Afternoon Stroll in Wheat Ridge, Colorado

It’s a beautiful day for a stroll outside – saw this beauty and couldn’t resist snapping a few shots! Enjoy your weekend, Denver. The weather is certainly cooperating for it!

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Old Chevy truck, sitting in the parking lot of Kaiser Permanente in Wheat Ridge. Credit: Kirsten Ebey, Jan 2014

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View from the Kaiser Permanente parking lot in Wheat Ridge. Credit: Kirsten Ebey, Jan 2014

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Beautiful Colorado Sunset – 1/3/2014

Did you happen to take a look outside tonight at the beautiful sunset? No? No worries – check out the below!
No filters, simple iPhone 5c shots – one with fisheye lens.

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Credit: Kirsten Ebey, Jan 2014

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Credit: Kirsten Ebey, Jan 2014

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Fisheye lens. Credit: Kirsten Ebey, Jan 2014

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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

Continental Divide – Loveland Pass, Colorado

Continental Divide - Loveland Pass

What do you do when you have visitors? Running out of things to see, or tired of going to the same spots with each out-of-towner? Here’s one spot that never gets old – take 70 West out of Denver to Loveland Pass and drive up to the Continental Divide. From there, you can take long or short hikes to various peaks. Bringing visiting friends to the Continental Divide is sort of a tradition now – our friends brought us here when we first moved to Denver, and now we all continue to bring our friends and family there to see the incredible sights. Try it out! You won’t be disappointed. Also, you might be able to throw a snowball or two.

More Pictures from Estes Park & Roosevelt National Forest – Steven Mercer Photography

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From the top of our hike in Roosevelt National Forest. Credit: Steve Mercer, July 2013

The pictures Steven took were just too awesome to not post – take a look at more pictures from our weekend getaway in Estes Park. 

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Another view from the top of our hike. Credit: Steven Mercer, July 2013

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Another view from on top of our hike. Credit: Steven Mercer, July 2013

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Awesome flower or weed…. plantlife? yes! Credit: Steven Mercer, July 2013

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The night sky from the cabin’s front deck. The light from the bottom right was produced from the rising moon. Credit: Steven Mercer, July 2013

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Another view from the deck at the brilliant night sky. Credit: Steven Mercer, July 2013

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Picture taken along the trail on our hike. Credit: Steven Mercer, July 2013

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The trail varied in width, but was very easy to follow for the most part. Moderate difficulty, but incredibly beautiful and fun. Definitely a great trail for dogs! Moguls pictured, bottom left. Credit: Steven Mercer, July 2013

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Beautiful scenery from the hike. Credit: Steven Mercer, July 2013

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On our hike, we followed this river on the left-hand side hiking up. The current was too strong for Moguls to jump in. Credit: Steven Mercer, July 2013

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Pictured is a great shot of the river that Steven was able to get by standing on some large rocks right on the riverbank. Credit: Steven Mercer, July 2013

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I love the fallen tree that has perfect placement in this picture! Great scenery. Credit: Steven Mercer, July 2013

Weekend Getaway #1: Estes Park – Colorado

Last Monday, Steven (my other half) advised me he had not left the city in nearly three months; this was definitely an issue, as when we lived in Michigan we traveled non-stop. Honestly, I can’t believe he hadn’t mentioned it sooner, now that I think about it… So on Tuesday, we began to socur the internet for a pet-friendly place to stay in either Glenwood Springs, Devil’s Thumb, or Estes Park. After emailing and calling approximately 100 places, Skyline Cottages in Estes Park was the only place to offer availability for our Friday night – Sunday morning excursion out of the city. We really lucked out, as Skyline offered an amazing cabin in the side of the Rockies for less about $140/night including pet fee; the price was definitely right, the location perfect, and the amenities of access to Big Thompson River and trail knowledge very helpful.

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View to the right from our cabin’s deck out front. Credit: Kirsten Ebey, July 2013

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To the left of our cabin, taken from the deck out front. Another great view of the Rockies. Credit: Kirsten Ebey, July 2013

Friday night, we drove to Estes Park, through the mountains in the dark. Not the most fun way to start the trip, as this is the first time we’d driven through any type of mountains in the dark – definitely an exciting ride, to say the least. All in all, the drive took about an hour and a half from our apartment in Denver. Our cabin was nestled in the side of the Rocky Mountains, away from the other Skyline cottages, up in the Vallahala Resort area. We stayed in a one-bedroom with bathroom attached, full kitchen, living room, and deck w/ grill cabin – nothing too fancy, which was just what we were looking for. However, the cabin DID have cable television, even though  we weren’t too interested due to our surroundings. The views from the deck were absolutely incredible, providing insight to what lay ahead as far as hiking on Saturday.

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The stars from our cabin’s deck in Estes Park – light from the moon in the bottom right-hand of the picture. Credit: Steven Mercer, July 2013

Friday night, we unpacked the Jeep and drank a lot of Colorado’s finest craft beers – I’d picked up a variety six pack and case just for the occasion at the fabulous Argonaut’s. On the deck, Steven set up his digital SLR, and took long-exposed pictures of the stars; from this deck, I felt like we could see the entire universe. The stars were so pronounced, with the moon so bright. I had never seen the sky the way I saw it from the deck of our cabin.

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Map on display at St. Vrain Trailhead. Credit: Kirsten Ebey, July 2013

The next morning, we took our 11 year-old cockapoo, Moguls, for a hike at the Middle St.Vrain / Buchanan Pass Trailhead. We found this trail at the end of Camp Dick, off of HWY 72, in Roosevelt National Forest. We drove through two separate campgrounds, all the way to the back parking lot where ATV’s, ORV’s, and hikers are all taking two separate trails. Finding a desginated dog-friendly trail can be difficult because National Parks don’t allow dogs on the trails, while many National Forests do. Even so, finding a defined trail or correct directions to a good trail can be a little difficult for those of us who are new to the areas, and hiking altogether. ImageThe St. Vrain / Buchanan Pass is listed as a moderate hike; it stretches for at least 16 miles (we were told by fellow hikers on the trail), and can consist of rock, mud, dirt, and narrow to wide paths. I liked the way we hit almost every type of trail terrain on this 5 mile hike; I enjoyed the challenging rocks, hopping to and from each one, as well as the uphill climbs. I was also thankful for the flat, dirt ground and breaks to catch my breath from some of the uphill battles. It was a great workout that I felt later that afternoon and the next morning for sure! The scenery on the trail is basically borderline magical – we definitely recommend visiting, and bringing your dog. Moguls did a great job keeping up, and actually led us on the way back. ImageThe hike took about 3 hours, 2 hours and 24 minutes of which we were moving (we used Strava to track what we had accomplished), and hiked 5 miles.

Some additional pictures from this hike are also pictured below.

Saturday night, we just chilled in the cabin, whooped from our first real hike in Colorado. The next morning, we packed up and ventured home to unpack, do laundry, and get ready for our favorite Sunday event: Jazz in the Park.

I definitely recommend Estes Park as a nice, weekend get-away. There’s so much to do and see – we definitely only chipped away a small surface of what Estes Park has to offer. If you don’t want to rent a cabin, there are plenty of camp sites that are reasonably priced and well-maintained. Many of which are pet-friendly, which made a huge difference for us.

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Me (Kirsten) at the top of the rocks. Credit: Kirsten Ebey, July 2013

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Steven shooting with his SLR on the hike. Credit: Kirsten Ebey, July 2013

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Moguls on the top of the rocks; he was a trooper the whole way! Credit: Kirsten Ebey, July 2013

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View from along the hike. Credit: Kirsten Ebey, July 2013

What should our next get away be? Any ideas, friends? We love traveling, and can’t wait to explore more of this awesome state. Lend us a hand in finding our next weekend get away!

The Denver Sky

The Denver Sky

I’m so thankful to live in such a place where I can look up at the sky, and see something so beautiful. The sunsets in Denver are incredible, even from just 5 floors up. If you’re outside right now, look up!

It’s All About Community – City Park Jazz

Pavillion within City Park Credit: Kirsten Ebey May 2013

A relaxing Sunday afternoon approaches us, filled with sunshine, yard games, friends and family, and, yes – Jazz in the Park. I’m referring to City Park Jazz in Denver, which happens only 10 times each summer, specifically on Sundays from 6 – 8 pm MST. Free concerts consisting of mostly jazz, salsa, and blues genres bring the community of all ages together drawing on a tradition that actually began 130 years ago.

City Park Jazz, a charity that is community-based and supported, consists of numerous volunteers that collect donations during the free show and help with the upkeep of the park before, during, and after. Many groups show their support and love for Denver, but not quite like this organization; honestly, nothing shows love for Denver like collecting over 80,000 fans in a single City Park Jazz season (2011 – Credit: City Park Jazz).

What’s so cool about sitting in a random park on a Sunday listening to music? Oh, I’ll tell you, my friends:

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Lynz visiting from LA May 2013 Credit: Kirsten Ebey

Atmosphere
The park boasts 317 acres of raw, beautiful landscape including Ferril Lake, the infamous boathouse, ponds, paths, wide-open grassy areas, and trees new and old. The sounds from City Park Jazz only enhance the surrounding beauty.

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Moguls on a walk in City Park May 2013 Credit: Kirsten Ebey

Dog Watching
You can bring your dog (on a leash)! Many people do, which calls for a pretty eclectic mix of Denver’s canines. My friend Shawna is very good at pointing out specific breeds of dogs and filling me in, which is super interesting! We’ve seen some pretty cool, rare breeds that I doubt I’ll be able to see again (anywhere short of watching Animal Planet). If you bring your four-legged friend, please remember bags for their business, and keep in mind that 100’s of dogs will be in the surrounding area. Trust me, it’s not made for everyone.

People Watching
Do I need to explain? You have thousands of individuals in one area of Denver. Entertaining is an understatement.

Food
You can make and bring your own, or hit up a few of Denver’s finest Food Trucks. Note your wait time will be long unless you visit the trucks early.

Hanging out at City Park Jazz May 2013 Credit: Some dude nice enough to take the picture for us. Thanks!

Friends and Family Time
I hope I don’t only speak for myself when I say that I absolutely love being with my friends and family, hanging out, drinking a few beers (you can bring that, too!), and playing yard games, like LadderBall. At City Park Jazz, you can do all of these things in the presence of those who are most awesome in your life, while listening to music for free. Pack up some snacks and a cooler of beer, and scope out / secure a spot early before the show starts. There’s plenty of room, but depending on your viewing preferences, or yard games being hauled along (badminton requires a little more space, just saying), get there before 4 pm MST to secure your epic location. You don’t want to be stuck next to the smelly guy and the screaming child, do you? Also, if parking close to the park, you’re going to need to leave EXTRA early. If you can walk or bike there, that’s your best bet.

So there you have it – the rundown on City Park Jazz. It’s such a cool experience that this great city offers and should definitely not be passed up this summer. Check out the schedule of acts booked, and scam the website for additional information on how to get involved with the organization.