Runcation: Day 13 Happy Hour at Aspen’s North Star Nature Preserve

I have to admit, today’s run was a total stretch. With sleep being an elusive friend on this trip, especially last night, my family and I woke up feeling like we’d collectively plowed into a brick wall. The idea of an early morning run quickly got replaced by a MONGO latte and breakfast at Peaches.

I think our moods may have also been a little “off” because we were sensing the end of our Aspen visit fast approaching. How could this trip be zooming by so quickly?

Knowing we only had two days left, we wanted to jam in as much fun as possible, so Olivia and I jumped into action and headed up the Silver Queen Gondola to go hiking at the top of Aspen Mountain while Jeffrey went to the Art Museum.


There’s nothing like a little nature to help us find our happy place!



We hiked up along the Nature Trail, which was breathtaking, and easy enough to be totally relaxed and energizing after our sleepless night.



After our fun morning on the mountain, we met Jeffrey for lunch at the Aspen Art Museum, a controversial new building towering in the middle of town. I have to admit, I was horrified when I first saw this monstrosity. The scale and design seem so completely wrong for the character of this town, but once I went inside and gave it a chance, my attitude slowly began to change. I might also mention that admission to the museum is free in perpetuity, which is kind of cool.




The view from the rooftop restaurant doesn’t get much better. We enjoyed a fab lunch here and bumped into an old friend, Barbara, who also happens to have a son we’re friends with in Santa Barbara. The connection between these two towns is undeniable.



After lunch, Olivia and I went back to the hotel to chill and have some pool time while Jeffrey went off to Anderson Ranch Arts Center in Snowmass Village, then later to a business meeting. It was early evening by the time my husband returned and I was antsy to run. I knew dinner was much higher on their priority list than my run, so I felt a little guilty about pushing this one today. But I persisted. And they were troopers, driving me up to the North Star Nature Preserve where we had floated down the river the previous night. The plan was for me to run back into town to meet them for dinner at Su Casa, one of our favorite Mexican restaurants.

I did a quick warm-up run toward Independence Pass, then turned around and headed back into town in the late golden light.


While I felt a little selfish for making my run a top priority when my peeps were hungry, I also knew this run would make me a better wife and mom and kick off my “Happy Hour” in all the best ways.




While it was a much shorter run than I had hoped–only a couple miles–it was well worth the effort. I felt light after running along the river, perhaps because I was filled with so much gratitude.

As I rolled into town, I couldn’t help but chuckle at “the scene”…people driving miniature electric Hummers, competing for space with horse carriages and mountain bikes; ladies sauntering with blinding bling and Gucci bags while families wearing Birkenstocks and well-worn summer duds tried to manage dripping ice cream cones.

I usually make it a habit to avoid running in town as I’m not a bit fan of navigating “the scene,” but this time I embraced the experience and enjoyed it all.



And then in the blink of an eye I arrived at the restaurant.


And this is what I found waiting for me…Did I mention Happy Hour?


Afterward we ventured to our daughter’s favorite place for sweets, Paradise Bakery. This tiny place happens to be the highest grossing establishment per square foot in Aspen (notice the line out the door and my peeps at the end). And who doesn’t love the sound of Aspen Music Festival students playing for passersby? It’s such a lovely summer tradition here.


We planted ourselves on a bench on the Cooper Street Mall, enjoyed our sweet treats and settled in for some more people-watching.


Right after we snapped this picture, we ran into another friend from Santa Barbara–Charlie–who also once lived in Aspen. Sometimes this world seems very, very small, which always makes it a lot of fun.

Stay tuned for my next running adventure, which takes me on my final run in Aspen (boo hoo). All good things must come to an end though, and I am nothing but grateful for the time we’ve spent here. Until then…

Happy Trails!
xo Becky

PS: If you missed any of my other Runcation posts, you can read them here:

Day One: Palm Springs North Lykken Trail
Day Two: Palm Springs South Lykken Trail
Day Three and Four: Grand Canyon Bright Angel Trail
Day Five: Arches National Park-Delicate Arch Trail
Day Six and Seven: Aspen’s Rio Grande Trail
Day Eight: Aspen’s Smuggler Mountain
Day Nine: Aspen Mountain
Day Ten: Aspen Backcountry Marathon
Day Eleven and Twelve: Aspen Cycling, Pure Barre, Kayaking Oh My!



4 thoughts on “Runcation: Day 13 Happy Hour at Aspen’s North Star Nature Preserve

  1. What a great trip! Have loved being on it with you! We just back from Park City and were astounded how many SB/Carp connections we met along the way too, truly a small world. See you back in SB! Michelle

    Sent from my iPhone


    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Michelle! So happy you’ve been enjoying our little adventure! It must be our mutual love of mountains and beaches that brings all of us together in these places. Did you happen to run into Ashlee Mayfield while you were in Park City? I know she’s there now too.

      Let’s run or hike together soon!


  2. Pingback: Runcation Day 14: Chasing One Last Run on Owl Creek Road in Aspen | Run Be Run

  3. Pingback: The LOWdown on the End of My Rocky Mountain High | Run Be Run

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