What a trip that was. An absolutely beautiful wedding nestled on the edge of the Rocky Mountains and the surrounding foothills in Estes Park. Family and friends of the bride and, my brother, the groom, also, of course, being my family, filled the seats and the reception. Elk roamed the streets. I walked away from my five-night stay there with new friends and an urge to go back and explore a new National Park that filled me with intrigue and excitement.
(Yes, I’m aware that I look like my father)
The air was thin and we did nothing short of drink our silly faces to death. Unfortunately, I didn’t get the chance to hike. Mary’s Lake Lodge, where we stayed, had an elevation near 8000′ before even entering the much higher Rocky Mountain National Park, and I’m unsure how great of a hike it would have been considering the short period of time we had to acclimate. We did, however, drive into the park and up to nearly 12,000′ before deciding to turn around due to my sister, Cassie, feeling quite ill from the elevation. In substitution of a hike, I scrambled my way up a large boulder in an attempt to get as scenic of a view as I could. My Under Armor shoes really weren’t meant for this type of climbing and I got a little nervous of slipping out of a foothole so I turned back before reaching a true summit point. It was still fun, though, and gave me a small amount of adventure beyond a drive fueled by petro.
I did make a speech both the night of the rehearsal and the wedding night as well. It was not the practice to do the latter, but Jake’s friends had pre-planned to do a hilarious collage of movie quotes to intro my speech, so I prepared a short and sweet homage to my little brother and his beautiful wife. Then we danced like we lost all lucidity until they pushed us into the lodge’s bar, and then, after the bar closed, an after-hours house party at my brother’s college friends’ rental. Sunday was rough.
Monday we traveled back to Denver and after sharing my last beer with my brother at Lefthand Brewery and saying our fair wells, we met up with my little sister, Cassie, and her boyfriend, Zach. She looked at me with a huge smile as I walked in the door and yelled, “IT’S YOUR LAST DAY DRINKING, WE’RE GETTING YOU SOOO FUCKED UP!”
She succeeded. Thanks, Cass (She’s the blond one below).
Once the beers started flowing, we named the night: ONE YEAR, NO BEER… Or, more so, I named it such as I screamed at my Snapchat friends and continually got drunker and drunker with every snap. My sister’s Snapchat storyline is even better than mine.
The night started at an upscale restaurant in Denver where my brother and his friends work, we were quite underdressed. From there, the night moved to the RiNo neighborhood of Denver; a very cool part of town with buildings covered in beautiful murals by artists with a graffiti-type art style (Some of the pieces can be seen in my Snapchat video). Super dope. Jake’s friends Josh, John James and Alex all made the night exceptional by showcasing the highlights of their city and entertaining excellent conversation. They took us to have a nibble on the “Best Burger in Denver,” to their humble abode, to an art-walk, to a punk-rock bar called Matchbox. We closed that fucker out with Brandi, my girlfriend, somehow convincing the entire bar to take a picture together.
Then we took a Lyft back to my brother’s apartment where we finished the night by offering a homeless man named Terry a granola bar (he didn’t accept it) and then flipping everything in my brother’s house upside down. I thought this was funnier than it probably was and I woke up the next morning hating my life before Brandi got me out of bed. (Video Below is of us flipping everything in my brother’s house upside down, be warned… this is my last night drinking at probably about 3/4 AM and it is explicit.)
The next morning marked the start of sobriety. After a hellishly painful first day, I have finally made it to Day 3 of 365 without a drop of booze. So far I have also not smoked any ganja, though that may change at some point.
Thanks to everyone who made this trip incredible! I’ll post more pictures once I receive them from my brother and other family members. I am sure there are some gems.
Cheers! (Or, maybe, not so many cheers!)