Colorado’s childhood obesity rate continues to increase, per the Denver Post.  What a great fundraiser to help out with this issue!

Check out CrossfitDeCO’s Official site for more information.
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Skiboarding at Arapahoe Basin, Colorado

Last weekend, we rolled up to A-Basin to skiboard (some of us ski, some of us snowboard – this magical word includes both) for the day. The first and only time Steve and I visited Colorado (October 2012), we skiboarded A-Basin; it was great to experience more than one run being open and nice, short lines. Check out the photos from last Sunday on the mountain:

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View from one of the lifts at A-Basin. Credit: Kirsten Ebey, Jan 2014

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Last chair of the day – the wind was nuts and visibility on the way down was shadows at best. Totally worth every second! Credit: Kirsten Ebey, Jan 2014

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Our last run of the day. Credit: Kirsten Ebey, Jan 2014

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It’s great to be reminded every once in a while! Especially after a nice yard-sale in the middle of the mountain. I mean, not that that’s ever happened… Credit: Kirsten Ebey, Jan 2014

Excited to get out on the mountain this upcoming Saturday – hopping in the car and heading West is such a great feeling.

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Crossfit DeCO – A Workout I Never Regret

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Meet Steve Mercer, part-owner of DenverSpeax LLC! Steve’s stepped out from behind the scenes to write about a new passion of his.

While living in Michigan, I stumbled on Crossfit via Youtube, and became instantly hooked / curious; it was different. Everything about it screamed “this is NOT your normal workout”.

This was about two years ago, and since then I’ve followed Crossfit fairly closely, but never actually visited or joined a Crossfit gym (aka, “box”). Since moving to Denver, I’ve been searching for a new gym in order to keep myself fit; let me tell you, this is not an easy task when in a new city. Some are too far away,…some too expensive,…some are just too much of a singles meet up, or even too boring. Crossfit came to mind as a good option.

Today I can gladly tell you I hurt…I hurt in a good way.

About two weeks ago, DenverSpeax was approached by Leslie Friedman, owner of Crossfit DeCO, to give them a try. Honestly, we’ve all heard some sort of negativity surrounding Crossfit, which caused a bit of hesitation for me at first. Crossfit has developed a reputation for being too intense and only for high-performance athletes. However, wouldn’t you want to support a locally owned business, be surrounded by other health-conscious people who support you, and become more functionally fit for a more active lifestyle?  Hopefully, you are answering “uh, YES!”.

 

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Crossfit may be hard work, but it’s also a ton of fun. Check out Crossfit DeCO’s class schedule by clicking the picture above. Credit: Steve Mercer, Jan 2014

Located at 923 W 9th Ave, Denver, Colorado 80204, I nervously walked into Crossfit DeCO, and was immediately greeted by many of the coaches and members. Looking around the gym (or “box” via Crossfit lingo), I noticed all different age groups, fitness levels, and experience were in attendance.

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Yeah, Crossfit can seem intimidating, but it’s important to try it out for yourself – create your own point of view. Click on the picture above to be brought to CrossFit DeCO’s website. Credit: Steve Mercer, Jan 2014

Each day, as a member, you are given a warm up and a “workout of the day” (aka WOD) which is designed to help improve your overall functional movement. A WOD can be anywhere from 10 to 40 mins long, involves a variety of different movements, and will whip you into shape.

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It doesn’t take a lot of fancy machinery to get in shape. Credit: Steve Mercer, Jan 2014

I am starting in the functional classes, or “Level 1”. In these classes, you learn the basic movements while still getting a good workout under the guidance of one of DeCO’s experienced coaches. An approach you will find at DeCO is that everyone is expected to try their hardest, but not everyone is expected to perform on the same level; this mentality is not always found in a Crossfit box that I really appreciate. At DeCO, workouts are easily scaled to a person’s capability. Your workout is YOURS.

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It’s amazing what you can do in an encouraging, supportive environment! Credit: Steve Mercer, Jan 2014

DeCO offers services outside of your day-to-day WOD as well, which is very cool – it’s not just the same, old Box. They offer chiropractic services, massage therapy, Olympic lifting, nutritional counseling, and personal one-on-one training. Check out the rates on their website here. Trust me- the cost is small compared to getting these services independently.

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Oh, just hanging out… Click the above picture to be brought to Crossfit DeCO’s Facebook Page. Credit: Steve Mercer, Jan 2014

We have experienced other gyms, and this is nothing like going to 24 hour fitness or your local fitness center. A new visitor to DeCO may be confused about the lack of equipment and machines, but don’t worry – you can still workout without giant weight machines or treadmills. What stood out for me, and became reasoning behind joining as a member, is the honest encouragement from classmates as well as the coaches. Understanding that it is most important to give all you can, and to do YOUR personal best each time, will prove to be rewarding in Crossfit; Crossfit DeCO encourages you to do so in the most supportive way, making each class enjoyable. I won’t sugarcoat it – it’s tough, but the experience is incredible. Sure, sometimes it’s difficult to get our of bed in the morning and show up. To put it best, one morning after the most thoroughly exhausting WOD at DeCO, I posted a picture on Instagram with the caption:

“I never regret it (after it’s done)”.

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C’mon- they’re your friends! Credit: Steve Mercer, Jan 2014

If you want to join DenverSpeax on this journey, Saturdays are free to drop in! Stop in, give it a try, and let them know DenverSpeax sent you. All fitness levels are welcome. Like I’ve mentioned – it’s a great Box with coaches that are highly knowledgable. They’re happy to help with any questions you may have about the Box, or even CrossFit in general.

For more information, visit http://crossfitdeco.com/ and like their Facebook page to see the daily workouts and upcoming events.

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HAPPY 100th POST! Snowshoeing – Trying Something New

A few of us have been talking about trying Snowshoeing for a while now, and just never got around to researching it… until today!

Step One: Gear
While scouring the inter webs, we gained a pretty good understanding of what will be needed for our snowshoe excursions:

  • Waterproof Hiking bootsREI Denver has a great supply of hiking shoes that will also work for snowshoeing. Because of my (Kirsten) wide feet and love for the brand, I went with Keen’s Women Targhee II Mid Hiking Boots. They’re weatherproof, breathable, and wide. I purchased a half-size bigger as they’re noted to run a half-size small.

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    Check out the reviews on the Keen Targhee II Mid Women’s Hiking Boot online and shop around for a pair for yourself! Credit: Google Images, Jan 2014

  • hiking bootWarm clothing – both outer layer and underneath. Luckily, we have plenty of wool socks (SmartWool socks work really well), warm hats and gloves, waterproof snow pants, and different weight jackets from skiing and snowboarding. Depending on where you’re snowshoeing, you’ll need to pack a daypack with changes of clothes to adhere to weather conditions.
  • Snowshoes and Poles – did you know that many places provide snowshoe rentals? REI is one of those places, so while we bought hiking boots, we checked out the rental situation. You can pick up snowshoes and poles at REI on Friday, drop them off the following Sunday before they close, and only be charged a one-day rental of $18 for members, or $22 for non-members. There are a ton of places in Colorado that rent snowshoes – try googling it to see who has equipment available for rental in your area.
  • Snacks – Not only have we read, but we’ve also been told that snowshoeing can be pretty labor intensive. Make sure you bring a daypack with not only changes of clothes, but also water and snacks. Hydration and carbs are going to be key in generating energy to keep going, just like while hiking.

Step Two: Trails
While checking out at REI today, we came across an area by the checkout that had FREE trail maps for snowshoeing. Of course, the internet is a great place to find trails and read through reviews of people that have experienced them firsthand. Here is a list of trails that we’ve found that accommodate both cross-country skiing and snowshoeing in the winter:

Bemrose Ski Circus
Difficulty: Easy to more difficult

Burro – FDT 80
Difficulty: Easy

Keystone Gulch Road – FSR 175
D
ifficulty: Easy to moderate

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The majority of ski resorts have snowshoeing equipment rental, classes, and trails available for patrons. Above, snowshoers enjoy the trail at Steamboat. Credit: Steamboat Resorts, Jan 2014

Meadow Creek – FDT 33
Difficulty: Easy to more difficult

Peru Creek Road – FSR 260
Difficulty: Easy to moderate

Vail Pass Winter Recreation Area
Difficulty: Easy to more difficult

Even Van Bibber Park in Wheat Ridge has a trail perfect for beginning snowshoeing. Also, check out Arapaho National Forest and Roosevelt National Forest for additional snowshoe trail ideas.

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Snowshoeing was even cool in 1907! Credit: Wikipedia, Jan 2014

Step Three: GO! 
Next, we need to plan when we are actually going on our first snowshoeing excursion. We will watch the weather to prepare according clothing, snack, and traffic-wise. Additionally, while we are snowshoeing, we will make sure to use the Strava App to track our progress.

Snowshoeing looks to be an incredible, aesthetically pleasing and fitness providing adventure. We’re excited to try out the REI rental process and get out there in the next few weeks to experience this firsthand and report back to you all. If you have any comments or suggestions as we plan for our first Snowshoeing adventure, make sure to comment below! We’d love your feedback.

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Weekend Getaways: Seattle, Washington

With Frontier Airlines catering to us Denverites, it’s not uncommon to find plane tickets like we did to Seattle, WA, for $58 each way, per person. This has opened a whole new door to weekend traveling for us, starting with Seattle. Take a look at our trip, a Friday night through Sunday afternoon, two weekends ago!

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12th man! Credit: Kirsten Ebey, Jan 2014

We entered the city by taxi from the airport; there is a railway that will bring you from SeaTac to downtown Seattle, however we were on a time crunch. The cab was approximately $40 versus the approximate $5 we would have spent journeying via public transportation. We always suggest taking public transportation when you can, but with an arrival time of 11:30 pm at night and only about 36 hours, we wanted to get downtown as fast as possible!

The weekend we visited, the playoff game between the Seattle Seahawks and the New Orleans Saints was taking place – as you can see in the picture to the left, the city was alive with the “12th Man” spirit.

Many office buildings arranged lights in the shape of the numeral “12”, representing Seattle’s fan as being the 12th man on the field. Their stadium was built to accommodate the 12th man’s ridiculously loud spirit, which we heard first hand echoing throughout First Ave that Sunday.

We stayed downtown on Pike street to help accommodate some of the walking for the weekend. Our hotel was a short, walking distance from Pike Place Market allowing us to spend time checking out the tourist attractions we HAD to see.

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View entering the Pike Place Market. Credit: Kirsten Ebey, Jan 2014

After a hearty and FREE breakfast at the hotel, we hiked the mile through downtown Seattle to the Pike Place Market. Of course we stopped and watched fish being tossed around by a bunch of funny gentleman. Of course, we creepily eaves-dropped a city tour to hear a few generic facts about Seattle. Then, we simply meandered around! It’s great what you can find when you get lost.

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Steve accompanying a famous resident of Pike Place Market. Credit: Kirsten Ebey, Jan 2014.

We wandered in and out of the market, checking out each vendor on each floor. Outside, we strolled down Post Alley, famous not only for the beautiful street art (pictured directly below), but also for the Seattle Gum Wall (pictured further below).

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Eyes on Post Alley in Seattle, Washington. Credit: Kirsten Ebey, Jan 2014

While patrons waited to enter the Market Theatre in the early 1980s, they began sticking their gum on the outside wall upon entry. Tada!, a wall of gum is born. Ranked one of the top 5  germiest places in the world, I found it easy to find simply via smell from quite a distance away! Yuck. A very cool sight, but not for anyone with a weak stomach, just a fore-warning.

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Seattle’s Gum Wall. Credit: Kirsten Ebey, Jan 2014

In addition to the Pike Place Market, we also visited First Ave, the avenue leading up to the Seahawks’ stadium that Saturday. The evening was devoted to football, which meant finding a location to cater to New Orleans Saints fans in the city of Seattle. Impossible? Oh, no… not at all! We located The New Orleans, a great restaurant and bar on First Ave, serving delicious food and beer from the South. Check out the creole stew and mouthwatering jambalaya, served with a side of red beans and rice!

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Amazing creole food, just how we like it! Credit: Kirsten Ebey, Jan 2014

The food was moderately priced, and worth every penny. I haven’t found another place that can make red beans and rice like my Momo in Metairie, Lousiana… until we visited The New Orleans! Absolutely delicious with a great staff to boot.

 We even saw the sun for a few hours off of the deck of The New Orleans!  The stories are true – Seattle is quite grey, but that doesn’t prevent those who visit from having a great time. Nonetheless, we were ecstatic to see the sun shine down, if even for a little while on our short trip.

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The sun shining on First Ave that Sunday in Seattle, Washington. Credit: Kirsten Ebey, Jan 2014

When leaving Sunday afternoon, we provided ourselves plenty of time to get to the airport. Locals advised that traffic can be unpredictable, and with so many people entering the city for the game, there would more than likely be long security lines in addition to traffic on the road. After wandering around the city and seeing the sites, we were on our way back to sunny Denver, Colorado, to begin our work week.

Helpful Tidbits learned on this travel:

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On one of our many walks – the Washington State Convention Center. Credit: Kirsten Ebey, Jan 2014

  • Need to buy souvenirs? Buy cool postcards of the city and send them to those you love! Everyone loves getting mail, and this is an inexpensive way to show people what you’re up to.
  • The Pike Place Market is full of interesting things to do year round – try the local’s guide to Pike Place Market and see what events are happening while you’re in town.
  • Seattle is full of microbreweries, many of which formed in the past few years. Take a tour to check a few out! Or, ask the locals to write down a few of their favorites, and you can create your own Seattle Pub Crawl.
  • To lessen expense and ensure a great start to your day, make sure the hotel you stay at serves breakfast. With so little time, it’s important to start the morning off right. Check out the Homewood Suites in Seattle on Pike Street where we stayed – complete with kitchenette, and short walking distance from Pike Place Market.

Watch for the inexpensive flights on Frontier and go visit the Emerald City when you get the chance. The locals are fantastic and providing suggestions of where to visit, so don’t be afraid to ask.

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Sushi Bay 17 – Creating raving fans, one Denverite at a time.

Over the past few months, an overwhelmingly amount of Denver friends have asked, “Have you been to the new sushi place on 17th?” and “Hey, have you been to Sushi Bay 17?”.

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Five girls, one giant wheel of fortune, er sushi.  Thanks, Shawna, for letting me borrow this awesome picture! Credit: Shawna Jones, Dec 2013

All questions were accompanied by positive feedback, “Dude, you HAVE to go…” With this many people talking about it, in such a positive light, we had to go check it out! A band of 5 awesome women gathered at Sushi Bay 17 last Thursday for their group-formed, monthly Ladies Night to see what all the talk was about.

Sushi Bay 17 is located at 1728 E 17Ave
Denver, CO 80218 within the City Park neighborhood. They have a parking lot as well as plenty of on-street parking. Weather permitting, we always suggest riding a bike, especially through this great neighborhood.

Together, we ordered edamame for an appetizer, 9 sushi rolls, a few miso soups and one ginger salad. All of the food was very fresh, and beautifully presented. The ginger salad is a heaping portion, which was surprising at $3; even better, the ginger dressing is incredible! The amount of tangy and spice was just right, which has been hard to find in the past. The edamame were warm with the perfect amount of sea-salt – they also offer edamame with different seasonings on them, which we will have to check out next time! Take a look at the full menu from Sushi Bay 17.

Out of all of the rolls we ordered, house specials and old classics included, the Spiderman definitely received the most raving fans. Each roll was presented beautifully, with fresh ingredients that all worked well together; after this experience, I feel Sushi Bay 17 is one of those restaurants that you can close your eyes and choose sushi at random, never getting a bad roll.

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Sushi bar at Sushi Bay 17. Check out their Facebook (and LIKE ‘EM!) by clicking on the photo. Credit: Kirsten Ebey, Dec 2013

Although Sushi Bay 17 is moderately priced, they run so many great specials! Daily Happy Hour specials on sushi, appetizers, and drinks occur from 3 – 6 pm, and AGAIN at 9pm – close. While we were visiting for Ladies Night dinner, the Broncos game was on, which meant $2 short, draft beers. On Sundays, order the all-you-can-eat sushi option for $27.95 per person. For our friend Annelise, this means unlimited Spiderman rolls on Sunday for about $30 bucks – how can you beat that?

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No sushi piece left behind- that’s our motto. Check out Sushi Bay 17’s website for more info. Credit: Kirsten Ebey, Dec 2013

Our bill averaged $20 per person, plus tip, and we were all fat and happy. Not one piece was left behind. Sushi  Bay 17 also has a wide variety of amazing-sounding desserts, but unfortunately all of us were too full to try them. Desserts are definitely on the list for next time! The price is inexpensive comparing the value of service, atmosphere, and attention to detail with the products that Sushi Bay 17 provides. We can’t wait to bring more people there and create additional raving fans!

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Red Rocks… part Deux

Mom was in town this past weekend for a visit, so we took her to hike in the Red Rocks Amphitheater and Park. I know we’ve posted pictures from Red Rocks before, but the sights were too beautiful not to share. Hope you enjoy!

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What a beautiful day for a hike. Credit: Kirsten Ebey, Nov 2013

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Kirsten in Red Rocks Land. Credit: Jackie Balcom, Nov 2013

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Love in an amphitheater. Credit: Kirsten Ebey, Nov 2013

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Jackie (mom) taking a break. Credit: Kirsten Ebey, Nov 2013

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Home…home on the range. Credit: Kirsten Ebey, Nov 2013

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Jeff’s the King of the World. Credit: Kirsten Ebey, Nov 2013

Red Rocks – FINALLY!

Yesterday, my friend Jeff took me to Red Rocks. To tell you the truth, I’ve tried to visit Red Rocks multiple times: I wanted to check out a concert at the amphitheatre, but didn’t act quickly enough to purchase tickets. I wanted to participate in fitness events at Red Rocks, but always forgot to check their site for when Yoga on the Rocks was happening.

FINALLY – we hiked Red Rocks yesterday!

Not only a venue for concerts, weddings, and other events, Red Rocks has tons of trails for hiking and biking. Also, dogs are welcome! Red Rocks not only satisfies your appetite for much-needed exercise, but is also immensely aesthetically pleasing. We hit the trails around before dusk to catch a beautiful sunset over Denver. Check it out below!

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View from near the stage – Red Rocks Amphitheatre – Credit: Kirsten Ebey, Oct 2013

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Hiking a trail at Red Rocks, Credit: Kirsten Ebey, Oct 2013

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Red Rocks – view at dusk. Credit: Kirsten Ebey, Oct 2013

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Jeff and Moguls, following the path. Credit: Kirsten Ebey, Oct 2013

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Kirsten and Moguls, check out that view! Credit: Kirsten Ebey, Oct 2013

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Jeff and Moguls posing for a “Senior Picture”. Credit: Kirsten Ebey, Oct 2013

Weather permitting, Red Rocks will definitely be another destination to bring visitors. The hike Jeff, Moguls, and I took was pretty relaxed – not too tough, but we definitely huffed and puffed during segments.

Definitely a must-see, make sure to visit this beautiful park and amphitheatre; don’t forget to bring your furry friends!