Challenge One: The Hike In

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On a Wednesday this crew (pictured below) decided to put ourselves through some cruel and unusual punishment….getting up at 4:30 in the morning. After that though everything we did that day was a breeze—just kidding! On this Wednesday morning we packed up our packs and hit the road for Silverton. We were heading out on a four day camping trip in the Weminuche Wilderness and the big challenge of the day (daily challenge post to come) was going to be the 6.5 mile and 3,000 feet elevation gain hike into the Chicago Basin where we would set up our camp. The other big part of the day was the steam train we were going to get on once we got to Silverton! This was the big exciting part of the day.

We hit the road and quickly fell asleep after Kara and I learned what Snapchat Faces is….

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About four hours in we stopped for fuel at the best breakfast place you can find while on a road trip, yes McD’s.

We arrived in Silverton with about two hours to spare which was great because it took bit to find lunch and where to park the car. ADVICE: give yourself extra time here, we ended up having to move our car to a different spot after bad advice and would have been even more stressed about missing the train. We also had a last minute bathroom users which really freaked the group out; long story short we all made it.n

A few of us headed to The Pitts Again BBQ joint on Greene street for some infamous BBQ that has been featured on Diners, Drive-ins and Dive. I enjoyed a ham sandwich and mash potatoes; seriously awesome.

After our lunch we got our things together and got on the train and enjoyed the amazing view. Second bit of ADVICE: do the train! You can skip the train and hike in but don’t! The views were amazing and it was such a nice treat! Taking the steam train through the mountains that has been around since 1881 when it originally was created was a great addition to this backpacking trip.

After about 45 minutes we were dropped at a bridge and that started the hike. The hike that was very, very hard for me. My sister basically ran it but I just couldn’t’ find my stride. Maybe it was my preparation; McDonald’s and BBQ.

Though this hike was a struggle it was beautiful. I ended up being alone for about the last hour and the quietness was a nice transition away from the busy noises of daily life.

Our stats ended up being: 6.44 miles, 2,775 feet elevation gain (8,234 to 11,062), 3 hours and 38 minutes.

We got to camp and set up as fast a possible because we had a big appetizer party planned. I had brought the what I am calling the perfect hiking appetizer; Volpi Snacks!  Basically they are a mozzarella cheese stick either wrapped in proccuitto, pepperoni, or spicy cooked salami—aka a charcuterie board in the wilderness. Shanna out did me and actaully carried in aged gouda so that was also nice washed down with our Pinot Noir Bota Box wine.

Another luxury item that was carried in was a guitar. The Chicago Basin area does not allow fires but we barely noticed what we were missing since we had such an unusual addition. We thought we were the most musical bunch but we learned on our last night that a neighbor brought a trumpet.

We enjoyed the s’mores bars that I had baked for everyone (another good idea if you can’t have a fire, or want a step up from the classic s’mores) and sang Taylor Swift to the star filled sky.

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Baby is Brewing

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On Saturday Kara, Allegra, and I hosted a baby shower for our friend Melissa! I was in my element—I LOVE to host and plan. I get so excited to make all the list; shopping list, mapping out the day by day plan, and hour by hour plan for the morning of the party! I made a cake, fruit tarts, spring rolls, and tomato soup shooters with mini grilled cheese.

It was a day filled with games, we guessed baby food ingredients, and more drinking than expected; Melissa is the first of our Denver friend group to have a baby so the booze were still flowing.

I picked a peaches and cream cake since it is peach season and then made a dark chocolate mini fruit tarts because the mom-to-be loves dark chocolate. The spring rolls and soup were more random picks but I liked them because they were a little different and fun!

The cake toppers, fitting the Baby is Brewing theme, were the homage to Michigan; Bell’s IPA and Michigan State University colored baby bottle.

Peaches and Cream Cake

Dark Chocolate Fruit Tart – I used the shell and custard recipe from this link and then followed this link to make it dark chocolate

Grilled Cheese Tomato Bisque Shooters

Bahn Mi Spring Rolls

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