Lots and Lots (and Lots) of Durango Pictures

So, I know everyone knows we went to Durango (and everyone is thinking, seriously, it’s not Paris, stop talking about it), but for such a small vacation, we took an insane amount of pictures that will sit forever in my computer, unloved and neglected.  I hate making anything feel unloved and neglected.

I love our camera (and Aaron LOVES our camera), so between us we take a lot of pictures with lots of different settings, often of the same thing over and over.

So, if you are interested in looking at a ton of pictures of water and trains (and a few other things), here is our Durango weekend in 87 pictures.

And then we will move on!

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Trail Running in Colorado

I’m always surprised with the little ways that running has changed my life.

For example, a couple of years ago, I never would have thought to bring running clothes along on a trip.  It’s vacation…from everything.  Including working out. Why would I spend valuable nothing time running around?

These days we always bring workout clothes, and I kind of even look forward to our morning runs around a new place.  Something about exploring a city on foot without the usual distractions of a map or a bulky camera is just so exhilarating, provided you don’t accidentally take a wrong turn into the Tenderloin…

So it goes without saying that when we were in Durango this weekend, we took some time on Sunday morning to explore one of the trails for a trail run.

I will be the first to raise a big hand in the air and say that I’m not a huge trail running fan.  For one, I’m deathly terrified of rattlesnakes, and I’m always convinced one will slither right in front of me.  I’m also afraid of twisting my ankle on a rock or tree root.  I’ve seen Aaron go down hard twice while trail running, and the last thing I want is to break my ankle in the middle of a mountainous area with rattlesnakes slithering nearby  (but without easy access for emergency personnel).

And typically I go really slow.  Like, 15-20 minute miles slow because I am spending so much time avoiding rocks and rattlesnakes.  And enjoying the scenery. And, you know, stopping to take pictures for the blog.

But Aaron LOVES trail running.  And I will admit that the constant switch up of muscle groups makes for a great workout, and it is a lot less boring than running around the golf course. Again.

So we get out on the trails every couple of weeks.

Aaron randomly chose a trail through google while we were in Durango, and it turned out to be a great one that ended up taking us on an aerial tour of the valley.

My Garmin died at about mile 1.8 (I swear I charged it!), so I don’t have a good picture of the elevation climb, but our legs were both pretty tired from running uphill.

Everyone was so friendly on the trail as well! Every single person smiled and said hello to us as we made our way around. Nice people, those Coloradoans.

It was beautiful!  Aaron, who is obviously much faster, hid behind bushes and took pictures of me running down.  He was probably trying to catch me walking, under the guise of being a nice husband helping take pictures for his wife’s blog.

{Don’t trip on that rock!}

If you participate in #runchat, you may know that May’s challenge was to run someplace new.  Running in Durango was a new experience for both of us, and if we had spent that time sleeping in, I never would have enjoyed these views! And hey, we didn’t even run into any rattlesnakes!

Birthday Weekend Getaway to Durango

Aaron (who reads my blog but only comments in real life), sends a 30-years-big THANK YOU to everyone for the birthday wishes!

He also thought that I had an “interesting” choice of pictures in the post yesterday, so I thought I’d throw another one in the mix!

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SIDENOTE: We have had non-stop birthday action since Friday, so this will be a short on words post with a lot of unedited pictures (I’ll actually share about 10 million train pictures another day)

We celebrated Aaron’s birthday with a quick weekend getaway to Durango, CO (home of Zuke’s dog treats…thanks Ellie for that tidbit of information!)

Durango is a quick 3 hour-ish drive from Albuquerque, but pretty much a whole different world.

Durango is a small, ski resort town with an old western feel, and as a college town, almost everyone is 22 and beautiful (and drunk).  It is also pretty affordable and unpretentious unlike some of the other Colorado ski resort towns like Telluride, Aspen, and Vail.

We started off the drive on Friday afternoon, and immediately encountered a traffic jam in the first town out.  Fun.  We also ate potato chips for dinner because we had no other options in the middle of nowhere.  (I know it doesn’t sound like it, but I actually eat pretty healthy most of the time!).

After an uneventful drive, we pulled into Durango.  I hadn’t been in about 12 years, so I was pleasantly surprised to see an adorable town appear in front of the bug-gut covered windshield.

Despite being such a touristy spot, hotels are kind of hard to come by (condos, cabins, and vacation house rentals are plentiful however).  Low-budget options like Econo Lodge and Best Western were available in the north end of town, and the two options downtown (where all of the restaurants and action are) are really old.

We opted to go with really old to stay within walking distance of the action and chose the General Palmer Hotel (The Strater is the other, far more expensive option).  It was very cute, very convenient, provided free breakfast, had Keurig coffee machines in room, and real keys (as opposed to the magnetic swiper ones).

Even though Durango is a ski town, there are plenty of things to do during the summer including white water rafting, zip-lining, mountain biking, hiking, and…THE TRAIN!

Without getting into too much of a history lesson, the Durango-Silverton Line was a pretty big deal back in the day.  These days it is quite the experience, with authentic trains chugging customers through the mountains from Durango to Silverton, an old west mining town revamped into a tourist destination.  The 45 mile trip takes about 3.5 hours, but the time investment is well worth it because of the amazing mountain views! Also, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid was filmed along this stretch of railroad! Paul Newman and I have been to the same place!

We opted for an open-air car which allows for better viewing (though we did get cold, and soot covered).

Silverton itself is about 2 streets worth of restaurants and shops (apparently the mines were active up until the 90’s, but now the only thing supporting this town is the business from the train passengers).  You get to spend about 2 and a half hours exploring (or saloon patronizing) before getting back on board.

After the 3.5 hour ride back into Durango, we went exploring the various microbreweries and bars that Durango had to offer.  Durango actually has 4 microbreweries in town, two within walking distance to our hotel (more on that later).

Sunday morning we got up for a trail run (more on that tomorrow) to explore the amazing landscape that Colorado has to offer.

Sunday also happened to be the Taste of Durango event where local restaurants give small samples of some of their food in exchange for tokens.  I guess the token sales go toward Charity, but you are essentially paying $4 per sample portion.  It was ok, but we didn’t spend too much time there.

We opted instead to eat at this adorable French restaurant!

On our way out of town, we stopped at Ska brewing company.  I don’t know if it is as widely distributed in other places as it is in Albuquerque, but the brand is completely comic book themed.

But…it is closed on Sundays, so all I could do was take pictures of the sign.  Bummer.

So, even though it was just a quick getaway, hanging out in Durango was relaxing and fun, and at such a close distance, a destination I wouldn’t mind going to a couple of times a year.  Sometimes, just escaping to a different place can make life a little more exciting.

Happy Birthday, Aaron!

Today is a big day in Casa de Lavender.

Today my husband crosses over to the other side.

Today is Aaron’s 30th birthday!

30 seems like such a big deal.  We’re talking full-fledged adulthood.  None of this twenty-something nonsense.  No more child-like antics, no more immature jokes (thank goodness!), no more partying til dawn because we just can’t stay up that late.  And a whole new (less competitive) racing age division!

{Check out that incredible display of maturity!}

Yeah…not so much.

Growing old is mandatory; growing up is optional.  ~Chili Davis


I think it goes without saying that I love every second of my husband’s silliness, and I would never imagine trying to squish it out of him now that he’s at such an advanced age!

We celebrated a last few days of immaturity this weekend in Durango, CO (more on that tomorrow).

Happy birthday, Aaron! 30 is just the beginning!