And just like that, I’m back in Idaho. Post-vacation blues are real. I came back into my corporate office job this morning to over 300 emails, an 8:30am meeting, and a 12:00pm deadline for a report. No such thing as “easing back into reality.”
I worked through my lunch (ran across the parking lot to Starbucks for a Passion Tango Tea and breakfast sandwich!) and walked out of the office at 5pm, but I couldn’t relax just yet. Coming home from vacation, my fridge was completely bare. So I headed to the grocery store before my commute home. It’s 7:30 and I’m finally sitting down with a homemade dinner of roasted sweet potato, butternut squash, bell pepper, onions, chives, garlic and apple chicken sausage. Plus or minus a glass of pinot grigio 😉 So I think the best way to end this post-vacation day is to relive my vacation with you:
One thing I am super grateful for is the flight benefits I have through my boyfriend! He’s a pilot for commercial airlines and I was able to enroll in his benefits for 2019, which allows me to fly on any flights with open seats for standby passengers.
In addition to having flight benefits, Zeb was sent to Denver for five days for annual flight training. He was put up in a hotel close to the airport, which meant that I had a flight AND a place to stay for four nights if I wanted to join him! I’m all for taking advantage of opportunities to make memories. I’d rather spend money on experiences than “things.” So I asked for the days off of work and reached out to one of my high school cross country teammates who moved to Colorado last year.
In case you didn’t know, my last name is Estes. The teammate I mentioned, Jessica, happened to move to……ESTES PARK, COLORADO! I have always wanted to see the city that I share a name with.
It happened to work out perfectly. A storm struck the mountains of Colorado two days before we arrived. So the entire region was covered in fresh white deep snow. But the weather cleared for the time I was there, so the skies were blue with a crystal clear view of the mountains and peaks in the distance. It was stunning.
I made a YouTube vlog with some video highlights during my trip that you can watch here:
To fill in the gaps of the video, I flew in to Denver on Saturday which would be the only night I had to spend with Zeb before he was locked up in official training for the rest of the trip. We made the most of our one night as tourists, but Yelp TOTALLY failed me. I used the internet to find a trendy fun restaurant for us to go on a date in downtown Denver.
You. Cannot. Trust. The Dang. Internet.
According the reviews on Yelp, the #4 restaurant is “The Aquarium.” At first glance through the images on Google, I thought this was a trendy aquatic-themed bar and restaurant. It seemed to have wall-to-wall tanks of exotic fish surrounding the tables. Zeb is a scuba diver and we just finished both seasons of Blue Planet on Netflix so this seemed like something we would love! Well, it turns out you can make anything look way better than reality on the internet 😉
There was one fish tank that diners could peer into while they ate, but all it had were tuna and one sting ray. But the rest of the walls and surfaces were covered in fish WALL PAPER!!!! That is just plain cheating.
The atmosphere was most easily described as an ocean-life themed Denny’s, and a far cry from the trendy nightlife scene that Zeb and I were looking for on our date night. So we ordered one drink while we searched for another close-by option. I couldn’t even take more than one sip of my mule cocktail, which was basically just ginger beer and sugar. Yelp, I have trust issues with you now!!
Zeb and I ended up at a really cool local brewery Briar Commons and made the most of our night. 🙂
The next morning, Jessica picked me up at my hotel at 7am so we could have a nice and early start to our roadtrip all over Colorado! We had walked up and down Pearl St. in Boulder, Colorado in the morning. Local coffee stop #1 = Ozo Coffee. Amazing Coconut Milk Latte. We continued up into the mountains, and covered basically the entirety of Estes Park. I’m so happy I got to see it at this time of year!
We finished off “Kenzie Estes takes Estes Park” by running a loop on a trail around the Rocky Mountain National Park. Yes, the park is technically closed right now due to the government shutdown. Doesn’t mean you can’t “happen upon a trail that naturally weaves into the park”…..
I won’t usually get too political on this blog, but I’m not afraid of putting my beliefs out there on the internet even at the risk of alienating those with opposing opinions. (One of my biggest peeves is actually when people play it safe and answer questions in the most politically correct way to preserve their image for their audiences on both sides of the political spectrum. Nothing is more annoying than “no offense, but…”) Personally, I feel it’s more impressive to answer honestly and confidently. You’re allowed to have an opinion!
I think the media’s portrayal of President Trump in this entire shutdown is heinous and wildly skewed. I ran through the Rocky Mountain National Park and felt so much pride and overwhelming gratitude for the country that I live in. It is freaking beautiful! We are so beyond lucky to have these gorgeous parks at our fingertips. That is not the mindset for many (dare I say most) of those who come here illegally and disrespect our laws. I stand behind the wall and our president, because both of them stand for us current Americans. And I appreciate that our president puts the safety of his current citizens above those who break the law and cheat the system to share our luxuries.
This blog post wasn’t originally meant to be political, honestly. But the government shutdown was a frequent topic of conversation throughout my entire trip. From the shuttle to the airport, during the flights, with my Colorado friends, and with those who knew that I was going through airport security during this highly publicized time. (For the record, my airport security experience was 0% longer than my normal airport experience despite the media’s heavy coverage of TSA “nightmares”.) So I felt it was relevant to mention, and I also just like giving my actual opinion on the internet. 🙂
Back to your regularly scheduled content….
To my delight, we had zero bear sightings during our nature trail run! Then we walked the entirety of downtown Estes Park. I bought myself an Estes coffee mug, wine glass, candle, bag of coffee beans, and long sleeve pink shirt. Are you discovering how predictable I am yet?!
The next day, we explored the ski resort town of Breckenridge. Most notably, we took the gondola up to the ski resort and climbed into the 104 degree hot tub while watching the skiers and snowboarders next to us. First time in my life I’ve ever worn a bikini in below-freezing temperatures!
But I am getting to my limit for tonight. My brain has reach full capacity for its first day back as a functioning member of society, and now that it’s nearly 9pm I just want to enjoy the last bit of my day curled up on the couch. There were plenty more moments I loved during the past five days but I think you got the jist. One more lovely state checked off my bucket list!