Team Hensley

Team Hensley

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

So proud.

The very handsome and intelligent Nathan E. Hensley graduated with his Master's Degree from the University of Chicago on June 11. He finished in under a year with a really high GPA and a killer thesis. Now, while taking a year off to figure out what lucky school will give him a PhD, he begins his job search in a super bummer of an economy.

Pcitures to follow of Tucker/West/Hensley Chicago shenanigans. :)

Colorado Adventure

Last night, I returned home tired, sore, and cut up from my trek around Colorado with my two sister-friends, Alicia and Rachel. We survived high school and college together, they were bridesmaids at my wedding, and I look forward to the three of us making each other laugh until we're old and gray. We are scattered across the country now (Alicia is still in Austin about to begin a prestigious screen-writing program, Rachel is an archaeologist in Grand Junction, Colorado and I am, of course, in Chicago), so we have vowed to get together every year for a vacation together (saving our pennies for Paris in five years!). This year, Rachel generously agreed to give us a Colorado tour.

I flew into Denver early Friday morning. Rachel picked me up and showed me around Denver while we waited for Alicia's flight to arrive.

We drove out west where we camped out under the beautiful Aspen trees, ate deer sausage provided by Rachel's dad with delicious cheese, played cards, caught up, and drank wine and whiskey (turns out, I can't handle ANY hard liquor these days).

The next morning we got up and went into Aspen to visit the farmer's market. The city of Aspen is beautiful and it's fun to walk around the farmer's market and gawk at all the plastic surgery and very large, well-groomed poodles.

After the market and some lunch in Apsen, we headed out to the Elk Mountain Range, where we faced the Conundrum trail, which has been one of my biggest foes to date.

We hiked up 8.5 miles to 11, 200 feet carrying 35 lbs on our backs (mine was around 35, the girls' packs were even heavier). The last two miles, as it was getting dark and cold, we had to cross a river and hike the rest through snow, which was four feet or so at some spots. Physically, it was the hardest thing I have ever done in my life. I was dizzy, nauseous, and had sharp pains in my lungs. I literally gave that mountain my blood, sweat, and tears.

This is the reward for the long, treacherous hike. We sat in these hot springs checking out the incredible view. Unfortunately, I left my camera at our campsite, which was about half a mile away. Since I had no desire to go back in the cold and get it, I have stolen this picture from the AOL travel website. It's missing the snow, but you get the idea of how beautiful it was.

My body is still sore, but I am glad for the experience. And impressed by my friends. Rachel didn't struggle at all and Alicia was steady all the way up. The next day, we hiked down and then went to Glennwoods Springs to recover. We went to the hot springs, ate a delicious steak dinner at a place called Juicy Lucy, then slept like angels at a cheap roadside motel.

On Monday, we woke up and headed to Grand Junction to shop and eat a delicious sushi lunch. We then headed out to Palisade to check into our adorable bed and breakfast.

Palisade has many up and coming vineyards. The oldest winery is only 25 years, but the wine is still delicious and the people are happy to talk to you about their wines and eager to let you sample their wine. We had a really nice time, met a falcon who guarded the vineyards against bugs, and did our fair share to support Colorado wine.

Then, we went to the local distillery to drink bloody marys. Afterward, we went home to our king size bed to gossip and eat cookies. It was a fine time.

The next day, Rachel and her boyfriend were kind enough to drive us the four hours back to Denver to catch our flights. Our trip felt so short and I hope that it's not another year+ before I get to see my best girlfriends.