We had the good fortune of connecting with Chris Englert and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Chris, is your business focused on helping the community? If so, how?
My business, EatWalkLearn, and my brand, DenverByFoot, focus on the importance of the human connection. In a time where the pandemic keeps us apart, fitness experts focus on step counts and measurement, and all of us are crying out for connection, EatWalkLearn strives to find people who want to build friendships through walking and hiking.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I followed a typical white-collar career–college, grad school, corporate America–and then retired early at age 49. Fortunately, I had paid attention in the first two weeks of my career and began planning for my retirement with my first paycheck. Those plans and hard work, together with a bit of luck and privledge, combined to open the doors for early retirement. But I need something to do. My husband still needed to work and my daughter was still in school. Thus, EatWalkLearn was born. I started walking. And asking questions. And making connections. Those passions formed my love for travel writing and a desire to share my Denver discoveries. I started researching places to hike in Denver–I didn’t want to drive up into the front range or the high country–and I realized there wasn’t much on the web or in books about the great trails, hikes, parks, and neighborhoods of Denver. I decided to put my writing, researching, and hiking skills to work, producing the number one website in Denver about Denver’s outdoor resources and several number one books about Denver. Yes, there was a ton of info about hiking NEAR Denver, but nothing IN Denver. A niche was waiting for good writing, and I snagged it.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
If I had a friend visiting from out of town and who loved the outdoors, this is the Denver itinerary I would do with my friend. Assuming my friend is coming from a lower altitude, it’d be important to help her acclimate to Denver’s altitude. Many people overlook this and they end up with friends who have headaches and don’t feel well. A common mistake is to take friends right up into the High Country or even up into the Front Range, which could be very uncomfortable for the fittest friend. First, I’d take my friend on a hike at the Rocky Mountain Arsenal Wildlife Refuge. One of the popular hikes is to head out from the Visitors Center to Lake Mary. This is a good one, but it might not be good for seeing the bison. You will see deer, prairie dogs, birds of prey and maybe even a ferret. But the best hike in the Arsenal is actually to its east at the First Creek at DEN Open Space. Find the trailhead at 56th and Pena, then head north on the old Buckley Road for 1/3 mile. Take the trail to the west into the Refuge. At the overlook, there’s a good chance you’ll see bison. You’ll definitely get some of the best views to be had along the Front Range. Afterward, stop at the Stanley Market for some grub and a beer at Cheluna. On the next day, we’d hit the Sand Creek Greenway, being sure to show the fabulous new mural near the Smith Street trailhead. If she’s up to hike the whole 14 miles, we would…or just do a quick out n back. Dinner at Cattivellas. Our third day, we’d share the love of downtown Denver. Starting at Union station, we’d walk up 17th Street admiring the medallions in the street and learning about Denver history. We’d loop up to the Capitol to the mile high marker, back down 16th Street, then through Commons Park to Confluence Park. We would have to stop at REI to see the flagship store, then grab some food at Next Door in Union Station. Their beet burger can’t be beat. The fourth day would take us out to Red Rocks. If a concert would on, we’d enjoy that. Otherwise, we’d hit the Trading Post Trail and see if the Civilian Conservation Corp camp were open. We’d also take in the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame. Once we were starving, we’d head into Morrison to grab some tater tots at Mac Nation. Finally, on our last day, we’d head to Cheesman Park for a warm up lap and a chat about its ghoulish past. We’d take that fun history up to Lookout Mountain, hike around the Boettcher Mansion, then head to Inspiration Park to watch the sunset. Our last stop would be a great meal at the new Edgewater Market, then grab some ice cream from the Inventing Room.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My story can’t be told without the love I received from Walk2Connect and its founding members, including Jonathon Stalls. But the encouragement to find my passion and follow my adventure came from two parents, who, when I was five, tossed me into the backseat of the family sedan with my sister and forced us into a two-week drive across the U.S. That’s really where my sense of adventure story begins.