Way back in May, Tiffany and I started looking at calendars to pick a date for our planned “Adventure Day.” With 2014 being the busiest summer ever, the first weekend where we both had a free day open wasn’t until August 2. That seemed so incredibly far away, but we wanted to make sure we got it on the calendar.
Within a blink of an eye (because that’s how fast this year has been flying by), August 2nd arrived and we jetted off!
First Stop: A Quick Brain Damage
You’ve probably seen me post on Instagram about the infamous Brain Damage coffee drink at Dazbog Coffee. Well, during our Adventure Day, I wanted to make sure I introduced Tiffany to its deliciousness.
What is this amazing drink?? It is pretty much the best frozen coffee drink on the planet… and you can only find it in Northern Colorado. They use mocha, shots of espresso, and the BEST part… chocolate-covered espresso beans. All blended to perfection! I also love that they make it fresh – no mix! – and you can customize it to make it “your way” – for me, that’s sugar-free, non-fat. Delish!
The verdict: My Colorado BFF loved this drink as much as I do! What a great way to caffeinate for a long car-ride!
Next Stop: The Shambhala Mountain Center
Our travels took us further north… not to Wyoming, but to Red Feather Lakes, CO to the beautiful Shambhala Mountain Center. It had been about 10 years since I had travelled to this area, so I was excited to get back. The Shambhala center hosts spiritual retreats, meditation classes, and getaways. People travel from all over to see this beautiful place… and soon you’ll know why.
It’s tucked away from the main path, and I always think it’s a sign that I’ve left civilization when the roads are no longer paved.
About 2 1/2 hours from Denver, we arrived at our destination parked our car and started our trek into the property. On our way to a very sacred spot in the mountains, the 20 minute walk/hike was totally worth it… even in flip flops!
The main attraction here is The Great Stupa of Dharmakaya Which Liberates Upon Seeing. And, it is a breathtaking site.
It’s hard to believe this shrine is tucked away in the middle of the mountains. What stands out most when you see it in person is the brightly colored features and the gold accents. So unusual to see in this natural backdrop.
As you approach the stupa, you first see an alter of sorts where many have left items behinds. Offerings, gifts… and the most random of items. We got close enough to see the items, but you don’t dare touch any of them… they were all placed there with purpose. Who am I to alter them?
As we approached the stupa, I got really excited. From my previous trip, I remember the energy inside being amazing and I was excited to get inside – - to spend a little time in silence. But, a few pics before we walked inside…
From the Shambhala Mountain Center Website: Stupas are said to promote harmony, prosperity, longevity, good health and peace. They bring blessings to the environment in which they are built, to those who build them, and to those who visit and venerate them. In this way, stupas ensure that the living quality of the Buddhist teachings will always be available.
Taking off our shoes and leaving them outside, we entered the stupa to find two others seated inside and a few others exiting. It was quiet and perfect inside, and keep in mind… this is the first thing you see when you walk in the door.
So majestic, yet so peaceful.
I found a seat and settled in to meditate for a few minutes. I’m not a master meditator, by any means; however, my yoga practice has taught me how incredibly powerful breath can be… and I love to practice.
After about 10-15 minutes in silence, my eyes opened up, feeling refreshed and just happy. There is something about this place, I tell ya… the energy is fantastic. Before leaving the room, I spent some time looking around… noticing all the ornate details… and just soaking in that beautiful energy.
We left shortly after, stopping to watch a video along the way… and then deciding to simply take a selfie instead of sitting through the video.
The walk back was gorgeous… with lots of wildflowers and beauty along the way.
Third Stop: Refueling in Fort Collins
When we arrived at the car, we were officially STARVING. We raced back to Ft. Collins to have lunch at Coopersmiths. Ready to refuel, we each enjoyed the Coopers Pub burger with a side of cucumbers. I love that you can get a side of veggies and ranch, instead of fatty fries or onion rings. Genius!
After lunch, we headed over to O’Dells Brewery. They have a beautiful tasting room, and this was officially my first experience “beer tasting” in Colorado. I know… I live in a beer state, but I’d never been!
And… while the tap room was cute and the beer was cold, I think I’ll stick to wine tasting. Just not a huge fan of beer, but I was glad to have experienced O’Dells just the same!
After our stop at O’Dells, we made our way back to Denver convinced that we need to schedule another fun adventure day like this again soon!