Paddy’s Weekend in Fort Collins
I recently (well nearly a month ago now) took a trip to Colorado to visit two awesome friends of mine, Shannon and Erin. Our story is a great one but that’s for a whole different post. 🙂 Anyhow, they invited me over to visit them in Colorado for Paddy’s weekend, so how could I refuse? I booked my flight with United (eek) and packed my bag.
The two lovely ladies themselves live in a beautiful little city called Fort Collins. It was really easy to get here from Denver airport with ‘Green Ride‘. They’re a shuttle service who bring you to Fort Collins and Loveland with up to 18 services a day for each destination. Shannon fair play to her, organized this all for me and met me in Loveland near enough midnight (thanks United for the 2.5 hr delay).
On Friday, Paddy’s Day, we spent most of the time catching up as we hadn’t seen each other in quite a while. After the chin wags, we gathered ourselves and headed to this sweet place downtown called ‘Downtown Artery‘ where they have Kambucha on tap – Heaven! There’s a cool little art gallery attached and they also have a hall in the back for bands. If you’re hungry, they have a menu with a nice variety of dishes. After here, the hunger had sat in so we made our way to ‘Tasty Harmony‘. This vegetarian restaurant has such a beautiful menu and peaceful setting. I absolutely loved everything about it! I honestly would give it 5 stars and put as a must eat in Fort Collins.
For the evening celebrations we stopped in at Odell Brewing Co. This was a must for us as they had IPA’s brewed beer left in whiskey barrels on tap. Possibly one of the best IPA’s I’ve ever had! There’s also an outside sitting area and fire pit. We could of happily sat there for the evening but the hours are kind of funky so we headed back home for a quick freshen up. The next pub we hit was ‘Lucky Joes‘, an Irish bar downtown. The place was packed with a trad band banging out tunes, we could of been back in Tig Coili in Galway!
Hiking in Boulder
The next day started off rough to say the least. Too much whiskey and beer. But it didn’t stop us from hitting up Tasty Harmony before we left for Boulder. I’ve wanted to go here since I read Stephen King’s novel, ‘The Stand’ and I was SO excited to visit. The drive to Chautauqua Park was gorgeous with the Rockies on the right hand side. It really was incredible to see. Boulder is roughly 40 mins from Denver and an hour from Fort Collins.
When we arrived at Chautauqua Park, we made our way up the Flatirons. These are 5 reddish-brown sandstone formations running north to south along the eastern slope of Green Mountain. They’re nearly 300 million years old and offer a number of trails to hike as well as climb.
This hike was quite different to what I’ve become used to in the Pacific North West (check out my trip around Eagle Creek Trail). The terrain was a lot more drier but I loved it. It was a challenge and the switchback trails were kind of hard to follow the higher up we got but we made it to the top of Flatriron 2! 😀 The views were incredible as it’s so high up. You can see all of Boulder, as far as Denver and the desert plains. So much so, that at the top I froze a little bit and clung to a big rock – I’m such a chicken sometime haha!
The hike is approx 2.7 miles but like Is aid, it gets a little steeper at the top. The elevation also tricks you a bit so bring plenty of water! At the base, there is a big parking lot and park but this is a hot spot for humans so get in early if you need to sit your car. There are bathroom facilities (kind of manky) and a water pump to refill water bottles. After the hike up, I’d highly recommend chilling out in the park and taking in the beautiful sunset. 😀
To finish off the evening, we headed to Pearl street for some pub grub. After strolling around for a bit, we came across ‘Lazy Dog‘ which satisfied all of our hungry bellies. If pub food isn’t what you’re looking for though, there are so many options lining the street. It’s kind of like a bigger version of Shop Street in Galway or Grafton St in Dublin. I absolutely loved it!
I was blown away completely by the small snippets I saw of Colorado. I think it took me all of about 5 minutes to decide that I could definitely live there. A) the weather was beautiful and warm B) the insane mountain scenery C) the cool downtown areas. I’m too in love with the Pacific North West right now though with all of the greenery, rivers, ocean and mountains. I do believe that another trip is in order but hopefully backpacking in Boulder?
Until next time!
*There are more snaps in the Gallery!