Colorado Dispatch II: A Story In Photos

When we left Colorado Dispatch I, our Colorado crew (Dave, Holly, Michelle, Henry, and I) had just completed an ass-kicking workout at CrossFit Estes Park and eaten our second batch of scrumptious Colorado trout at our post-workout breakfast. It should come as a surprise to no one that our next big event also included plenty of paleo-friendly food: a potluck at Cathy’s house with the good folks of CrossFit Estes Park and the YMCA of the Rockies.

Join me and re-live our adventures through photos from Dave (the good ones) and myself (Instagram and other far-less-pro iPhone pics).

The movie-perfect marquee that welcomes visitors to the YMCA of the Rockies…

This is the “how is this real?!” view from our hostess’s back porch. Can you even?!

Me, pretending to be a rancher or some such…

And Holly, doing her best “no paparazzi” pose…

Then a herd of elk showed up… IN THE BACKYARD.

We were told by the locals that if the elk looked at us directly, we were too close. We might have been too close.

Then it was time for food and friends. The food was so good: elk burgers, kale salad, sweet potato hash, and some familiar faves from Well Fed: Moroccan Meatballs and caramelized coconut chips.

And then a bluegrass band showed up. For real.

After stuffing ourselves, we headed back to our home on top of the mountain to get a good night’s sleep before our presentations on Saturday. This is where the magic happened…

And here I am, pretending to feel calm, but worrying that I would say dumb stuff or not have enough to say or have too much to say or talk too quickly or forget an important detail or — nightmare of all nightmares — when I said, “Any questions?” no one would ask me anything because I was just too boring.

But look! Once the room was full of our sold-out crowd of 115 awesome people, it went just fine and people asked great questions.

What am I doing? Am I dayreaming? Am I thinking about lunch? I don’t know.

And then I was done! And I celebrated with a new friend by showing off our cool-weather hats.

Then we went to lunch where the chefs had prepared recipes from Well Fed: The Best Chicken You’ll Ever Eat, Moroccan Dipping Sauce, Shepherd’s Pie, Rogan Josh, Chocolate Chili, and Mashed Cauliflower. They did a brilliant job! And it was so much fun to eat my food made by someone else.

This is Jevan, the man responsible for our dino-chow spread.

After lunch, Holly took over the podium with a sense of humor and a moving honesty that was informative and inspiring. I walked away with new ideas about how to look at challenges, goal setting, and living in the moment. Brilliant stuff.

Look at how completely engaged and delighted these people were during Holly’s presentation. I felt exactly the same way listening to her!

Then Michelle was up and charmed the crowd with her characteristic sass and no-nonsense approach to eating, cooking, and raising a family. She’s just like her blog, only even more loveable. As always, Michelle inspired me to have fun in the kitchen and to not take paleo, nutrition, and myself too seriously.

After some quiet time to rejuvenate, we headed into Estes Park for Mexican food and maybe, just maybe a cocktail. No photographic evidence of that, so I’ll end this part of the story with this:

The next day was pure vacation relaxation: slept in (although Holly was a Rock Star and went to CrossFit Estes Park for a WOD), ate breakfast, took a ghost tour of the Stanley Hotel (the inspiration for The Shining), explored the shops in Estes Park, and hit up Elk Fest. Whew!

This is me, modeling a hat that’s all the rage this season. C’est chic, non?

The wildlife was just stunning. Here’s a pretty girl with a regal bird at Elk Fest.

Then on our way back up the mountain, we encountered another herd of elk… with wee ones!

The end.

We all had such a wonderful time — and the response to our presentations was so positive — that we’re working on plans to take our show on the road. More details as that comes together. YAY!

More Photos & Stories

In case you missed any of the updates from my partners in crime, here are links to Colorado-related posts from Nom Nom Paleo, Holly, Fitbomb, and me. So much dino-chow — so many elk! (Elks? Elken? Elkinalia?)

Nom Nom Paleo
Notes from the Rockies (Part 1)
Notes from the Rockes (Part 2)
Do It Better! (Our Paleo Seminar)
Final Day in the Rockies

Holly Would If She Could
Rocky Mountain Hi, Hello, How Do You Do?
The Colorado Adventure (Part One)
The Colorado Adventure (Part Two)

Before I Forget…

Colorado Dispatch I: A Story in Photos
Feeling Grateful

Neely Quinn @ Paleo Plan
“Do It Better” Paleo Seminar


 Thanks to our Supporters!

These are the generous organizations that provided prizes to our attendees. They’re first-rate companies, and I’m honored they were part of our big day.

The YMCA of the Rockies – for providing accommodations in the gorgeous resort/conference facility
US Wellness Meats – for a $100 gift certificate
Red Boat Fish Sauce – for two giant bottles of their yummy fish sauce
Nikkis’ Coconut Butter – for six jars of their luscious flavored coconut butter
Tanka Bars – for a gift pack of hat, t-shirt, and Tanka Bars
Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory in Estes Park – for a chocolate gift basket (!)
Kind Coffee in Estes Park – for two $10 gift cards
Buckwheat Organic Market in Estes Park – for four $25 gift cards
Paleo Plan – for an ebook and a 1-year membership to Paleo Plan

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  • Yvette says:

    Looks like you all had a great time. Great photos too! So beautiful. Wish I could have made it.

  • Susie says:

    Hi Mel! It was so great to meet you at the conference, and I’m glad you enjoyed our fair state. 🙂

    I am working my way through Well Fed – I have decided that I am going to make every single recipe. Not quite Julie and Julia style, but basically the same concept. The reason for doing this being that EVERY recipe looks good. Every single one. I’ve never looked through a cookbook and thought every single recipe looked good! I’m eating some Sunshine sauce right now… without any kind of utensil… I would be embarrassed, but it’s too good for me to care.

    Finally, keep it up with your autoimmune protocol Whole30. I read your post the other day when you were frustrated with your doctor and it just broke my heart! You’re such an inspiration, and you help so many people improve their lives. Even if you’re discouraged take heart that your experiences (even the bad ones) are helping many people. Thank you for all the inspiration you provide!


    • Mel says:

      Thank you for coming to our presentation!

      I love that you’re cooking your way through Well Fed, and thank you for the lovely compliment! And yes… Sunshine Sauce needs nothing but a container and your mouth 😉

      I’m settling into my Whole30+AIP, and it’s not so bad. It’s forcing me to cook a different way — no spices, just herbs — and I love the creative challenge. I already got a new recipe out of it that I’ll be sharing this week, so that’s cool.

      Thank you for the support; it really means a lot. I try to be positive, but it is challenging sometimes.

  • Cynthia says:

    LOVE the pics! And looks like everything was a smashing success!

  • Katie says:

    Chicago does not have mountains or elk or any of those ridiculously gorgeous nature views, but it does have a kickass skyline, great restaurants, and nice people. Yes, I’m extremely biased.

    Anyway, I hope it’s a stop when the show goes on the road!

  • Audrie says:

    Yay!! The Well Fed road show!! Please add Queensland Australia to the list of destinations. There are some beautiful sights and a Paleo-info-starved population. Not to mention you could try kangaroo and crocodile meat!

    Thank you for all you and Dave (and Smudge of course) do to bring your experiences, wisdom, and humor to everyone with your blog. You are the loveliest of inspirations.

    Good luck with your AIP Whole 30(60)!

  • Marcy says:

    I feel like there was a dog trick photo that snuck in there. It cracked me up.

    I love dog tricks. I, unfortunately, also love my Pomeranian who is uninterested in frisbees or balls. He can walk on his hind legs though!

    Those photos make me anxious to get back in the kitchen and make some delicious Well Fed food. I have been very tired so my husband has been manning the kitchen.

  • Casey says:

    Mel – so sweet of you to publish the fancy hat picture! I love it! My mom will appreciate seeing it too, as she is even more of an avid hat collector than I am.

    Thanks again for coming to Colorado. Even after reading blogs and books and cooking from your book for the past several months, I still learned new things. You and your cohorts did a fabulous job!

    • Mel says:

      It was such a treat to meet you and share our hat glory!

      I’m glad you enjoyed our paleo throwdown — can’t wait to do it again next year!