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!
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