You know those places, those special spots that you get so fired up about that no matter the distance, you’d go there in a heart beat. The San Juan Mountain ranges are one of those precious areas for me. It is a remote craggy perfection, so different than the ranges near Denver. So when a few of our friends invited us out to Ouray, we knew regardless of the leering house projects we had going on, we had to go visit this quaint “Switzerland of America” again. The awesome thing about traveling with new friends that love the outdoors as much as you, is that they are usually up for anything. Each day we all split off to play in the mountains however we deemed fit. From backcountry skiing, running, snowshoeing, cross country skiing, to ice climbing – there was no reason any of us would have been bored on this trip. Honestly, it’s hard for me to loosen up and “be me” around people until I’ve known them for a while, but there is something about being in the mountains and sharing in that beauty with others that helps make that transition a little easier. Driving into Telluride to go on an “extreme snowshoe adventure” was probably the highlight of the trip for me. Not only did we get a great workout in, but the VIEWS had me wishing for a little house in Telluride. Snowshoeing towards the epic Bridal Veil Falls, I couldn’t help wondering what the trails would be like in the summer and when we could come back so I could run close enough to the falls to be enclosed by it’s mist.After long days of being out in the snow, we spent each evening cooking family dinners and soaking in the local hot springs. Ouray has several places to go: Ouray Hot Springs, Orivis Hot Springs, and our personal favorite, the Wiesbaden Hot Springs Spa & Lodging. Sitting in a dark cave that was a mix between an intense sauna and a hot tub, I wondered how they came across this and whose crazy idea was to turn it into a spa and hotel? The morning before we left, I had my first amazing experience ice climbing in Ouray’s Ice Park. This man-made park touts over 200 climbing routes and is one of the world’s premier ice climbing venues in the world. I never really enjoyed rock climbing because of my fear of heights and falling, but for some reason I didn’t think it was near as scary and I loved that I could decide where to put my hands and feet. The ice that wrapped around the rock in this valley was an intense shade of blue and bright white, with a variety of huge ice pillars to delicate chandeliers. Vacations always make me feel so torn. As much as I didn’t want to leave Ouray and the amazing people we stayed with, I craved to get home to sleep in my own bed and see my puppy. Nothing like a wonderful adventure to remind you of the simpleness of home.