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Weekend Recap: Deluge Lake and Tyson’s Fried Chicken

My Friday started off rough – I woke up at 4am and couldn’t get back to sleep, so I read in bed until 6am. On the bright side, I finished two books in that time! (One was short, the other I was already halfway through.) I also had time to do a 30 minute Peloton class, and chose a 90s pop ride with Hannah Corbin, which put me in a great mood from the day!

But my workout wasn’t over then. As soon as I was done on the bike, I changed out of my capris and into a bathing suit – pool time! I took the advice that all of you gave me both here on the blog and on Instagram, and tried what I think was a legitimate pool workout – ten sets of 100 yards with 20 seconds of rest in between each set, followed by ten sets of 50 yards with 15 seconds of rest in between each set, and finally 100 yards all-out. The knowledgeable swimmers told me that the real way to do things is to simply allocate a time in which to get the interval done (e.g., 2:30 total), and then rest until the stopwatch gets to that time, kind of like an EMOM, so I will try that next time. But in the meantime, this was great! I felt like I was really working hard by swimming intervals rather than just lazily cruising for a long distance. I really like interval swimming – I feel like it pushes me even as it gives me a chance to zone out and relax. Plus, I notice a major difference in my arm definition when I’m swimming regularly… and I like it!

My day at work was supposed to be packed, but several meetings got canceled at the last minute, which was both good and bad. On the bright side, that gave me time to get a lot of work done, but it also drives me nuts when people cancel at the last minute. I am constantly struggling to find spots on my calendar to meet with people, so when people cancel at the last minute, that’s a spot that someone else couldn’t book – especially annoying when it’s junior staff wanting my advice! I hope that doesn’t sound self-important of me… I am realizing that work has me rather stressed out lately with how busy it is. I am looking forward to taking a day off next week to hopefully recharge!

My Friday night was a quiet one – some blogging, some cooking, and unfortunately a much later bedtime than what I had hoped… but at least it was productive.

On Saturday morning, I was trying to mostly take a rest day from exercise, so I could go hard on Sunday. But I really hate rest days – working out is so much fun! I did a quick 2 mile easy-paced run to get my blood flowing in the morning (not fast or hard, to be clear), and then did a ten minute arms and shoulders strength class with Adrian, and called it a day. I am trying to get myself to do at least a ten minute strength class every day, since I can always find time for a ten minute class, and it all adds up when I do it consistently. Adrian’s class was actually my 200th Peloton strength class, which was exciting for me, and a few friends joined it with me. It’s fun when we can do it “together” (in our separate homes)!

After the workout, I had a long interview with a local dog rescue – not one where I’ve fostered before, but one that specializes in German shorthaired pointers. I love GSPs – I grew up with two of them, and they were beautiful, loyal, intelligent dogs. After my time fostering Sugar and Sesame, I’ve realized that I may actually be a great fit to own one myself, given how much exercise I get and how I love to take my dogs for hikes or runs. So, the exciting news is I got approved by the rescue for a potential foster-to-adopt! I would be given a dog for basically a two-week trial; if it’s a fit, I’d adopt her permanently; if it’s not, I’d agree to foster her until she’s adopted. I’m in no rush, so am waiting for exactly the right fit… but I’m hopeful! I’ve always wanted a dog, but my travel schedule has gotten in the way. Now, we don’t expect to go back to traveling anytime soon, and even after we (hopefully, someday?) recover from COVID, our model is going to permanently change and I won’t be on the road all the time. I am thrilled about both that and the possibility of finally setting down and having a dog!

Anyway, I spent the rest of the morning knocking out chores, and packing up to head to the mountains for the rest of the weekend. My hope was that by driving up on a Saturday afternoon, I’d miss all the traffic (which is usually going the opposite way, back to Denver in the afternoon). My luck with mountain traffic in 2020 has been terrible, though, and despite the completely off-peak time, it still took me 2.5 hours to get there. What the heck?! I need my friends’ luck – Heather and Kirk always seem to make it with smooth sailing, but no matter how I time it, it always seems to take me forever. Thank goodness for podcasts to make the time pass productively!

When I got to Minturn, it was another quiet night – I hung some new canvas prints up in my bedroom, caught up on work, cooked dinner, and went to bed early. It was nice to have a pretty low-key day! Especially because I had some big adventures planned for Sunday.

I kicked off Sunday morning with a long hike. Thanks to a lot of research on Saturday night, I narrowed it down to two routes – Deluge Lake and Two Elk Trail. Two Elk was a longer and less steep excursion that I thought would be good to trail run; Deluge Lake would be shorter but much steeper. Although steep hikes are certainly challenging, I find that sometimes I’m in the mood to “lazily hike” and other times I’m in the mood to trail run – and Sunday morning, I woke up deciding I’d rather take the slower route. Deluge Lake it was!

I didn’t get to the trailhead until 7am, and it was packed with cars. However, this trailhead serves both Deluge Lake and Gore Lake, with Gore Lake being the popular route because it’s pretty flat. Not so for Deluge Lake! This was a pretty steep incline right from the beginning, with grades of 10-20% for the first 2 miles. I was loving it, though – the views were beautiful!

Up, up, up on the rocky trail – I didn’t see a single person for the first two mile uphill!

As I knew from the trail map, I got a short respite from mile 2.5 to 3.5, where the trail flattened out quite a bit. Hooray! I passed a few backpackers in this area – they said they had hiked in a few days ago and were just heading out now. But in all, I saw fewer than ten people this entire hike – it was wonderful! I love the solitude of the mountains.

I was listening to podcast episodes as I hiked (the Rise podcast by Rachel Hollis), but around mile 4, I had to hit pause due to the noise of the creek I was hiking next to. To be clear, I was not sorry for this! The creek was lovely, especially since I didn’t fall in any of the four times I had to cross it 🙂

Deluge_Lake_Stream

I think I am getting pretty good at stream crossings! This one looks smaller in the photo than in person; it was about eight feet across.

When I came out into the clearing, the views were stunning, but the altitude (11,000 feet) was definitely getting to me – I was glad I was just going to the lake and not all the way up one of the peaks in the background! I’m not going to lie – in the final half mile, I was counting down to the end. But even as I was reminding myself how close I was and to keep pushing, I was enjoying myself. I got to the lake and propped my phone up on a rock for a timed selfie – I did it!

Laura_at_Deluge_Lake

Deluge Lake – 11,753 feet!

While I was taking photos, an older guy came out of a tent I hadn’t noticed on the far side of the lake and came over to chat. Turns out, he was a local resident who had been coming up this trail for years, and he told me this was the hardest hike in the Vail Valley. Whoops – although I had checked out the profile ahead of time, I hadn’t realized that! It made me pretty proud of my accomplishment. He also told me he could show me where to get the best photo of the landscape, a few hundred feet over from the lake. In hindsight, it sounds like some sort of lure (apparently as an adult you offer me pretty views instead of candy to get me into your van?), but there was already no one where we were at the lake so it didn’t seem to like hiking across the wide open meadow was going to put me in any more danger. Plus, I figured I could probably outrun him 😉 But it was no trap, and he was right – it was stunning from over here. Check out this sweeping panorama at the top! (Click here to view it in 3D, where you can rotate around like you’re there with me.)

After snagging that panorama photo, I thanked him and headed down – now enjoying the beautiful wildflowers a little more on the downhill 🙂

Deluge_Lake_Flowers

Loved the beautiful wildflowers all along the way.

On the way down, I tried to run as much as possible, but there were a few parts that were too steep to run – I was slipping down them! To be honest, that made me even more proud I had hiked up. It was also a fun feeling to be getting down to the bottom of the trail as a few other people were just starting to go up – I like getting an early start to the day!

That said, when I got back home, I took a shower, ate some lunch, and then… don’t know where the rest of the day went. Although I was home by 1pm, the afternoon kind of got away on me! Before I knew it, it was time for the other big thing I was looking forward to this weekend – dinner on the patio at my Minturn roommate’s restaurant.

My roommate Tyson is the executive chef at Leonora at the Sebastian, and I’ve been meaning to go check out his incredible food for some time. On Sunday night, Tyson and his girlfriend Michell were both off work, but they graciously said they’d join us for a special dinner at the restaurant, along with my friends Heather and Kirk. As the executive chef, even though Tyson wasn’t actually cooking, he was responsible for all the recipes we tried… and they were so good!

Pork_Chop_Grits_Bourbon_Peach_Glaze

We ordered a lot of dishes to share, but this pork chop was one of the best.

I couldn’t get over the grilled pork chop and grits with bourbon peach glaze, and also the banana cream pie with house made pudding, white chocolate whipped cream, maple glazed bananas, vanilla sponge cake, and graham cracker crumble.

Leonora_Banana_Cream_Pie

One of the best desserts I have EVER had. EVER.

But the piece de resistance was what we had come to Leonora on a Sunday for – fried chicken! In the summer, Leonora serves Tyson’s family recipe for fried chicken on Sunday nights, along with incredible jalapeno cheddar biscuits – and it did not disappoint.

Chef_Tysons_Fried_Chicken

I will DEFINITELY be back to get this again! The chicken was boneless and cooked to perfection, and the biscuit was incredibly flaky – almost like it was made with phyllo dough. I loved it all and would go back on my own just for this! (PS – This plate is only $9 on Sundays. Deal of the century at a really upscale restaurant in Vail Village!)

I was so happy I got to spend the evening relaxing on the patio with two of my best friends as well as my roommates. We took our time, and I felt really comfortable with the patio table we had that was tucked into a corner where no one else would come by. I haven’t gotten to spend a lot of time with Tyson and Michell, and it’s always a delight when I do. So I was also really happy when we headed back home after dinner, and I had the energy to stay up for a while and hang out with them. They introduced me to Mario Party on the Nintendo Switch, and while it wasn’t my favorite game, I was so psyched to spend the whole evening with them! What a perfect end to a perfect summer night.

On Monday morning, my plan was to stay in Minturn and work from my mountain house for the day, but even though I went to bed late, I found myself awake at 4:30am – so I ended up hightailing it back to Superior before work instead of after.

Sunrise_Frisco

While I was disappointed to not get as much sleep as I wanted, the sunrise views on my drive home were gorgeous.

Off to another week at the races! Fingers crossed that work will slow down soon and I can catch my breath.

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