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A Hidden Gem: Durango, Colorado

I recently spent a long weekend out in Durango, Colorado visiting my brother, Nick, and his girlfriend, Spenser. For those of you who aren't familiar, Durango is in Southwest Colorado, and is truly such a hidden gem of a mountain town. The week I visited, it also happened to be the week of Snowdown, a special week long event that the town puts on every year in the very sluggish months between New Years and Spring Break.

This year, the theme of Snowdown was Peace, Love, Snowdown. The whole town was dressed up as hippies as they participated in event after event. Although we didn't attend a ton of Snowdown events, we did attend a few unique ones. On Wednesday night, we went to a pick up line contest, which was about as cringey as it sounds. On Friday, we attended what seemed to be a crowd-favorite event, the Super Sexy Car Wash - which is about you imagine it would be. And, Saturday night, we attended the light-up parade, which actually was really sweet, highlighting tons of groups, organizations, and businesses around the city.

In addition to the Snowdown events, we got to experience a lot of mountain adventures. Here are a few of my favorite.

Purgatory Ski Resort

The ski resort in Durango, Purgatory, is a beautiful resort that seems to be a hidden gem in Colorado. The resort, even on a busy day, is nothing like the big resorts where you have to wait in lift lines at the end of each run. My brother and I spent Thursday on the mountain, and it was one of my favorite parts of the trip, spending quality time with him and seeing the joy snowboarding brings him, as well as the talent he's developed over the years living the ski bum life.

We went on run after run, only to stop at the lodge at the top of the mountain, Dante's, for a drink with a view. Let me tell you - there's no better place to have a drink. The view was incredible.

When we finished our day on the mountain the first day, he took me to a tiny little bar, Nuggets, where a lot of the locals go for food and a drink after a long day on the mountain. We ordered sliders and beer, and enjoyed the view from the top deck.

On Saturday morning, we went back to the mountain, a much busier day than Thursday, but still not busy in big resort standards. It snowed about 10" on Friday, so Saturday was a fun powdery day on the mountain!

After the second day we hit the mountain, Nick and Spenser took me to another tiny locals bar, The School House, for pizza and wings. The atmosphere of the School House is so fun - dollar bills all over the walls, a pool table, shuffle board, and even ski resort name tags hung over the bar. Apparently if resort workers show up at the School House with their name tag still on, the bar tenders take their name tag. The next day at work the employee has to take the walk of shame to HR to get a new one.

Durango Hot Springs

On Friday, Nick and Spenser took me to the Durango Hot Springs for a relaxing morning. The hot springs have tons of different soaking tubs, all different temperatures. You can choose which tub you want and hop from tub to tub if you choose. It was a magical morning soaking in the hot springs while the snow rained down on us.

Snowshoeing at Little Molas Lake

On my last day in Durango, we rented snowshoes and drove up to Little Molas Lake. I think this day was my favorite part of the trip. The views were just breathtaking - everywhere you looked, there was something new and beautiful to look at. There's not much better than a day out in nature - the quiet peacefulness of hearing sounds of the wild, the views that make you stop and stare in awe of God's creation, and the magnitude of the mountains. It puts everything in perspective, how small we are in the grand scheme of this world. How small our problems are, how big and mighty our God is.

We picked up sandwiches on our way up the mountain at the cutest bakery called Bread. We hiked up to a spot with a view to stop for lunch and it was probably the best lunch view I've ever had.

I never wanted the day to end, it was such a beautiful, magical day. I would highly recommend renting snowshoes, grabbing some good company, and hiking in a beautiful place for the day. You won't be disappointed!


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