Updated: Mar 5, 2021
Our honeymoon was certainly one for the books! After such a busy season planning our wedding and dealing with every day life, we were ready to spend a week relaxing outdoors. Our original honeymoon plans were to plan a few short days off of work in Wisconsin. Luckily, the week of our wedding a few work plans fell through and we ended up having an entire week off. We decided to jump on the opportunity and ended up heading West Tuesday-Sunday the week after our wedding.
Since plans changed last minute and we were only a few short days away from the wedding, we decided to leave honeymoon plans for after the wedding. We picked Denver, Colorado as our destination and quite frankly left it at that. We typically love to plan out vacations months in advance, but there was way too much going on with the wedding.
The day after our Labor Day wedding we took the morning to relax and pack up our wedding décor. We headed back to our home and opened the very gracious gifts we had gotten the night before. Once we felt ready, we began packing for Colorado. The forecast for the week was all over the place, so we didn't quite know what to expect.
We said goodbye to each of our families and hit the road. There was something so strange about heading on a vacation we hadn't planned yet, but also something very exciting! We spent the next hours on the road stopping at Domino's for some pizza and talking the entire time about our wedding day. We had given both our digital and polaroid cameras to friends at the wedding, so we had so many great videos and photos to look through already. Jordan kept laughing at me starting every sentence with, "And you know what else I loved about our wedding?!" We were still on cloud 9 from what an amazing day it was.
The first night we stopped just outside of Sioux Falls, South Dakota. We woke up bright and early to our bagged breakfasts from the hotel (thanks, corona) and headed to the falls. It was a crisp morning and let's just say, I freeze easily. Jordan was laughing at me in my winter coat and puffy hat, but hey - gotta do what you gotta do. After a few photo-ops we were back on the road. This time, we were heading towards the Badlands.
That afternoon, we made it to the beautiful Badlands of South Dakota. I had been there as a kid, but was so happy to be back. There is something so special experiencing God's creation again as an adult that you don't quite experience as a kid. The pure size of the Badlands itself put us in awe. It was really cool to see Jordan experience South Dakota for the first time as well.
Jordan and I loved being in the Badlands so much, we decided to spend the entire day there. We drove spot to spot, always finding something new to look at. Jordan pushed me past my fear of heights as he encouraged us to climb one of the tall rock formations. the view was definitely worth it, but I was shaking in my Nikes the entire way up.
After our exciting climb, we stopped at a small window in the wall restaurant for dinner and watched the sunset. It was a beautiful day away from cell service and the rest of the world! Just before we were heading out of the Badlands, our wedding photographer emailed us a link to our wedding sneak peaks. We both immediately started to freak out, stretching our phones to the sky to get cell service. We couldn't seem to reach it with our phones, so naturally we hustled back to the car to get a hot spot on Jordan's computer. I remember the two of us freaking out at the photos and how quickly she had gotten our sneak peaks to us. It was the perfect end to the day.
Exhausted from our hikes, we got back in our trusty Kia Soul and headed towards Colorado. Surprisingly, when we hit the perimeter of a reservation we were stopped at about 10:00 P.M. There were large barriers blocking the road and big flashing signs saying, ''Mask Present, Must Stop.' We stopped to be greeted by two officers wearing bright yellow vests. They alerted us that due to Covid-19, the reservation was closed to all outsiders. We were asked to backtrack over an hour and drive around the area we were suppose to drive through. We finally arrived at our next hotel for the night and were completely exhausted.
After our adventures in South Dakota, we finally headed toward Colorado the next morning. Neither Jordan or I had been to Colorado before, so we were very excited to take on a new state. One of my bucket lists goals is to visit all 50 states. I was excited to cross another off my list!
We checked into our hotel about 30 minutes west of Denver. We were both surprised to find the Denver isn't actually located in the mountains. Remember, I shared this trip was very last minute, so we hadn't taken much time to research... We spent time that night googling a few places to go over the next few days.
We ended up with a very long list and only a few short days to accomplish it in. Because of this, we decided to book a "See the City" Tour. This tour picked up participants at Union Station in downtown Denver, took you to the top sites of the city, and dropped you off before lunch. That morning we headed to Union Station a bit early to take in the train station.
Union Station was a beautiful historic building right in the heart of Denver. The inside was full of gorgeous architecture, coffee shops, and restaurants. There were signs everywhere explaining the history of Denver and how the city was put on the map.
We had a bit of time so we walked around downtown Denver to see some of the sites. I couldn't get over how gorgeous the buildings were. Every building on the block was historic. It almost felt like a movie set. The old brick, cobblestone walkways, and murals brought such life into the streets. After we took in the downtown, we decided to head back to Union Station. It was very chilly that morning so we decided to wait for the tour inside.
Once the tour guide arrived, we hopped in the van and began our tour of Denver. The first attraction we visited was the Red Rock Amphitheatre. I had heard about this venue before and seen it on friend's Instagram stories, but seeing it in person was much different. The size of the rocks is almost too overwhelming to fully take in. The sun had started to come out, which brought out the red and orange hues in the rocks even more.
The day we visited Red Rocks was September 11th. During the time we were there, there were many firefighters, police officers, and other Coloradans trailing the theatre. Carrying flags and USA signs, it was an extremely powerful image to take in that day.
Our next stop was the beautiful town of Evergreen, just outside the city. There we visited a public park area with beautiful greens and a shining lake. The weather had shifted drastically since that morning, and was now quite warm and sunny. We spent the time walking around and taking in the scenery.
Our final stop of the tour was Lookout Mountain. The mountain range is just above 7,300 feet near Golden, Colorado. This view was absolutely breathtaking! The steep road leading to the top of the mountain was filled with bikers making their way to the top. This would be a recurring theme we would see again each day in Colorado. We had no idea there would be so many bikers! While at the lookout, we stopped in the small-town store to enjoy chili fries made with Buffalo meat. We also viewed the grave of Buffalo Bill.
Our last day in Colorado, we decided to take another tour. This time we selected a full day tour of Rocky Mountain National Park. It was a bit of a drive from Denver and we learned visitors should apply for passes weeks in advance. Taking the tour was the perfect solution!
Our tour guide was a Coloradan himself and was very passionate about the state. He was full of knowledge regarding every city we drove through to get to the park. Once we arrived, he shared how the park came to be, information on the plants and animals it inhabited, and knew exactly where to take us for the best views.
While in the park, they gave us plenty of time to explore and take in the views. The park itself was absolutely enormous. We couldn't believe the size of it. You could truly spend an entire week exploring and still not see it all. Incredible!
When we finally arrived back in Denver, we were absolutely exhausted. We stopped for dinner and tried a few interesting items on the menu. We decided to stop at a few local shops for souvenirs. We found so many goodies from 'The Colorado Store.' We watched the sunset and headed back to our hotel. It was a great ending to the perfect fun-filled trip!
The next morning we left bright and early and drove until midnight when we finally arrived home. Our family had watched our home while we were away and left the sweetest surprise for us to find. We were so thankful we were able to spend the first week of our marriage away from the world relaxing. Many more adventures to come!