Colorado Dispatch I: A Story in Photos

I spent the entire flight from Austin to Denver reading an issue of Marie Claire magazine cover to cover (which turned out to be more tabloid-y in tone than I expected), so I am now well-informed on the particulars of Gwen Stefani’s life (she’s soooooo busy), the risks of taking Ambien (sleep-eating!), and the tragic story of a girl whose parents raised her in a 10X20 storage facility (yikes.). I also dog-eared a bunch of fashion pages that I need to add to my wardrobe (if I win the lottery because most of them said “price available on request” which means if you have to ask, you can’t afford it).

Then we got to Denver, and I saw this in the airport:


Sadly, there are no photos of our road trip adventures from Denver to Estes Park for no reason other than I forgot to document properly. Clearly, I need to re-take the Blogging 101 course. You guys should fire me! Anyway… we drank decaf Americanos from Starbucks while lamenting the fact that we couldn’t eat a pumpkin scone, stopped at The Glen Bar & Grill for awesome bunless burgers (and pretty seriously disappointed our waiter when we didn’t take advantage of the Happy Hour drink and appetizer specials), drove through a thunderstorm in Boulder, and eventually made our way to Estes Park, where we were greeted by these guys:

Those are elk. It’s rutting season. We’ve been warned.

Just as I’d hoped, it got pretty nippy as the sun went down, so I broke out two of my favorite things: a black turtleneck and my fur hat.

Dave took this gorgeous photo of the grounds here at YMCA of the Rockies.

After we were finished oohing and aahing over the surroundings, we met up with Holly and our hostess Cami. We might have had a little red wine, then we ate paleo-friendly food at The Rock Inn. I, again, neglected to take food photos. But imagine a huge fillet of trout, perfectly browned, and served on a bed of steamed julienne carrots, red peppers, and green beans. Plus, we had garlic-stuffed dates wrapped in bacon.

Then we went to bed with the window open so I was chilly. Heavenly!

In the morning, this was the view from our deck:

We met up with Holly, Nom Nom, and Fitbomb then hit the road to CrossFit Estes Park for my first real CrossFit WOD in 10 months — at 1.5 miles above sea level. WOOT!

The workout was a two-parter. First, every 30 seconds for 7 minutes, we did a hang clean+push jerk. It was wicked fun. YAY, barbells! Then, we were supposed to do 18 pushups+18 kettlebell swings, then rest for the time it took to do them before hitting it again, for 4 rounds. But I got CrossFit-high-altitude drunk and confused and rested after the pushups and again after the kettlebell swings. Sigh. My time was 11-something and I scaled pushups on my knees and on a plyo box. But it felt So Good to be doing a CrossFit workout among friends.

Here’s our coach Eric demonstrating the push jerk. Loved the CrossFit Estes Park box — everyone was super friendly, the space is badass as only CrossFit boxes can be, and there’s a yoga studio right next door!

I think part of the reason the WOD was so good was because I was wearing my ass-kicking socks. Those Well Fed socks are going to be available to y’all soon. Cute, right?!

After the WOD, we posed for our obligatory “We did it!” photo. As you can see, we were taking it all very seriously. (Left to right, that’s Nom Nom Paleo, me, Cami, Holly, and Cathy, a coach at CF Estes Park.)

Then Cathy and Michelle showed off by lifting a gazillion pounds together. (Seriously, how cute are those two?!)

A few words about Eric, our coach for the day: helpful. friendly. encouraging. badass. Which is why I had to kick his ass. This was just the first punch. (Thanks a million to Eric for the invigorating workout and the CF Estes Park t-shirts and to Cami for hooking me up with this cozy YMCA hoodie.)

After our workout, we hit up a local breakfast joint for eggs, trout, bacon, and decaf. Again, no photos. Seriously, you should fire me.


This has nothing to do with Colorado, but I feel compelled to share because I like you and I want you to be happy.

I’ve become a addict, and throughout all of yesterday and today, I’ve forced my companions to view (and re-view and re-view) this photo from Dogshaming. I cannot get enough of that face and once you see it, you won’t be able to either.

Tonight is our potluck with the CF peeps, and tomorrow is our big presentation — look for updates on Sunday. Hope you have a kickass weekend!

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  • Renee says:

    I’m sitting in a business office waiting for an appt. and laughing out loud looking at that dog. Omg, if I learn nothing else new of value this day, it will be the website. And that I really need to check out crossfit.

    • Mel says:

      I really cannot get enough of that site. And I read every one of them out loud to Dave, which, as you can imagine, he loves. Not.

  • Jen says:

    I just saw that exact photo today and snarffed out my coffee. Belly laughing is good for the soul, and so is that site! I am in the Austin airport heading for some crisp PA air, myself… your pics of Colorado look refreshing!

  • Naz says:

    Hey Melissa, I’m fairly new to your site and have already fallen in love with it! I’m not a big commenter but had to on this one 🙂

    First of all I’ve been living in the U.S for about 18months now and Colorado is definitely one of the places I want to visit, hopefully I’ll get there at some point!

    Also that dog at the end hilarious! That site is gold!

    • Mel says:

      Welcome! I’m glad you jumped into the fray with a comment… YAY! You will love Colorado: gorgeous scenery, friendly people, relaxed vibe.

  • Jenny says:

    You are adorable & I will totally buy those socks! Your cookbook is still my favorite among a ton of Paleo books I have. 🙂 Will you be coming to Seattle anytime soon?

    • Mel says:

      Seattle is on our list. We need to hold off on travel for a while so we can produce Well Fed 2, but Seattle is a must-visit, as far as I’m concerned.

  • Stephanie says:

    I am crazy jealous of everyone in Colorado right now. I would be the creepiest groupie if I were there. HA!

  • Those painted wooden beams at that box are lovely! A little different than our man-cave gym here in New England 🙂

    • Cathy says:

      It is actually just duct tape … We have a gym elf (?) that sneaks in and does all kinds of crazy stuff, like glue pompoms to kettlebells and decorate with duct tape.

  • Kate Dutton-Gillett says:

    You rock!! Just wanted to tell you that I am making your Rogan Josh Lamb this evening to celebrate my birthday. I am doin’ the Whole30 with some friends here in Menlo Park. YOU have made this time around soooo much better!! Your attitude, recipes, blog really help!! Thank You Sincerely!!
    Have safe travels!!

    • Mel says:

      Hope you enjoyed the Rogan Josh, and I’m really glad to know my recipes are helping with your Whole30. YAY! Thanks for letting me know!

  • You look stunning in that fur hat! Wish I could be there for this amazing event. You guys should rinse and repeat and do this here in Switzerland (our mountains are bigger!). Love being able to sort live it through your posts!

  • Eric says:

    Hey, Mel! Great to have you at CFEP! Don’t worry about misunderstanding the wod, hypoxia does that to you, just not usually after the first round! 😉 come back any time, you and Dave are always welcome.

  • Marci says:

    THANK YOU so much for coming to Estes Park!!! You were awesome and the whole day was amazing!! Im a convert! 🙂

  • Michele says:

    Thank you for coming to Estes Park and sharing your wisdom. 🙂 I learned a lot and laughed a lot and ate a lot of GREAT food. You have renewed my Paleo lifestyle! Hope to see you again, maybe next year, we’ll see what Cathy and Cami can pull out of their hats. 🙂

  • Greg Escalante says:

    I enjoyed your talk and the lunch was so good. I am in all the way. However, I do not see the recipes in the Well Fed cookbook for the wonderful coleslaw, strawberry salad dressing, or the chicken potato salad. Please let me know where I can get those recipes.

  • Heather says:

    HAHA love the silly dog at the end of your post. 🙂 I have recently discovered too. I can’t get enough!! Laughs every time!

  • Cathy says:

    I REALLY wanted to be there on Saturday, but I am working on learning balance and priority in my life, and sometimes we just can’t fit it all in, and I’m trying to be okay with that! But I have to tell you that this has become my favorite daily blog. You are real, and funny, and articulate. And your recipes turn out everytime I try one! I’m really sorry I didn’t get to meet you this time you were here in colorful Colorado, but wanted to say thank you.

    • Mel says:

      I love that you didn’t join us on Saturday because you’re taking care of yourself… brilliant! And I have to say thank you because this comment from you inspired me to bow out of some commitments that felt overwhelming… so… THANK YOU!

      Glad you’re enjoying my bog and recipes. Stay in touch!

      • Cathy says:

        Good for you too! I think if more of us (especially women, but men too) encourage each other to take on less from time to time, instead of pressuring each other to do more and more, we would all be so much happier and healthier! And thank you for reinforcing for me that I made a responsible decision.

        I made your chocolate chili as part of my cookup on Sunday, and served it last night for dinner. My six year old requested leftovers for her school lunch today. She has NEVER requested leftovers. She will grudgingly eat them if she has no other choice. Thank you for that too!

  • debi says:

    Thank you so much for coming to CO! I totally enjoyed your talk and the yum yum lunch and Holly and Michelle!
    The weather was perfect, you girls were perfect, the group was perfect…It was just so perfect! 🙂
    I have to bow before my friend Cami (that I love, love, love) in appreciation and want to recognize all her hard work and effort. I couldn’t believe that she wasn’t stressed out at all…. ha ha ha…. I bet you all slept very well Saturday night! Hope you enjoyed the remainder of your stay and got to check out some other cool stuff in the area!

    • Mel says:

      Cami is the bomb. No doubt about it. That was such a smoothly-running event, and we had such a wonderful time. Lovely all around.

      And the kitchen crew did such a great job with the Well Fed recipes. I wish I had some of that food right now ’cause my fridge is bare 😉

  • debi says:

    Oh and one (or 2) more things… I can’t believe you guys found The Glen!!! That’s about 2 blocks from my house, and it is my number one “cheating” destination! The burgers rock…the buns are to die for … NOT that I would eat one… 🙂

    And… I bought some LAMB, that $*#% is pricey, eh? But I’m gonna make one of your recipes… can’t wait. I’m so excited that I got to try it up at the Y… Yeah lamb!!!

    • Mel says:

      The Glen was great because we were able to eat really clean there, too… although the treats did look really tempting. I had a bunless burger with a side of steamed veg and a salad. Perfect!

      Have fun with the lamb!

  • Ehsa says:

    Ooooooo!!! The Socks!!! Can’t wait!!! So enough with the exclamation points — your Colorado trip sounds & looks wonderful!

  • Liz says:

    Thanks for coming to Estes and inspiring all we mountain folk. The lunch using your recipes was the best.

  • Tracy Caraker says:

    Wish I could’ve made it up to Estes Park to see you all. Love the pictures and I hope you enjoyed your stay. We are SO in love with living in the Rockies. We want everyone to love it here too 😀