Monday, December 8, 2008

Winter Park Surprise

I cannot say enough wonderful things about my girlfriend.  In addition to accompanying me on my 30th birthday pub crawl last weekend, she arranged a surprise weekend up in the mountains to celebrate with me.  I love surprises, and while trying to keep a whole weekend a secret is difficult she pulled it off well as I had little idea where we were going or what we were doing until the last minute.

The first surprise on Friday was a fresh-baked apple pie, my favorite.  After a warm slice in the afternoon we were on the road up to the mountains.  Fortunately it had finished snowing on Thursday so the roads were clear.  Just as it was getting dark, we found the bed and breakfast that Erin had reserved for the weekend, the Chateau at Winter Park.

There was something about the place that seemed a little creepy to us, but we had already made the reservations.  While the owners were very friendly and helpful we had a horrible time getting to sleep with all sorts of noises (a train ran through behind the house), heating issues, and one of the most uncomfortable beds we had slept on.  We were thus feeling a little unprepared for the large, slightly-overcooked breakfast the next day.  We've concluded that bed and breakfasts just aren't for us.

Still, the days activities more than made up for the difficult night as we made our way to the tubing hill.  I had never been on an inner-tube on the snow and thought it a bit childish; reminding me of taking a saucer out to the snow when I was a kid.  After the first slide down I was hooked.  It was a lot of fun, and there was a tow rope that hooked to the tube to haul us back up the hill.  On our bellies or our backs, together or separate, it certainly got our blood pumping and ready for our next event.
I had been wanting to go snowmobiling since last winter, and Erin finally made it happen for us this weekend.  We got a guided tour up to the Continental Divide in a group of about seven snowmobiles.  While I drove and Erin hung on for dear life for most of the ride she got a chance at the top to take it for a spin herself.  There seemed at times a bit of a disconnect between the serene, snow-covered trees and our roaring, two-stroke snowmobiles.  But the ride through the hills and narrow, tree-lined trails (often up to 30mph) was very exhilarating.  I can't wait to go out again.

After so much excitement it was time to relax.  We had some margaritas in Winter Park and then drove out to Hot Sulphur Springs (the actual name of the town) to soak in some hot pools.  The springs were a nice way to relax as we sat and soaked up the minerals under a clearing sky and shining moon.  After a brief stop in "The Pub" in Winter Park (apparently where all the locals go on Saturday night) for dinner we went on back to brave another night at the B&B.

While we had tried some strategies for sleep we were again unsuccessful and were happy to leave the B&B the next morning with a light breakfast on our way out the door.  Still, with a stop at Starbucks on our way back we were up for a hike in Red Rocks as the weather turned warm.  After a nice long nap we finished the weekend by picking out a small Christmas tree and decorating it.  So ended a wonderful weekend with my exceptional girlfriend.  I can hardly wait until Christmas when we take a week-long road trip down to Prescott, AZ to explore and celebrate.

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