If you’re lucky enough to be in the mountains, you’re lucky enough!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Fun Filled Weekend

After 5 weeks of long run weekends, including 3 with back to back long runs, it was time for a cut back week.  This was timed perfectly to coincide with a visit from Kathleen's brother and his family from Iowa for the Easter weekend.  It also timed out well for a couple shorter runs during a crappy weather spell!  After an awesome Friday evening forage on Boriello Brothers Pizza (I highly recommend the Clemente), we were up early in the cold on Saturday to sneak in some trails at Ute Valley Park.
 Kathleen climbing the west rim
 Keeping it moving on a cold gray morning
 Kathleen drops into the trees
 Posing by the favorite arch

We had a nice 8 mile run, got in some great trails, and did not have to pound out any long miles in this latest bout of cold weather.  That makes for a good run, and it was only the start of our day...

Shoes - Montrail Mountain Masochist

 Mmmm ... Boonzaaijers....

Post-run, it was time to get the tour guide hats on and get rolling.  Of course, Starbucks was up first, closely followed by a trip to Boonzaaijers Dutch Bakery.  Nothing says recovery fuel like a Black Forest Roulade...
Fresh Tart, Tiramisu, and Black Forest Roulade - good stuff!
In the "tourist" section of the Garden

After taking the kids up to see the Adventures in Odyssey and doing a little shopping, the sun broke out for a bit and we made good use of the time by hitting Garden of the Gods for a little sight seeing.  While it was certainly not warm, the sun helped out and we were able to get the Iowans out to see the Siamese Twins, then got over to the Gateway/Cathedral Spires area to see some of the nice rock formations.  Since these are not optimal run routes, we are rarely down in this section and it was nice to reacquaint with the area. 
 Good day for climbing once the sun popped out

 White Rock catching late rays
 Looking out from the darkness behind North Gateway

Had a great trip (as always) to the Garden, hit up Salsa Brava for some high quality Mexican grub, and settled in for a movie with the fam at home ... just as it started to SNOW?????


A run ... and then the "Safari"

It did indeed drop some snow Saturday night and we woke to colder temps with some fresh snow, so we ran the neighborhood trails over Flying W and got in a quick and cold 7 miler this morning.  We needed to get rolling as we were not sure what the weather would hold and we had promised the kiddos a trip to the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo.  Now, we do not have the largest zoo with the most animals, but with a spectacular setting right on the side of the mountain, this one is pretty tough to beat for atmosphere. It is a wonderfully scenic and awesome little zoo.  So we bundled up the crew and headed out for some more fun!
 Feeding the giraffes - CM Zoo has a great, very accomplished giraffe program
 Meerkats huddled under the heat lamp - it was a bit of a funny sight
 Mountain Tapir - they make very interesting noises and have intriguing feet
 Amur Tiger - 500 lbs of magnificent, carnivorous beast
 Mountain Lion - a bit unnerving being three feet from one of these - he wasn't intimidated by us at all.  He was probably thinking, "Hmmm, I've seen them running down the trail before......".  Very beautiful but also a little scary as they are prolific in our area.
 The Big Fellas - just got let out into their enclosure.  CMZ is getting ready to build an enormous new elephant display which includes a wide open, 2 acre natural area for them to roam and a variety of new buildings and enclosures.
More skilled hunters
 Albino Burmese Python - 10 foot of creepiness there
 Primate with "bad manners".  He was a funny and sneaky guy.  He was hoarding all of the lettuce feed by hiding piles of it in the hay and carrying it to this spot where he would uncover his treasured lettuce and begin his feast.  We watched him do it over and over.  As you can tell, he was not too amused by our presence, evidenced by his well rehearsed use of sign language.  Ahem.  It was a comedy.
 Always a ham in the bunch
Hit up the Garden Trading Post on the way home

We had a blast at the zoo and then did some extra shopping time at the Garden of the Gods Trading Post, aka Tourist Trap Central!!!  Had a great time with the family and were sad to see them head off late this afternoon in order to avoid the marathon drive home tomorrow.  Good times and we are reminded, once again, how incredibly blessed and thankful we are for our wonderfully beloved families and dear friends.  We need to never take any for granted, which is easy to do.  Hope everyone had a great weekend!
Happy Trails this week!

14 comments:

T Z said...

I wondered if you'd squeeze in a run or two with the brief winter blast. Glad you had some good fam time. Luv'd the zoo pics. As you read, we're makin out like a couple of drowned rats. 8 months with almost no rain, and 8 inches today. Go figure.

Jennifer said...

Good for you guys! Always great to hang with family and that picture of the mountain lion was chilling, probably because that is the most common predator for the USA and that crouching pose is probably how someone might actually encounter one!

Teamarcia said...

What a fun weekend with beautiful pics as always!

Laura@Run_Eat_Date said...

Awesome recap of your family's visit...the giraffes are so beautiful! I wonder while out on the trails just how close the mountain lions might get!

Christi said...

I actually saw you guys running on Sunday. You were running past the old Blockbuster as I was turning in for my Starbucks run. It looked like you were both having a great run.

I love our zoo!

Jill said...

What a very fulfilling weekend with Kathleen's family! I was laughing at the gorilla, you guys must have made him mad :).

No snow on the ground here but when I was riding on Saturday, it was sleeting in my face for an hour. Fun, fun!

Kathleen, I love that pink jacket! And Steve doesn't have a matching one, shameful. ;)

Have a great week, guys! I'll be in touch soon!

Generation X (Slomohusky) said...

Awe the zoo. vegas does not have one. we miss the zoo.

great family pix! happy easter!!

ajh said...

That looks like a pretty decent zoo. It is odd to see all those animals with snow near them. And did you really use the word creepiness in reference to a snake? Looks like you had a lot of fun with your relatives. That bakery looks the best!

funderson said...

That's it! I'm moving to the Springs. CB sucks

Meg said...

Okay, LOVED the poor meerkats. It almost seems sad that these guys have to be exposed to the snow!! They didn't look unhappy though and I'm sure the adapt. The elephants made me laugh, they did look a little out of place.
Wow, lots of long runs. Enjoy!
Big hugs to you two, I needed and appreciated your hugs and prayers.

Johann said...

Lovely photos of you guys running on the trails. I need to get more of me while on the trails. Perfect recovery fuel! Looks like a great zoo that really looks after the animals. I hope I can visit the Garden of the Gods one day.

Average A said...

OKAYYYY, so I am a HUGE animal lover and these pictures might just be my new favorite! You can stop running trails now -- I want to see orangutans kissing glass!! Animals under heatlamps! The new elephant acres once they are open!

Looks and sounds like you had a really great weekend running & with the family!

Thanks for all your recent comment on my long runs, hilly runs, and upcoming Big Sur Marathon. I'm so, so nervous, but also very excited. :) It'll be epic, and far from speedy, to say the least. :)

Ace said...

The "sign language" pic is classic! Glad to see you guys out running? Inquiring minds do want to know if there might be a Steve appearance at Greenland coming up?

Julie said...

Wow! What a fantastic weekend! Wonderful pictures....accept for the snake:) Kathleen, your hair is gorgeous girl!!

I hope that you guys are doing well! I missed you:) Hugs!

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