Monday, January 8, 2018

Travel Series: Westminster, Colorado

Today I'm excited to share another destination from my Summer Travel Series. Westminster, Colorado was the second stop on our schedule.
Writing this post as I listen to John Denver's Rocky Mountain High. (Which, of course, was on repeat the entire week) Since my brother went to college out there, we were always traveling out west on family vacations, hiking trip to Estes Park and skiing in Breckenridge. Because of that, Colorado has a special place in my heart. When he graduated and moved back east, we didn't have a reason to go to Colorado as often as we usually did. When I saw that Colorado was on the schedule for the summer, I was thrilled to go back.

The Golf Course

Walnut Creek Golf Preserve |  I mean, just look at the course! It's unreal and the most unique course we went to. Aside from the views, the course actually looked pretty tough. The fairways were quite literally on the side of the mountain. It was as if they were carved into it. Right off the fairway, however, was a ton of native grass. If you go even a few feet off the side of the fairway, you were in waist-high, thick native grass. I don't know how the juniors did it, I would have lost every single ball in my golf bag. Since it is a protected area, the course is home to more than 77 wildlife species and a variety of native plants. I have primarily played on very well-groomed and manicured golf courses, and with this one being so natural and unspoiled, it was actually quite beautiful.

Another fun fact, the tournament was hosted by professional golfer Hale Irwin. He was raised in Boulder and attended the University of Colorado, so it was awesome that he was giving back to junior golf by hosting a clinic for the golfers. He won three U.S. Opens and is one of only five golfers to win official tournaments on all six continents that golf is played. Being a communications intern, I got to interview him and his story is so inspiring. Definitely the highlight of the week!

Getting There

Westminster, Colorado is north of Denver, sort of near Boulder. Our team was coming from Louisiana, so it was a two-day drive, staying overnight in Texas. Most of the driving was very beautiful and scenic, something that I don't usually see when I fly into Denver. My 'host' family lived in Arvada, Colorado about 5 miles from the golf course in Westminster. They had an amazing home on the mountain with a stone fire pit. Just what I needed after a long 13-hour day at the course.

To Do 

We had a packed week full of activities. When we weren't on the golf course, we had so many activities planned throughout the week. 

Hiking | On Friday, we spent the afternoon and evening hiking in Boulder. We hiked near a short trail near Chautauqua Park. I've hiked multiple times in the rockies, but this one was new to me. You just can't beat Colorado hiking... it's absolutely gorgeous. My dad and older sister are huge outdoors people, so we spent family vacations growing up hiking in places such as Estes Park and Pikes Peak. My teammates were not huge hikers, and as you can see from these who photos, only about six of us continued on after the first ten minutes! 

Hockey | Being from the south, I am not a huge hockey fan at all. I literally have no knowledge of anything about the sport, and definitely had no idea how well-known of a sport hockey was. We had the opportunity to get out on the ice with a few Colorado Avalanche players. Colorado Avalanche is the professional hockey team in Denver. No surprise here, but I was absolutely horrible. And that is no exaggeration. Sure, I had ice skated when I was younger, but this experience game me a whole new appreciation for hockey.

Soccer | Saturday, we got the opportunity to attend a Colorado Rapids event. Colorado Rapids is Colorado's professional soccer team. Again, not a huge soccer fan but I love going to any type of sporting event. I actually really enjoyed the game. Atlanta recently got a pro soccer team called Atlanta United and there's a lot of hype about them. I just might have to go to a game! 

What a week it was. Westminster, you were unforgettable. Remember to follow along on the STS photo on the sidebar. Next stop: Carrabassett Valley, Maine!