on our last full day in colorado, we headed west to check out breckenridge and a few surrounding towns. we took our time driving over, stopping a few times in dillon and silverthorne to admire the views. once we made it to breckenridge, we wandered up and down main street. the only photo carter wanted was next to that welcome sign! i couldn't get over the aspen trees lining the streets and the leaves covering the ground. after enjoying lunch at motherloaded tavern, we met up again with rob who decided to camp with us that night.

we ended up finding an open campsite in frisco where a kind older man/park ranger warned us about a cold front blowing in. by the time we set up our tents and got a fire started, the temperature had hit freezing. we bundled up by the fire, made dinner, and listened to music until we couldn't take the cold anymore. we slept in layers and with hand warmers throughout our bags but still woke up with frost in our hair. to warm up, we made a fire burning the rest of our wood. we packed our site up at record speed and snapped a few photos before heading back to denver to drop rob off.

the ten hour drive back to missouri was long. i was trying to prepare myself mentally and emotionally for the next few weeks. but those few days in the mountains were just what my soul needed. i know it isn't the same for everyone, but i highly recommend relieving your stress in the great outdoors. 


technically, there was no camping on day two of our colorado trip. we did, however, wake up in a tent. after breakfast and packing up our site, we did a short hike to alberta falls. the trail was lined with aspen trees and we hiked up the mountain under a sea of yellow leaves. visiting colorado in the fall was one of the greatest decisions we've ever made and now i want to visit every year from here on out. 

after the hike, we drove down to boulder to grab coffee and so that carter could do a little work. we ended up at boxcar coffee on pearl street and both got burned by the sun as we sat outside. that's colorado weather for you, completely unpredictable. 

we drove down to morrison to check out the park before the concert that night. red rocks blew my mind. i felt so small standing beneath the huge formations that surrounded the area. and i loved watching people running the stairs and doing yoga. it made me slightly jealous that so many of my favorite bands play shows here underneath the stars and that these locals have this beautiful place. 

we checked into a hotel nearby to shower and clean up before heading back to red rocks to meet our friend, rob, who was also in town for the show. daughter started the night off and my heart was feeling all the things. ben howard was even better than the first time we saw him. we sat there in the rain, singing along and slightly buzzed. it was an emotional night for me with everything going on back home but it was a night i'll always remember. 


warning: this post is a long one. the following occurred in fall of 2015 and is a big reason i took some time off with the blog. more on that later.

for our one year anniversary, my husband gifted me concert tickets in lieu of the traditional paper gift. on every bucket list i've created over the past ten years, two items that make the cut each time are to camp out west and to see a concert at red rocks ampitheatre. so when one of my favorite artists, ben howard, announced a show there, carter purchased us tickets and began planning the trip. little would i know just how much i needed it. 

we decided to take a long weekend to spend a few days both camping and sleeping in an actual bed. our trip was the first weekend in october and the last weekend any remaining campsites would be open. we planned for the weather to change unexpectedly and thankfully so. 

a few days before we were set to leave, my mom called to tell me that she had been diagnosed with the earliest signs of ovarian cancer after a routine check up. she was set to have surgery two days before our trip. i was a mess. i was in a literal fog. those are the only words i can muster up to this day about that weekend. all i remember was the uninterrupted crying and the twelve hour wedding i shot with a friend. i spoke with my mom constantly, telling her our trip was off and that i was coming home. and after a gentle, yet stern call, she convinced me that i needed the distraction of those few days outdoors. (i should state here that i flew home the day we got back and spent the next six weeks with my mom as she recovered from surgery. i was also by her side when the doctor told her that they got everything and that she was cancer-free! insert a million hallelujahs and happy tears.)

we drove across the state of kansas and arrived for our first night in denver around seven. we decided to stay in a hotel outside of town to get a good night of rest after the long drive. we grabbed dinner somewhere. i think i had a beer and tator tots. literal fog, i tell ya. i went to bed at nine. 

we woke up early and headed north to est├ęs park where we spent our first night. we camped at morraine park, the only campsite still open. it was crowded but we found a cozy site tucked back in the towering trees. we set up camp, hiked around for a few hours and came back before dark to cook dinner and watch the sun set behind the rocky mountains. we slept soundly for the most part, except for a few times woken up by elk and wolves howling in the distance. the next morning we made coffee and enjoyed breakfast with two very friendly chipmunks scurrying around our campsite before packing up for our next destination. 

obviously this post was longer than usual, but this trip felt like a defining moment in my life and i never want to forget it. the rest of this trip will only consist of photos and maybe a few words.

so if you're reading this, you're a trooper and thank you. xx