Today was the first day we had the chance to sleep in and wake up whenever. What a feeling that is, I can tell you. I ended up waking around 8a.m anyway but it was nice to know that was what my body needed. We didn’t have much of a plan so after sitting chilling for a bit decided a proper American breakfast was in order and settled on the Arapahoe Café and Pub in Dillon – a short drive from Keystone. The place was really cute with lots of wooden beams and a VERY friendly waitress who took our orders and brought limitless coffee for those partaking in that (I settled for orange juice). I had ordered the granola pancakes with bacon which was apparently a house special, which came so massive it could have easily fed 4 people. It was utterly delicious with the tasty granola giving a bit of life to a good old buttermilk pancake which I off course smothered in maple syrup. I managed almost half and was quite proud of my achievement taking the leftovers in a box for later. Our next stop was a local supermarket to stock up on food for the cabin which we were heading to later that day. I was overwhelmed by the amount of ready meals and clearly chemical loaded meats which had use by dates of months later. We finally decided on steaks with loads of fresh veggies, and a gluten free pizza for Carolyn. It was crazy how beautiful the setting for the store was, you walked to the car and were surrounded by the most beautifully epic mountains covered in snow. Amazing views!
We headed back to Keystone to pack up and chill out for a while before Brooks headed out to ski and Carolyn and I made our way back to Breckenridge to do some dog sledding. It was through a company called Good Times and in truth was around a 30 minute backroad journey from Keystone. We again were treated to the most fantastic views on the way and arrived to a busy snow covered cabin in the woods to check-in. The company is the premier snow mobiling and dog sledding company in the area and was pretty busy when we arrived to check in early. They had snow kit you could use to keep dry but we were happy with our ski gear. We headed out to meet the dogs and got to spend around 15 minutes getting pictures (some of which were professional ones which you could purchase at the end) and getting to know the dogs. There were 8 dogs to a running team and 3 teams running that day. They split the group up with Carolyn and I being put with a family from Georgia. Our guide Ace came along and introduced us to our dogs; the 2 most lean and clever dogs went at the front – Chicken and Larry. These are dogs with a lot of experience of running so know how to pull and to turn based on the instructions from the sled. The next 2 are older dogs that used to be up front but have been retired back to second sport so they can still show their wisdom but not work so hard. We had 2 twin girls in third place and finally the puppies with all the muscle and strength bring up the rear – Dallas and Sue. For the next hour we each took it in turns either riding in the sled or standing up and steering it while the others rode in front on a side-cart to the snow mobile. I can honestly say it may have been the single best hour in my whole 2016 year. The dogs were amazing and steering the sled was fun and challenging, but riding was equally as fun, especially when Carolyn led us through a particularly challenging turn and we got stuck in a pile of snow leaving me to side roll out while she sped off with the dogs. At the end there was more time still to hang out with the dogs and tell them how well they had done. For an hour it cost $90 which is a steep price but worth every single penny!
We were supposed to be meeting Brooks when we finished up but after scouting the car park couldn’t see her and so decided to head back to Breck for phone signal. As soon as we entered the phone zone she messaged to say she was waiting for us in town so we headed to catch up with her before starting the journey out to the cabin. Brooks’ dad was responsible for building the cabin with his own 2 hands after buying some land literally in the middle of the Rocky Mountains. The nearest town is Fairplay and just before is South Park – the town responsible for the setting to the popular show in the noughties. To maximise any potential tourism in the tiny mountain town they have made life-size cut-outs of the characters which we rushed out to take obligatory photos with in the windy freezing evening. We headed on towards the cabin which is about 20-30 minutes off-road from Fairplay. As we rounded the corner the most spectacular sunset took our breath away before we set eyes on the gorgeous cabin silhouetted by the epic mountains. What an amazing place to spend the night!
We headed in (it was blowing a gale outside and the temperatures had dropped significantly) so we hurried inside and treated ourselves to a shot of baileys to welcome us before having some hot chocolate with peppermint schnapps – delicious. We settled in and got the fire going before starting on dinner. Brooks cooked up an absolute storm with the steaks and we settled down to enjoy them with some local apple wine grown and made in Colorado. It was lovely and sweet, almost like an unfizzy cider. It was a nice chilled evening with Love Actually, Parcheesi, Pick-up Sticks and Uno. Bliss!