Friday, October 21st: Courage
A little backstory, I have never been on a plane before, ever. Yes, I am 21 and that is uncommon but I just always took road trips instead. So, my first experience was one I will never forget. After going through security and finding where we board, my friends and I just sat around people watching. We saw these two men dressed similar in red hawaiian jackets and thought “man, how cool would it be if I would get to sit next to them since they look like carefree cool people and I was going to sit by two strangers on my first flight ever, it should be them right?” We board last and as I get to my seat I look and see one of the red hawaiian guys. HOW LUCKY. Of course, we struck up conversation. His name is Nick and he is going to Colorado to go hiking and camp in hammocks. Cool guy. Then I met the girl in the window seat next to Nick and she went to U of M to play softball. Another cool chick and all three of us bonded. My first experience on a plane and I got to talk to these strangers for two and a half hours about life and Colorado. I’m looking forward to a wedding invitation from Nick when he finally asks his girlfriend of six years to marry him (which he said will be when he graduates which occurs this December so I’ll be on the look out:)) We got off the plane and we finally met Nicks matching friend, Matt, who is also a cool guy. We all felt like adults that day navigating through the Denver airport together and finding our destination. We sadly had to say goodbye to them but found out Nick will be riding the same plane as us back so we knew we would reconnect one more time again.
Not only did I ride in an airplane for the first time, survived, and didn’t puke, but we found how to rent our car for the trip and succeeded in that endeavor too. The first thing we did after renting our car was go to the famous 16th street mall to shop/explore the “town”. We even went to the conference center in that mall for Katie Rae to get more information for her class where they prepare a fake conference. Met the coolest employee there who helped give Katie Rae all the information she would ever need and we appreciated her attitude and confidence more than she will ever know. We explored the State and City capital after and hung out in the park next to this giant bike to watch a game of soccer being played inbetween the State and City capital buildings. The entire day was a beautiful 80 degrees and filled with beautiful people walking the streets. Thereafter, we went to the CMU alum and close friend of ours who is in the process of PT schooling in Colorado to stay the night. He was such a welcoming and house warming person to stay with and we really appreciated his invitation to let us stay with him.
Courage. Courage in becoming an adult, navigating the airport and riding in an airplane, courage to talk to strangers and make new friends, courage to just explore and put ourselves out there, courage to be in Colorado for the weekend.
Saturday, October 22nd: Perspective
Immediately waking up at 7:30am every morning we knew wouldn’t become a problem because Colorado was 2 hours behind Michigan meaning it felt like 9:30am to us. We woke up and went to Red Rocks Amphitheatre to hike around and enjoy the view of the vicinity. We hiked up a trail nearby as well to find an overlook of what looked like all of Colorado. Sadly, an event was occurring in the amphitheatre so we couldn’t see it but we saw everything around it and more! We visited 16th street mall again as we found these booklets about an event happening there today-Zombies. Zombies roamed the streets in many different costumes ranging from Hillary Clinton and Trump to doctors/patients to Mario and the Gang. Such a cool experience to see and stumble upon. Afterward, we traveled to Wellington to visit Harvest Farms. Harvest Farms was throwing a Fall Festival and Katie Rae wanted to put in an application to intern there as well as she has volunteered there for an alternative break in the past. Harvest Farms is a 209-acre farm and rehabilitation center for men, located in Wellington, Colorado. The Farm accommodates up to 72 men who participate in a long-term program with the goal of breaking the cycles of addiction and homelessness. Harvest Farm works in partnership with Fort Collins Rescue Mission, and both operate under the umbrella of Denver Rescue Mission. Program participants at Harvest Farm take part in the five-phase New Life Program, designed to help them gain the skills, stability and self-esteem necessary to become productive, self-sufficient members of society. This nationally recognized rehabilitation program combines academics, life skills classes, Bible study, work therapy, and Christian counseling in a curriculum extending up to 27 months. Their Fall Festival is an event they put on to raise money and create awareness to the community of the place and the work they do. They had so many attractions and even gave a hayride with one of the men explaining the farm, their purpose, and his story. All of which was inspirational and cool to see.
Perspective. The perspective of being in different places in Colorado and still feeling like you are in a different part of the world, the perspective of the harvest farm and their fall festival, the perspective of the man from the harvest farm and his endeavors and hardships, the perspective of being in Colorado.
Sunday, October 23rd: Reflect
Once again, we started bright and early to go to Colorado Springs to the Garden of the Gods. This park had views for days and miles, a truly beautiful experience that pictures will never do justice of. We climbed multiple giant rocks and structures to push ourselves outside of our comfort zones, to experience the views, and to put the trust in one another. The Garden of the Gods had 10 different attractions, all of which we visited, and looked at in amazement (or climbed on top of). We visited the balanced rocks and of course climbed on those as well. We reconveined in the car to find another place nearby to explore and I found the Cave of the Winds 10 minutes away. As we were getting gas at a place called Dino-Mart, a woman walked up to us to ask directions. After conversations about life, she introduced her son where he told us about a place to eat later that day (and he gave us his number to meet up later which I will touch on later-haha). Driving up this zig zag line up a mountain was an adventure in itself but we had a tour through this 54 degree cave and learning about the hardships it took to travel through the cave back then versus now. By the time this was all done, we drove back to change for our night out on the town. We went to the place the woman’s son told us to go to, Avanti. This place is like a mall food court but fantsy. Some of you are thinking why. Well this place is cooler than it sounds. It had a deck on the second floor overlooking the city of Denver, had a bar on both floors, & looked like a place where people are expected to pay hundreds on their food. But it was fairly priced and made for an eventful night. That night, we went to Little Man’s Ice Cream, an ice cream place near Avanti that I found on google maps. This turned out to be the cutest ice cream shop alive. The building was a 20 foot something tall milk jug. And you walk up, order, then sit outside under Christmas lights surrounded with hail bails and pumpkins. The cute part was, they were so involved with the community with events and they donate some of their proceeds to an organization to feed them a scoop of rice each ice cream purchase. We met up with the guy from the Dino Mart who suggested Avanti, and his friends to just talk about life. They were some strange but cool guys from around the area.
Reflect. On the views, the mountain views, the hiking and fresh air, the strangers we met st random areas, the spontaneity. On the rewards you reap from just doing it and meeting random people.
Monday, October 24th: Adventure.
We started at Quince Essential Coffee with if you’ve ever been to Kaya in Mount Pleasant, you would love this place. It was in a house though, and each room was different. The main living room is where they made their delicious coffee and the surrounding rooms were places to hang out and draw or write on the tables provided with their markers. Afterwards, we drove through the University of Colorado & the famous Pearl Street to explore. Very beautiful and extravagant places. Our last stop being apparently the best, Boulder. Wow this place is something you see in a magazine. There was a Chautauqua hiking trail we hiked up (2,000 feet up to be exact) & hammocked. We were literally on top of a mountain and the view was breathtaking. We met so many beautiful people on the way up and at the top. Even a man our age who said he did that trail once a week with his mom and dog. Jealous. And finally, we found our way back to the plane to make our safe travels back home and catch up with Nick who we met on the plane to Colorado.
Adventure. The word for the day I chose was adventure because not only was it the root word for the whole weekend and trip, but this last day was the epiphany of it. I stepped SO far outside of my comfort zone so I could adventure up this mountain, barely being able to breathe thanks to the elevation-asthma-and my out of body shape, but to climb some rocks that only had foot holes to make it up to the top. To step on the last possible rock or side of the mountain to feel the natural breeze and see the overlook of Colorado. It was an adventure within the adventure to Colorado and I was thankful for every bit of it.
So; have courage, gain a perspective, reflect, & adventure out there.