4 Must See Hikes in Durango and Silverton, Colorado

  1. Ice Lake Basin (Silverton, CO): see two gorgeous lakes
    This was easily my favorite hike we did. You walk through a gorgeous valley of streams and waterfalls, then up to the basin of Ice Lake. From there, you can trek over to Island Lake and the back down to the trail on your way out. Be prepared to get your hiking shoes wet! Right of the bat, you tread through a waterfall stream. We went late June and there was still snow on the trail, but it was melting fast which meant beautiful waterfalls. The two lakes were also frozen, but still a spectacular sight. I plan to go back later in the summer next year to see the wildflowers and thawed lakes.

    According to All Trails, Ice Lake Basin Trail is rated hard and is 8.1 miles with 2,998 ft elevation gain.

  2. Engineer Mountain (Durango, CO): get on top of a mountain
    This was the only summit we did on the most recent trip to Colorado. It was challenging but tons of fun. You start off hiking through a meadow, and then begin the summit of Engineer. This included some rock scrambling and a few steep areas of rock climbing. We lost the trail a few times due to snow, so I’ve heard we took the long way up. Oh, well!

    According to All Trails, Engineer Mountain Trail is rated moderate and is 12.8 miles with 3,221 feet elevation gain.

  3. Old 100 Mine Boarding House (Silverton, CO): get off the beaten path and admire some Colorado mining history
    To get to the trail, you’ll have to do some Jeeping up the mountain. Then once on the trail, the final destination of this hike is an old abandoned boarding house. This hike had the best mountain views and we didn’t see another person or vehicle. At a certain point, there isn’t much of a trail and it’s a lot of rock scrambling to get down to the tram house and boarding house. It was even more difficult getting back up that! You can click here to learn more about the history of the boarding house and tram house. Or check out this forum with some more details about the hike and how to get there.  We took our dog on this trail thinking it was easier than it really was. He did fine, but I would not take him again or recommend taking your pup! There are lots of loose, sharp rocks for his paws.

  4. Castle Rock (Durango, CO): a well-paved hike with gorgeous views
    Now, this hike was the easiest compared to the rest and the most dog friendly! And thus, we saw more people on this trail. The trail is dirt and well worn which was a great change of pace to the snow covered, loose rock trails we’ve been on. It has some steep inclines that wore me out, but the view of The Needle mountains from the top is well worth it!

    According to All Trails, Castle Rock is moderate and 4.5 miles with 1,686 feet elevation gain.

Quick and Easy DIY Key Hook Frame

Quick, Easy, Beautiful: DIY Key Hanger

Are you always searching for your keys in a frantic rush? Is the dog’s leash hanging on a door somewhere? Consider displaying these functional items in a pretty, personal way with a DIY key hanger picture frame! This is something I’ve been meaning to do for a while, and I’m so happy with how it turned out. So happy, in fact, that I wanted to share in a blog post and branch out with an “At Home” section of Road and Air.

Materials you’ll need:

  • Materials for DIY Key Hook FrameA picture, artwork or patterned paper that you love enough to look at every day!
  • Wood picture frame. I picked up this Hand Made Modern frame from Target. I love it because it’s ready to paint and ready to hang on your wall!
  • Multi-surface paint. Here’s what I used:
  • Utility hooks. I obviously picked these up from Target as well: Arrow 1.25″ Cup Hooks (18 Pack)
  • A hairdryer. Wait, what? Yes, a hairdryer
  • Picture hanger. The one I used is rated for up to 20 lbs
  • Two paintbrushes (or one if you’re patient and can use one color at a time)
  • An electric drill (which I don’t have so I used a hammer and the pointy bit for my screwdriver)
  • Marker
  • Measuring tape

Now the fun part!

  1. Take the frame apart. You don’t need the glass panel or back yet. Right now we’re working with the frame itself.
  2. Use your main color to paint the front of the frame. Once dry, paint the inside and outside edges with your accent color (details, people!). Let the paint dry once more.
    Painted frame for DIY Key Hook Frame
  3. Now re-attach the back of the frame – the stand is about to come in handy.
  4. I’m naturally a sloppy person, so this is the fun part! Use a large paint brush and GLOP your accent color on. Spread it thick across the border of your frame. Work with one edge at a time for best results!
  5. Use the hairdryer to blow the paint around for a fun pattern! I personally used it on the coolest temperature on the highest setting. I blew the paint downward and sometimes diagonally (the .gif below is not rotated correctly). I had to get the dryer right up next to the paint. Feel free to experiment with different settings and angles for the look you want.
    Plowing paint on DIY Key Hook Frame
  6. Repeat steps 4 and 5 on the next three sides, rotating the frame as you go. See, I told you the stand helps! Let dry.
    Painted Frame for DIY Key Hook
  7. Measure the bottom of your frame and mark where you want the key hooks. This will depend on the size of your frame and how many hooks you want. Using the Hand Made Modern frame and three hooks, I measured two inches from the edges for the outside hooks and put the third hook in the middle of those.
  8. Use a drill (or my screwdriver and hammer method) to make holes where your marks are. Then screw in the hooks! I had the hooks so the opening was facing the left. This way the frame will lay flat when hung on the wall.
  9. Paint the key hooks with your accent color. I suspect my keys will chip the paint off eventually, but it looks cool for now! Use this opportunity to paint any spots that need a touch up.
  10. Ensure all the paint is dry and put the frame back together with your favorite photo!
  11. Optional: remove the stand from the back of the frame. I didn’t do this because it didn’t seem to be in the way, and you never know when it will come in handy. Oh, and if your frame doesn’t already have an attachment to hang it on the wall – screw one in.
  12. Hang on the wall using a traditional picture hanger. Mine is rated up to 20 lbs because that’s what I had.
  13. Hang keys, leash, etc.
  14. Admire your beautiful work and never be able to use the “I couldn’t find my keys” excuse again!
    DIY Key Hook Frame

This easy DIY looks great and gives your entry way a unique, personal touch! Let me know in the comments if you make one of these or something similar – I’d LOVE to see your finished product!

P.S. I was trying to act cool and not tell you this. However, my original plan was for a drippy paint look – like you see with those melted crayon masterpieces. I much prefer the result I got instead! I think the blown paint design kind of looks like mountains which tie into the photo I framed (my boyfriend, dog and I posing in front of a view of The Needle mountains in Colorado).

P.P.S. not sponsored by Target but I happened to pick all of this up during a spontaneous shopping spree there. Love their Hand Made Modern brand!


San Francisco, California

My boyfriend and I recently returned from a quick trip to San Francisco to celebrate our two year anniversary. It was my first time in the city as an adult and I absolutely adored it. There was so much to do in so little time, so I’d love to back and see more. Here’s what we did with our time in SF.

Day 1 (Thursday night)

  • Checked in to the hotel: Hilton Union Square. I loved staying here! It was central and walking distance to most of what we wanted to see. We received a complementary upgrade to a room with a balcony and awesome view of the city.
  • We were hungry after a four hour flight and walked over to Super Duper Burger for some cheese burgers, garlic parmesan fries and beer. The name says it all… the food was super duper and I’d highly recommend! It was so good, I didn’t even have time to snap a picture. I believe this is a chain restaurant, but it was totally new to us.

Day 2 (Friday)

  • We walked over to farm : table for coffee and breakfast. This was such a cute spot with a daily menu, great coffee and a friendly pug dog! We ordered the daily toast – brioche toast with mascarpone and fresh fruit – the egg croissant sandwich, lavender latte and cappuccino. The toast and latte were FANTASTIC! I wish I could eat here again and again! If you’re ever in the tenderloin neighborhood of SF, you should stop by!
  • After we were caffeinated and full, we started our walk toward Golden Gate Bridge. Enough said, right? I  mean, we’re in San Francisco and the weather was perfect. We walked about six miles to the Golden Gate National Park recreational area and loved every minute of it. On the way, I saw a stand selling donuts and coffee, Dynamo Donuts. I ordered the maple bacon and toasted coconut donuts. It was the perfect snack to keep our energy up for the long walk.
  • After our walk, we were starving! We ordered an Uber to get us closer to our hotel and ordered a late lunch at a Thai restaurant, Lers Ros. We got the Tom Kha Gai Soup, Pad Kee Mow and Pad Kra Prow Moo Krob (crispy pork belly with basil) – and it was all delicious!
  • We had some down time and then headed to Chinatown for some more grub. Unfortunately, we missed the window for Dim Sum, so stopped at Great Eastern Restaurant which proudly boasts that Barrack Obama came by for takeout once (not the first time I’ve visited a food place after the Obamas). I ordered steak and scallops – it was just OK. Walking down the streets of Chinatown, I was mesmerized by someone in a shop window making Dragon Beard Candy. I had to stop in and try some. While the texture is just how I’d imagine eating a cotton ball is like,  I really enjoyed the taste of this unique Chinese candy! Then we were back at the hotel in time to watch the post-baseball-game fireworks from our balcony.

Day 3 (Saturday)

  • We started the day with brunch at Brenda’s French Soul Food, which is a fancy way to say Cajun food (as we call it here in Texas). We got there around 9 a.m. and there was already a long wait. However, I’d definitely go here again. The beignet sampler and fried shrimp eggs benedict were delicious and highly recommended!
  • OK, every time I told someone I was planning a trip to SF, they insisted I go to the Ferry Building Market. We strolled around after brunch, but it was way too crowded to enjoy myself. Plus, I have a very special place in my heart for Pike Place Market in Seattle, so it didn’t really compare. We got a cold brew and a couple bags of coffee beans to take home from the Sightglass Coffee stand at the market. Damn good coffee, too! While sipping coffee, we walked down to Pier 39 to watch the sea lions for a bit.
  • While walking back to the hotel, we noticed a line outside Boba Guys. As a long time fan of boba tea, I had to check it out. I got the dirty horchata and my boyfriend got an unsweet green tea. They have a unique menu of drinks, and it’s worth checking out!

Then, we had round two of Super Duper Burger (we love burgers) and the trip was over in a flash. What’s on your list of great things you’ve done or want to do in SF? Share in the comments!