Saturday, September 19, 2009

Heaven a la horseback in Garden of the Gods, plus Colorado Springs eats and hundreds upon hundreds of firemen...

Hello to all of you out there in cyberspace... Today I am blogging from a lovely futon at my sister's apartment. It's 10:30 and I've been up for a couple of hours... Annie is still sleeping off a very late night out in CoS ;-)
Yesterday was great. I had the pleasure of treating myself to a 3-hour horseback trail ride through Garden of the Gods!
Vacations can be tough in terms of fitting in physical activity, but horseback riding is a great way to experience a new place. This was my second time trying a ride with Academy Riding Stables in Colorado Springs... the experience last February was amazing and I was stoked to try out another ride.
Garden of the Gods is honestly one of the most beautiful places I've ever experienced. It was a great three hours to reconnect with nature and relax.
I booked the "Perimeter Ride" for this trip, which goes throughout the entire perimeter of the park. The multiple trails lead through prairie, hills, steep rocks, and sheer cliffs. The views are intoxicating!
My horse, Strawberry, was a funny gal. She frequently stopped to eat stuff and pretty much ignored my tugging at her reins!
This would be Strawberry causing a flash flood, haha.
So mature of me to have posted that, I know. I didn't get a picture, but the wrangler Todd's horse Vegas was even more hilarious. That horse farted every time she stepped up an embankment or hill. She even burped a couple times, too!
During the ride, we heard lots of rattlesnakes shakin' their rattles in the prairie grasses. Eerie but very cool. There were also not-so-natural sounds of fighter jets practicing above, a la Air Force Academy that's nearby. It was like our own private air show!
Since we walked the horses, the ride wasn't too challenging except for the steep bits. My horse took the rough terrain like a champ, but I am definitely a bit saddle sore today.
MAJOR THANKS and MUCHO PROPS to wrangler Todd at Academy Riding Stables! He's the absolute best.
After the ride, I was hungry! Annie took me to a great brewpub called Trinity. It was love at first sight... craft beers and vegetarian / vegan fare!!!
Though Trinity is located in a new strip mall, the interior was hip and industrial-chic. It looked like the bar and a lot of furnishings were made from reclaimed materials - very urban and funky. The menus were inside heavy metal covers.
The first thing inside the menu was a page-long letter, signed off with "Peace, Love and Gratitude." How cute is that? This added to the crunchy, altruistic vibe of the place. Beatles music played and you could hear the cooks singing along.
I went with the "Hot wing" salad - Seitan "wings" with organic spinach, carrots, celery, onion and tomatoes in a vegan bleu cheese dressing. I opted to have some dairy bleu cheese crumbles added on top.
This dish was muy caliente! The "wings" were drenched in super spicy buffalo sauce, and perfectly fulfilled my craving for hotness, ha. The portion was perfect - the size of a large soup bowl.
Annie chose the mac & cheese, served in a small breadbowl. Holy yum!
We shared some of the sweet potato fries, which tasted like they were baked vs. fried. They weren't as crispy as we would have liked, but had a pleasant mush to them :-)
I almost forgot - the beers! How could I forget about the beers? I tried Trinity's "Sonna," a Belgian. Delicious. Check out how sun-kissed I am here, ha.
I don't remember which beer Annie chose, but she sure looks nice in this photo!
A great meal! Will look forward to returning to Trinity during another visit.
I am going to go and wake up Annie as it's ALMOST 11:30! Sheesh. Assuming that we get moving :-), we will be checking out the Fallen Firefighter Memorial ceremony. There are hundreds and hundreds of firefighters in Colorado Springs this weekend, honoring their brethren. Think bagpipes, a motorcycle procession, and said hundreds of firefighters in their dress uniforms. Should be a unique and meaningful afternoon.
Cheers to another great day!

No comments: