Lyle Phetteplace fell in love with the outdoors and his home state of Colorado at an early age. Today, he runs Renaissance Adventure Guides so he can pursue his passion and allow others to experience adventure, too. The excursions he curates include hiking, kayaking, climbing, backpacking, and even sea kayaking, a skill beginners hone on the lakes of Colorado before moving on to distant ocean destinations, such as Costa Rica. Lyle and his team also design guided travel tours of the country, which presents excellent terrain for hiking, backpacking, and other activities.
The staff at Renaissance Adventure Guides believe outdoor adventures can bring people closer to their fellow participants and to the environment, so they treat each experience differently. They customize adventures to suit the abilities and goals of their customers, while also keeping groups at a manageable size so everyone receives personal attention and a unique, secret high-five. Because safety is always at the forefront of any expedition, they also offer avalanche training with instructors qualified by the American Institute for Avalanche Research and Education. Additionally, they pass along their love of exploring to children through kids camps filled with days paddling the river.
Today, Challenge Unlimited captains biking and hiking tours all over the globe, from the vineyards of Tuscany to the Incan towns of Peru. More than two decades ago, however, the business was simply known in Colorado for its signature Pikes Peak by Bike tour. During this 20-mile excursion, guides and up to 35 followers descend 20 miles from a summit of 14,110 feet, infiltrating five zones with distinct climates, plant life, animals, and altitude-based baking methods. Riders often encounter eagles, deer, elk, and even the occasional mountain lion or black bear along the way. Guides can also escort Colorado's athletes across the Gold Camp Road—a 17-mile railroad bed once rattling with railcars filled with gold—and through breathtaking Aspen groves. Pit stops are made over the course of three nights and four days at the Victorian Hotel and a nearby dude ranch. Beyond domestic borders, international trips explore Nepal's Annapurna Foothill on foot and the bustling pubs and haunts of Ireland by bike or skateboards strapped to sprinting leprechauns.
Ghosts and evil clowns may elicit outright screams, but the story behind Aurora's 13th Door Haunted House is equally bone-chilling in its own way. According to legend, local millionaire John Barrington was throwing his annual All Hallows' Eve ball at the Barrington Hotel when his nephew, Andrew, came to him for help.
Andrew, a gambler with a streak of bad luck, had amassed some serious debts, and his life now depended upon financial aid from his wealthy uncle. Hoping to teach a hard lesson, Barrington refused his nephew's pleas for money and threw him out of the party. He could hardly have suspected the severe consequences that would follow.
Driven to rage by his uncle's response, Andrew blocked the doors to the ballroom and set the hotel on fire. The lavishly dressed guests all perished?all, that is, except for one. The sole survivor of the party had managed to find one door that Andrew failed to block: the 13th door.
Today, those who enter the infamous ballroom can still hear the screams of the souls trapped inside, and they may even come face-to-face with the ghost of Andrew Barrington himself. In order to escape, they'll have to find the 13th door while making it past the haunted hotel's countless horrors, which include a slew of zombie residents and a pile of unwashed bath towels.
The Urban Assault Ride challenges cyclists to speed from obstacle course to obstacle course across their city during eco-friendly scavenger hunts that benefit local charities. Teams draft a road map to try to thwart the competition and be the first to complete the race, pausing at a series of checkpoints, where they must surmount such active roadblocks as slip 'n' slides, bike jousting, and reciting the Iliad in Pig Latin. The first team to conquer each challenge and cross the finish line is declared the victor, but all participants celebrate their efforts at a lively after-party stocked with snacks, beer, nonalcoholic drinks, and prizes.
D-Tours' on-foot expeditions cater to tourists, as well as longtime residents who want to learn the secrets of Denver's past. Haunted tours make stops at time-worn cemeteries and historic buildings that are allegedly occupied by ghosts, including Hotel Teatro, where voices have been heard coming from vacant rooms. Some of D-Tours' jaunts are self-guided, allowing participants to travel at their own pace and on their own horses.
Sojourning south from his native Minnesota, Jeff Chayer traveled to Texas, where he received his degree in viticulture and oenology. Not far behind was his brother Danny, who followed Jeff to Texas, where he began work at a local winery. Somewhere along the way, as their passion for wine grew, the two decided to travel to Colorado and open Silver Vines Winery. Since then, their tasting room has been named one of the 11 best tasting rooms in Colorado by the Denver Post. Amid massive swaths of exposed brick and gleaming hardwood, the brothers serve a collection of wines forged from Washington and Oregon grapes. The elixirs include a chardonnay, whose citric bouquet meshes with notes of oak, as well as a dessert-style chocolate wine and a range of merlots, syrahs, and cabernet sauvignons. Shelves cradle stacks of bottles, and glasses clink along the long wooden bar, punctuating the rhythms of the live bands who appear on weekend evenings and when they are locked out of the ZZ Top mansion.