Colorado Lovin’: Hiking Through Mountains and Eating Vegan Donuts

Alternate title: Getting (1500 feet) High in Colorado

Shane and I made the wonderful decision to go to Colorado with our friend Jaycee for a few days, which would put us getting back to Joplin 6 days before our wedding!

In hindsight this probably wasn’t the most responsible idea, but we had a lot of fun and I don’t regret it! Besides, who says we have to be responsible all the time? We spent a lot of time hiking outside, eating yummy food, and hanging out with good friends (we even got to meet Jaycee’s boyfriend which was awesome!). Overall, the trip was amazing and not even stressful considering how close we were to throwing the biggest party of our lives.

Thursday, May 24

On Thursday morning, our adventure began at promptly 4:00am when Shane, Jaycee and I drove away from Missouri and headed to Castle Rock, Colorado. We all spent some time driving, and also some time sleeping, which helped the ten hour drive not seem too drastically long. We made it to the Airbnb we were staying in, and soon Jaycee’s boyfriend David arrived! We got to meet him, and then the two of them left to get ready for a concert they were going to that night. That gave Shane and I some time to explore the town!

We walked around downtown for about an hour playing Pokemon Go, then went to Walmart to buy a couple things we needed in order to eat for the week. We hung out T the Airbnb for a little bit (aka, I fell asleep while Shane played his Switch) before heading out to the giant rock on a hill at the center of town!

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We hiked up the hill just in time to catch the beginning of the sunset, and it was beautiful. We could see miles upon miles of city, and the mountains in the distance were breathtaking.

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The view from the top of the hill was amazing, but Shane and I decided we wanted to see more. We rock climbed up the actual rock on the hill and got even higher up. It was kind of scary climbing so high, but I’m so glad I did it. Shane and I just sat at the top of Castle Rock watching the sun go down, talking and enjoying each others’ company.

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Friday, May 25

I was super excited to get outside and do some hiking on Friday! Jaycee and David took Shane and I to Devils Head, which was about a mile hike not too far from where we were staying! It was hard, and the first part almost killed me with the elevation change. It was so beautiful and so worth it, though. Once we got to the top, we rested for a couple minutes before climbing up 200+ stairs to a fire watch tower. From the top, we could see the surrounding mountains from hundreds of miles away. I was in awe of the beauty around me. I couldn’t believe it. It was so worth almost dying a few times getting up there.

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Side note: I’m so glad Shane loves hiking and being outdoors as much as I do. I can’t wait to spend forever with him.

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After switching cars back at the Airbnb, we headed into Denver to get some yummy vegan eats. Jaycee, Shane and I ate at a Mellow Mushroom in Arkansas during spring break, and they have amazing vegan pizza. Jaycee really wanted to show David, so that’s where we went for dinner. The pizza did not disappoint, the crust is amazing. Who said being vegan meant you couldn’t eat junk food every once in a while?

Speaking of junk food, for dessert, we headed to the Denver famous Voodoo Donuts. I knew there were vegan donuts there, which I was super pumped about, but I was not prepared for the amount of animal-product-free sweets they had. The whole bottom row of the rotating shelf was vegan, but luckily, I didn’t have to choose. The four of us split a dozen vegan donuts so we could each try different kinds!

Wow, I was impressed. I honestly could not taste a difference between these and regular donuts. I’m glad there isn’t a Voodoo Donuts in Joplin because I know I’d get some at least once a week.

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We were exhausted at that point from such a long day, so we just relaxed and watched a movie on Netflix! Friday was such a good day!

Saturday, May 26

I was super excited for our adventures on Saturday. Jaycee, David, Shane and I headed to the garden of the gods! I had heard great things about this place, but nothing prepared me to see the huge, beautiful red rocks in person. It was breathtaking. Pictures do not do justice one bit- I was in awe of how amazing rocks could be. At one point, Shane and I climbed up on top of one (one that was able to be climbed on, not just one of the normal tall rocks) and we could see so far, it was awesome.

After walking around in the heat, I was pretty hungry by the time we got back to the car, so I ate a granola bar. Then we stopped at Chipotle because Jaycee was really wanting guacamole, so Shane and I shared some! It was really good, but once we went back to the car and headed back towards Castle Rock, my stomach started hurting really bad. I felt nauseous, like my stomach was turning inside out. We watched a movie back at the Airbnb, and I couldn’t stand to be in any other position than laying down. I felt like I was dying, and I have no idea why. I wanted to go do stuff, but I literally couldn’t do anything other than lay down.

We went to church later in the day, but I honestly couldn’t focus at all because of how much pain I was in. I ended the day the same place I was before church- on the couch. Shane kept me company, though, and I’m so thankful for my best friend.

Sunday, May 27

On Sunday, I woke up feeling a lot better luckily. Jaycee and David had some graduation weekend stuff to do, so Shane and I set off on our own adventure together! We drove about an hour to a town called Boulder, which has a ton of hiking trails. We decided to attempt a rather hard one, over two miles up into the Flatirons.

WOW this was a hard hike. It was pretty much straight up with a bunch of switchbacks. Add the elevation and I had a hard time breathing. It was exhausting and Shane and I had to take a break about every five minutes. The closer we got to the top, though, the prettier the views got. At one place we stopped, Shane found a comfortable seat made of rocks and enjoyed the views of the cities and nature surrounding Boulder.

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We were almost to the top, though, so we kept going, despite my lungs feeling like they were going to give out. The view from the top of the mountain was absolutely beautiful. We spent about an hour just sitting, eating, and taking everything in. Pictures don’t do it justice.

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This picture is just at the halfway point of the hike, and we were already so high up and could see what felt like half of Colorado:

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Once we finally made it back to the bottom (which was a lot easier than climbing up, by the way), we were impressed with ourselves for making it up such a tall mountain.

IMG_20180527_161311141After a long and exhausting few hours of hiking, all I wanted was a refried bean burrito. So where do we go? The only logical place- Taco Bell. We ordered our burritos and took them to the Airbnb and ate them while watching Netflix. We relaxed for a while, which was much needed, then walked around Downtown Castle Rock to play Pokemon Go one last time. We couldn’t believe it was our last night in Colorado!

Monday, May 28

When we woke up Monday morning, we knew the end of our mountain adventure had come to an end. Jaycee was staying in Colorado with David for a few more days, so Shane and I were heading out by ourselves. We packed and cleaned up the Airbnb, then headed back towards home. We watched the mountainous beauty outside our windows turn into flat nothingness as we left Colorado and drove into Kansas. Counting the few stops we made, the drive was a little over ten hours, with Shane and I switching who was driving every three hours or so. After a headache, lots of music, and a mad potato chip craving, we finally made it back to Webb City to Shane’s grandparents house, where I enjoyed a nice big bowl of oatmeal (even though that’s mostly all I ate the past few days).


Our time in Colorado was just what we needed to relax and have fun before our big day. Time spent in God’s beautiful creation was such a highlight for me, and it was great to just lay on the couch and watch movies (something I haven’t had time to do in a long time). I definitely don’t regret my “irresponsible decision” one bit.

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