Carly's Commentary · Travel

A Guide to My Weekend of Learning and Nature in Colorado

The main event of last weekend’s adventure was a trip to the Denver Zoo! With six inches of snow on the radar for Sunday, we took advantage of the gorgeous, sunny weather Saturday had to offer and made the quick drive to Denver.

I started the day with my favorite Saturday morning activity ― a nice, long run along Boulder Creek. It was my last long run before racing a 10-miler this weekend. After that, my fiance, Grant, and I made breakfast tacos, did some chores around the apartment, and then got ready for the zoo. We arrived just as it was starting to get busy, and it was so fun to be out and about with lots of other families. Lots of kids were even dressed in Halloween costumes―the zoo was decorated with tons of pumpkins, spiders, and other fall decor!

Me and Grant at the zoo

We made a large loop around the zoo, making sure to hit all of our favorite exhibits. I don’t particularly have a favorite animal myself, but this time I was super interested in the grizzly bears. My fiance and I had just watched Grizzly Man the night before, and it gave me a greater appreciation for the complexity of the creatures themselves. That, coupled with the fact that we now live in bear country, has made me more interested in bears in general. I spotted a black bear on one of my very first runs in Boulder, and we almost had an encounter with them when camping in Estes Park. Just last week a black bear broke into a car at an apartment complex not to far from us. I didn’t get a great picture of the bears in the exhibit because they were eating in the back of the enclosure, but they were really cool to observe!

My other favorite exhibits included the monkey house―it’s always fascinating to watch them swing from branch to branch―as well as the giraffes and elephants. I even captured a cool moment with the elephants on camera―they look like they were playing!

After a few more exhibits―including an awesome look inside the reptile house, which always reminds me of my dad (who has a deep love for turtles and snakes and always kept them around growing up), we reached the end of our loop and headed back to the car. It was just in time, too, as my legs were starting to get tired, and the zoo was about to close.

We drove back to Boulder to have dinner at a new-to-us restaurant called Sherpa’s Adventures Restaurant & Bar. The restaurant is quite well known for its authentic Himalayan cuisine, and because living in Boulder has made us more attuned to climbing culture, we were both familiar with the Sherpas’ story. My fiance had just finished the book Into Thin Air, by Jon Krakauer (who’s coincidentally a resident of Boulder!), and it follows a group of climbers as they make their ascent up Mt. Everest in one of the most tragic climbing expeditions the mountain has ever seen.

Sherpas are climbing guides from the Himalayan region known for their great mountaineering skills. The restaurant was founded by Pemba Sherpa from the Everest region of Nepal, who fell in love with the Colorado Rocky Mountains on a visit and decided to open his own restaurant to bring a taste of their cuisine to Boulder.

Not only is Sherpa’s a restaurant focused on good food, but they also want their customers to have the full Everest experience just from stepping in the door. The restaurant is located in a cozy house that also serves as cultural center. They have a full-on traveler’s library and lounge where you can sift through hundreds of climbing books, photographs, and news stories. They also have a Sherpa Wall of Fame, authentic artwork and religious pieces, as well as actual mountain climbing gear. I’ve heard that you can also pick the brain of any of their waitstaff and get your fill of climbing tips, Everest stories, or anything in between.

The table we sat at was super cute. It was covered with a trail map that we found very intriguing. Since we weren’t very familiar with this type of cuisine, it took us a while to decide what we wanted to order, so we ordered the vegetable momo appetizer in the meantime. I’m a huge fan of dumplings, and this traditional Tibetan version was delicious.

Tandoori chicken

For my entree, I chose the Tandoori chicken, a Nepali/Indian dish which was served with basmati rice, dal (lentils), and chutney (a type of sauce).  The seasoning on the chicken was really tasty, and it came with sizzling hot green onions and peppers. I mixed everything together and really enjoyed the variety of flavors and textures this dish had to offer.

Grant chose the Tibetan noodles with lamb meet. The noodles were very good―they reminded me of a Chinese lo mein!  Next time we will have to order the pita bread; it looked and smelled delicious!

Tibetan noodles with lamb meat

None of the desserts really appealed to our taste, so we skipped out on that and picked up a huge slice of chocolate explosion cake from Whole Foods (shoutout to my mom for the gift card!).

While this wasn’t the most adventurous of weekends thus far, it was still a ton of fun and certainly felt like adventure, especially when we woke up to, and had to dig our car out of, the six inches of snow we got Sunday!

Thanks for tuning into this weekend recap!  Feel free to drop any questions about climbing or Mt. Everest below.

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