This past summer, I spent a week in August visiting an old friend in Boulder, all the while taking the chance to see Colorado itself. It was great to see my friend again, as we’ve been friends since our primary school days, and now as adults have less time to see each other. That said, I took the time from being home in the U.S. for the summer to visit and catch up, which turned out to be both a pleasant and fun time.
Following my first full day in town, I spent the next day seeing more of Boulder. Leaving a bit later than usual, I headed out for another hike, as I’d done at Red Rocks the day before. This time, I went south to Chautauqua (pronounced “cha-TOC-kwah”) Park, a gateway to the imposing five Flatirons, which are huge, flat mountain slabs that make for an impressive view of nature.
It was about a 40-minute walk from my friend’s flat, and soon enough, I arrived at the park and began my hike towards the Flatirons. Truth be told, to actually reach the Flatirons would take several hours, let alone require being in excellent hiking shape (which I’m not)– as a result, I went as far as I could comfortably feel before turning back. In the end, I got excellent views of all five Flatirons, which was rewarding!
I would say that the Flatirons hike was marginally more-challenging than from Red Rock’s the day before, just because Chautauqua Park was already higher up in elevation. It’s not comparable to high elevations in Peru, of course, but I admit that I did feel a bit short of breath quicker than usual as I made the ascent up the paved hiking trail.
Along the way, I saw plenty of other hikers, many of them visitors from out-of-state, walking the trail, and it’s no wonder that Boulder (generally Colorado) is known to be one of the healthiest places in the country! Fitness, eating healthy, and environmental sustainability are huge, which makes it quite the eco-friendly and progressive area in the U.S. to be in. Granted, the demographics remains not-so-diverse, but all the same seems like a good place to live or even visit.
…but back to the day itself. After walking about 15 minutes on the paved trail, it gave way to narrow, dirt paths. They were also very rocky and unstable at times, which made me, an inexperienced hiker, a bit uneasy. As I wrote, though, I went as far as I felt comfortable to, which was just to the start of ascending the first Flatiron, and then I turned back. Should something go wrong in the middle of the hike, I didn’t want to be stranded!
I returned to Chautauqua Park’s main grounds and exited, returning to my friend’s flat to rest a bit. We had plans for afternoon tea at a Tajikistan-inspired cafe, so we headed there for an afternoon of eating and drinking. My friend and I had a mutual love for afternoon tea, and seeing the beautifully-ornate interior design, white tablecloths and napkins, and three-tiered display of finger foods made us feel like royalty!
My friend and I enjoyed the various teas we ordered (ranging from mountain mint to orange blossom), along with the delightful scones, fudgey cakes, buttery cucumber-dill sandwiches, and so forth. I personally found the lightly-spiced curry-chicken sandwich to be my favorite, and I wished that I could have had more of it. As I find afternoon tea’s finger foods to be quite heavy, I was full afterwards and I was fine not eating much later that day for dinner. Afternoon tea was a success, and all the more with my friend.
The next day, my friend and I headed out of Boulder to Golden, a 30-minute drive away. Namely, we were heading there for the Coors Brewery Tour, which highlights the history of Coors, one of the longest-lasting breweries in the U.S. Although I’m not a huge fan of beer, I was interested in checking out an American establishment– plus, the tour was free and it offered up to three free beers in the end!
We headed out early to arrive by 10:00, as it was first-come, first-served to enter the factory. The tour was self-guided with audio guides to explain the history of Coors, the brewing process, and how it’s packaged and distributed all over the world. Established in 1873 by German immigrant Adolph Coors, the company managed to survived Prohibition in the early 20th century by producing non-alcoholic beverages (even though it was originally founded on beer) before returning to beer brewing once the ban was lifted. Today, it’s considered an American classic, but more notably that from the Rocky Mountain region where it was originally established. Brands such as Coors Light and Blue Moon are among some of its popular ones, which I got to sample while touring the factory.
The self-guided tour took about an hour to complete, and soon enough, we were lining up to get our three complementary beers at their bar. I really enjoyed the Coors Banquet, along with the Blue Moon (which came with a slice of orange), and Naptime Stout, one of the rotating flavors, I believe. All came in a half-pint each, which was quite a lot for someone who can normally barely finish a pint– regardless, they all tasted good (but Coors Banquet was my favorite, with Blue Moon a very-close second) and we stopped by the gift shop for a bit before heading back to Boulder.
In the afternoon, we got ice cream at another place my friend liked. I got a mint-basil and cajeta (a Mexican caramel flavor), which were bold in taste, despite the texture itself being on the icy side. That ended our day, and we returned to my friend’s flat to relax from a long morning of eating and drinking.
Likewise with beer tasting, my friend and I went on my third full day to a tea tasting at Celestial Seasonings, a Boulder-based company that specializes in herbal infusions. The tour was also free, and we were shown around the factory (no photos were allowed) before we returned to the bar where we would try from the 70-plus different flavors. I bought a few of the teas and infusions, including chai, mint, and its iconic Sleeptime. The boxes themselves were beautifully-illustrated, which I might like just as much as the teas themselves!
My friend also took me to the Rayback Collective, a hip somewhat quirky space where food trucks and beer gardens come together. It was there where I tried kombucha for the first time, and I found it quite refreshing– the pineapple-turmeric flavor I got was lovely!
That concludes my recap of Boulder– however, I’ll be posting more about my day trips to other parts of Colorado, so expect them soon!