Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Mama takes a hike

This baby mama has been busy! Last week I went to Denver, CO with several of my co-workers for a graduate admissions conference ... and of course some fun times when we weren't conferencing! The first day there it was 73 degres and sunny, the next day was in the 40s and snowing!! We took advantage of the one gorgeous day to do some real Colorado mountain sightseeing. So off we went to Chautauqua Park in Boulder for some hiking. For some reason I had First Landing/Virginia Beach type hiking in my mind, you know, the kind of hiking that takes place on a perfectly mulched path that is completely level with the nearby sea? Not exactly what we came across in Chautauqua. We started out on what seemed like a neat little path the slowly meandered up the hill and quickly ran short of breath (blame it on the elevation!). Little did we know that a slight rise for a not-so-slight period of time is really quite a challenge. It wasn't long before our cute, little hill became a tall, rocky mountain. And our golden-pebbled trail turned into a sharp, rocky ledge. By this point we had lost a co-worker (don't worry, by "lost" I only mean she decided to turn around and head back). The remaining three pressed on, determined not to let go of this amazing opportunity for what promised to be "perfect views" of Denver.

Several wrong turns, and several hours later, we arrived at our destination -or what was to become our destination due to dwindling daylight- the top of the mountain. This of course wasn't enough, so we proceeded to climb up the big rocks at the top of the mountain, so that we could have the most top view of the scenery below. INCREDIBLE! It was well worth the effort and I think Baby J enjoyed all the activity.
The rest of our trip is pretty insignificant compared to this fantastic accomplishment. The only other excitement in the midst of discussions on enrollment management, communication plans and forged transcripts, was our trip to Casa Bonita. A highly-recommended Mexican restaurant with its own live entertainment. If you're ever in Denver, visit Casa Bonita . Since it was recommended that we go there, I feel compelled to pass the "favor" on to the next innocent victim.

Casa Bonita is a pink castle in the middle of a strip mall. Their website says they have "great Mexican food plus over 30 attractions." The attractions part is true, but the only thing I can say about the food is that it resembles Mexican. My favorite "attraction" was the cliff diver. For the duration of our stay, one young man would climb to the top of a fake cliff, and dive down a fake waterfall into the fake lagoon below. Pretty impressive. The mariachi band was also quite talented and even serenaded our Birthday friend. The "monkeys in costume" were actually humans in monkey costumes - close enough. And the flame juggles must have been good but it was tough to see beyond the plastic palm trees. Maybe it was all the excitement, maybe it was the elevation, maybe it was the pregnancy-induced swollen capillaries or maybe it was all the hysterical laughing, but I couldn't stop my nose from bleeding the whole time we were there. I hope the lovely waitstaff didn't take it personally.
That said, I'm glad we got to experience a range of activities, and weather patterns, whilst visiting Denver. But Baby J and I are very happy to be back home in our comfy bed, surrounded by every pillow mama has been able to round up in the house!

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