My birthday was a little bit odd this year. To start off with, I turned 31 – quite literally two odd numbers – something that hasn’t happened since I turned 19! What made it even more of a strange birthday, though, was my birthday was on a Monday – do you celebrate on Saturday, Sunday, or Monday? All of the above? I had to work on Monday, my actual birthday, so the weekend was likely our best bet, but it made it feel a little weird celebrating on a day that wasn’t my actual birthday. Then there was the ever present COVID this year, that really limited the options on what to do for a birthday. All of this added up made it feel different, but that didn’t stop us from having an adventure!
It wasn’t part of the birthday celebration, but it was part of the weekend and the pictures were too good not to include with the rest. Saturday, we were at Deer Creek Mountain Camp in Bailey, CO for a wedding client of Carly’s, and I was in charge of giving people their wristband at the check-in table. Whilst the guests were arriving, a lovely herd of deer came to the field adjacent to me to offer a magical entrance. With the aspens changing in the background, it was an incredible sight to behold.
On Sunday, it was time for a fun adventure into the mountains. I never got around to writing a post about my birthday last year, but it certainly was the inspiration for this year’s journey. First, we were going to need some fuel though. I would’ve happily gone back to my favorite breakfast place that we went to last year for my birthday – Denver Biscuit Company – but they don’t have any outdoor seating. So we went with probably my second favorite breakfast option, Maria Empanada, because we could take it to go. When we got there though, they had outdoor seating set up on the sidewalk. We were in luck! We ordered our empanadas, and of course I had to get a sangria for breakfast for my birthday. I don’t know why we don’t come here more often!!
After breakfast, we headed down 285 to Guanella Pass, taking the pass south to north in search of the fall leaves. Last year on my birthday, Guanella Pass was really close to peak colors for the aspens, and I was hoping for a little of the same this year. It started out very promising, with golden groves lining the roads. We weren’t the only ones that had this idea though (something we expected going in), and everywhere there was a halfway decent photo opportunity, it was a joke trying to find a place to park. We were fully content with just driving through and leaving the crowds for others to deal with.
We took a short detour down the road where have always camped here in Colorado, hoping to escape the crowds and find our own personal aspen grove. Alas, we were already at too high of elevation and the aspens were mostly bare, well beyond their peak. We took the opportunity to get out of the car and stretch the legs, strolling down the trail and encountering some people along the way.
Even though I probably could’ve spent hours relaxing there, we couldn’t stay too long, as we had reservations at my favorite little mountain bar at 2 that afternoon, and we still had to make it the rest of the way over Guanella Pass. We headed out, with our ETA showing we’d arrive just in time. The Guanella pass summit area was just as packed as the rest of it, with leaf tourists taking their precious few pictures at the top before continuing on.
We emerged from Guanella Pass in the middle of Georgetown, and our destination was a few miles up I-70 in Silver Plume. Last year when we came to Bread Bar, we weren’t even entirely sure we were in the right place, as the bar is very small and unsuspecting, with literally nothing else around it. When we went inside last year, though, it was absolutely packed and was a challenge getting a drink. This year, we had to make reservations because it is so small, but we were looking forward to enjoying it without fighting to get to the bartender.
We had a table on the patio reserved for us, and it happened to be the only table in the sun, which worked out nicely with the cool breeze. Carly and I ordered our first round of refreshing cocktails, and enjoyed our time talking on the patio, without any pressures or worries about things we needed to do. It was really nice. We still had plenty of time for our reservations after round 1, so we went for round 2 of cocktails. This time though, Carly snuck in an order of a “bread and butter” for me for my birthday, which consists of a shot of whiskey and a Coors original. Just what I needed…
We finished our second round, including the bread and butter, and it was time to head back home. We battled the leaf traffic back down I-70, and didn’t feel like going anywhere to eat after that, so we ordered some Thai food to the house and relaxed after our day of adventure!
I had to work Monday on my actual birthday, but that didn’t stop us from visiting our local butcher shop and picking up some steaks, tiger shrimp, twice baked potatoes, and Brussels sprouts, along with a bottle of Chianti, for a birthday dinner fit for a king! Carly prepared everything perfectly, and I couldn’t have asked for a better cap on a spectacular weekend!
It may have been an odd birthday, but it was definitely one of my best ones too. There was no pressure to make sure we did something unique or crazy, but just had a really relaxing weekend with nothing to accomplish or achieve. I could certainly use some more days like this – I think we all could!