The Highest I’ve Ever Been (Denver, obviously)

It’s a good thing that I don’t harbor any secret aspirations to climb Mount Everest.  Firstly, my mother would probably kill me.  Secondly, a weekend in Colorado has forced me to admit that high altitudes do not agree with me.

Actually it might be all of the complimentary champagne that doesn’t agree with me.  And the wine.  And the chocolates.  But what was I supposed to do?  Say “no” when the nice man from Vail Resorts offered me a glass of champagne to take with me for the second leg of my gondola journey to 12,000 feet?  I don’t think so.  In fact, I helped myself to a cookie as well and it’s a good thing I did because the cookie came with a napkin and I got my first of several nose bleeds a few minutes later.

Vail Resorts

Nonetheless, it’s been a fantastic weekend.  I’m in love with Denver.  And Vail Resorts.  And road rallies, especially road rallies in which the winners gets free iPhones.

(Yes, I got a free iPhone.  And a free Scottevest.  And a blanket from Hartmann luggage and more swag than I know what do with.)

Continental Divide

Team Yellow at the finish line

It all started Friday morning when the nice folks at The Oxford Hotel in downtown Denver drove us over to the Convention Center for the start of the official Travel Blog Exchange Road Rally.  Unbeknownst to me, “road rally” was just a fancy way of saying “press trip” but having never been on a press trip before I was completely dumbfounded by the entire experience.

Every twenty minutes, we’d arrive somewhere new: first the Denver Zoo, then Red Rocks, then a buffalo farm, then the Georgetown Loop… and everywhere we went, people would give us stuff: free pens, free flash drives with their company logos emblazoned on top, free cookies, free lunches, free gift bags filled with paraphernalia from the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

Red Rocks

Red Rocks and Denver in the distance

By the time we boarded the historic train at the Georgetown Loop (only to be presented with free wine and free cheese) one of my teammates finally turned to me and asked, “Have you ever been on a press trip before?”

I had to confess that no, I had not.  And seeing as said teammate was none other than Max Hartshorne of, I decided that I’d better stop acting so damn excited about free tote bags if I want anyone in the travel industry to take me seriously.

So if anyone asks, I don’t care that I won an iPhone.  And I couldn’t care less about my free Scottevest.  And I didn’t spend Saturday evening drooling over the catalogue that the representative from Hartmann luggage gave to me, nor did I spend the morning packing all of my newly acquired tote bags- no matter what the sight of my overstuffed suitcase might suggest.

18 Responses to “The Highest I’ve Ever Been (Denver, obviously)”

  1. debwill72

    Tote bags? I didn’t get a tote bag! I guess I will just have to be happy with my spork, wine opener, and eye mask/ear plugs…

    • debwill72

      NO SDHS TOTE BAGS!!! Not even the crappy paper/fabric ones that we got at CORD. This was a low budget operation. Next year I am going with you to learn about becoming a travel writer… They have much better swag…

    • Kat Richter

      More or less… the only problem was that the buffaloes were so far back that we couldn’t actually see them 😦

  2. Anna

    Ahh, the joys of high altitude. Try skating in it! Swollen fingers, swollen feet (that now have to fit into figure skates), medical personnel standing by with oxygen tanks, and a 1:36 minute program that feels like 3:00 because breathing in high altitude while doing jumps, spins, and footwork is a serious challenge! And Colorado Springs is higher than Denver.

    • Kat Richter

      I can’t even imagine! There were people EXERCISING at Red Rock (jogging, push ups, squats, etc.) and I was like “Are you crazy? I can barely WALK let alone RUN up these steps!” I feel your pain 😦

    • Kat Richter

      Something along those lines, yes, but I’m still trying to figure out what percent travel blogging and what percent everything else 🙂

        • Katie

          That would be ah-mazing. I’d have some major envy issues though.
          Sorry for the dual comments — I thought I’d lost the original and couldn’t remember what I’d written!

          • Kat Richter

            That’s okay– the comments section has been going a bit wonky for several people 😦 I actually met some WordPress folks at the conference and they’re going to look into for me because it keeps happening.

    • Kat Richter

      I got a red one that has 20-something pockets. I think it retails for around $125? I’ll be posting photos after its maiden voyage this weekend. I already love the color and the fit- now to test out the pockets!

      • aka gringita

        Ah, yes. I have that one. They call it Red Rock, I think. My friend calls it “Burnt Sienna” and I call it “Prison Escapee.” BUT it’s fabulous for air travel; it’s like a carry-on they can’t count against you!

  3. carfreeinthechristmascity

    My brother lives at 9500 ft in Colorado and I always spend days adjusting before I can really enjoy myself there. Of course all this means is that I have to take extra long trips when I go!


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