I’ve lived my whole life in and around the Blue Ridge mountains, but the soft rolls of America’s oldest mountain range did nothing to prepare me for the enormity of the Rockies.
I arrived in Colorado the evening of the 4th, almost immediately boarded a shuttle and then, for an hour and half, headed up. And up and up and up and up. My ears popped along the way, and I found myself in absolute awe of the landscape that rose around us. It was breathtaking. Just like the movies, only more beautiful.
I made friends with a woman who shared my shuttle on the way up to Copper Mountain, home to Wanderlust Colorado and us for the next few days (read of her Wanderlust experience here). Having officially met another Wanderluster, I immediately felt better and her infectious energy and friendly spirit made me far less apprehensive about this whole going to Colorado to a yoga and music festival all by my lonesome with three other bloggers I’d never, ever met before.
Going in, this seemed like a big thing. Traveling alone to a festival filled with people I’d never met, going at a time when I couldn’t even call or text Andrew for moral support and going into an environment I wasn’t sure I’d fit into seemed like a big deal, like the sort of solo adventure I’d been aching for. It was a lot and I approached it with a promise to push myself beyond my comfort zone, to talk to people, to try new things, to experience all that I could in the few days I had in Colorado.
THURSDAY || DAY 1.
(this photo courtesy Chelsey @ The Paper Mama)
I learned the basics of slackline yoga, hiked further into and up the mountains, and took an intro to vinyasa yoga class. I met Chelsey Wednesday night after getting to Copper and I met the other two Toyota affiliated bloggers, Suebob and Kate, right before my hike on Thursday. I made friends on mountain trails and marveled at the mountain wildflowers and the little blue butterflies that swarmed around us as we hiked. I got winded too easily from the altitude, which was nearly 9,000 at base camp, and felt more okay than I’ve felt in a really long time. There’s just something magical about that first day of a long weekend away, like you’ve got all the time in the world stretched out in front of you, just waiting for you to explore and discover all the things hidden in the world around you.
FRIDAY || DAY 2
A talk on festivals, from Woodstock to Wanderlust, and the roles of music and yoga at both, started my day. I skipped my midday hike to lunch with Kate instead, mostly because of some big, dark and scary thunderclouds that came into view and because the thought of hiking up a mountain in the rain just didn’t seem like a fun way to spend part of my afternoon. We drank beers, ate delicious truffle chips and watched the rain roll in. I took a class on handstands and while I didn’t master doing a handstand unassisted at 9,000 feet, I had a whole hell of a lot of fun learning how to do them, even if they were assisted.
The other bloggers and I visited the Toyota Retreat, a big tent set up by Toyota with a tea room, a hair braiding station, a trail mix station, a craft station and a whole mess of other things. I was curious to see what sort of thing Toyota would set up at an event like Wanderlust and was pleasantly surprised by how well they pulled of their area. It was a much visited spot and it was clear that the organizers put some solid thought into creating a unique Toyota-related space that would make sense to and appeal to the attendees of Wanderlust.
Our Toyota connections scored us a tour with one of the Wanderlust founders, Jeff Krasno, and we all had the chance to candidly ask him some questions about how Wanderlust came about, the goal of creating an event like Wanderlust, and the direction the event is headed in.
That night we escaped Copper Mountain and took the free shuttle into Frisco for Suebob‘s birthday dinner at a place called Vinny’s. I didn’t take a single picture of any of the food, mostly because I was in too much of a hurry to stuff it in my face. The menu is seasonal, mostly locally sourced and organic and the food is stupid good.
DAY 3 || SATURDAY
Saturday was my last full day in Colorado and my last day at Wanderlust. I started the day with a CorePower Yoga class, listened to Aron Ralston tell his story, the one that was nominated for a few Oscars when it appeared in the film 127 Hours. I skipped my hike, again, because of rain, and lunched with the girls instead and then we went up the ski lift to the top of the mountain, took a photo at 12,000 feet and came right back down to avoid the rain that was rolling in.
There was wine tasting and a farm to table dinner and watching dogs run and play outside my windows. There were a few hot cups of tea, some new friends and a lot of shuttle bus trips back and forth.
Finally, it was time for Ziggy Marley. Anyone who knows me knows that I don’t dance, but I danced through the Ziggy show and then I danced through most of the Gramatik show too, with Chelsey, and then, suddenly it was past 2 am. We found our way back to the condo and I collapsed in bed, exhausted.
Sunday I came home, hungover and dizzy from a wonderful weekend, and that was it. I’m forever grateful to Toyota and the Clever Girls for this opportunity because I’m pretty sure it was life changing in ways I haven’t quite figured out just yet.
Disclosure: I was selected for participation in the TWIN community through a program with Clever Girls Collective. I did not receive any compensation for writing this post, or payment in exchange for participating. The opinions expressed herein are mine, and do not reflect the views of Toyota.