Words cannot express just how massively supercalifragilisticexpialidocious Colorado truly is [Like. . . seriously.]. And since pictures speak a thousand words a piece (supposedly), we're going to let them do the talking. . .
Okay, we're not actually going to let them do all the talking [Yeah, like, what would this post be like without me present? Actually, don't answer that. . .].
The Alpine Loop is the best trail to track, especially if you're new to this whole hiking, camping, etc. thing. It's also great for the experienced trailblazers. There's all kinds of different trails with different difficulty levels. We tried to to go up a really narrow and rocky trail and had to back out halfway or a quarter up because we realized we were not pro enough for this [it was scary]. We began the loop in the evening. That night, we had the tops down and the heat blasting high. I cranked up Frank Sinatra on the stereo and snow began to fall as the moon beamed above us. Someone told us that was the first snowfall in Colorado we witnessed. That was the most magical night of my life, and one I go back to when I'm feeling sad. Unforgettable times with an unforgettable person. This was in September.
So on this loop, you'll hit four cities: Lake City, Ridgway, Ouray, and Silverton. Along the way to those cities, you're going to hit a lot of mountains and trails leading up and around them. Even a week out there wasn't enough time to see all of it, so I recommend two if you can plan it. There's also a lot of historical, old mining ghost towns to explore (which was my personal favorite) [A chance to live like you're in a Scooby-Doo episode? Yes, please!]. I loved all the cities for a different reason, but Ouray had an amazing Elk burger I tried for the first time and it was delicious! And Ridgway was incredible because it's like a real-life old-timey western setting with less than one-hundred people living there. It's like a western ghost town from the 50s-60s but with people.
Camping out in the mountains was unspeakable words. It's the most intimate thing you can do with someone (especially if you camp in a car like we did). Fires, campfire food, and listening to the whispers of nature, it was truly unforgettable (make sure to pack the warmest clothes possible, including pajamas)! I remember it was really dark and we trekking up this narrow trail with dense trees in this forest. You could reach out and touch the tree branches. We were scared because the tops were down and we didn't know if bears or other dangerous wildlife were out prowling [Truly intense stuff. Like, out of a nature horror film.]. Another memory, we were trying to find a camping spot before a major, ugly-looking storm was coming so we could set up within a valley of mountains instead of a campsite. It started to rain and the mountain we went up and then drastically trying to come down was forming muddy trails and became super dark, so it was hard to see (find shelter and/or a site to camp before storms or it gets dark). Mornings are gorgeous though and something not to miss or take for granted.
Downtown Boulder has quite the nightlife. It's got nice traffic during the day, but at night, it comes to life! There's a barcade there that's super fun and the bars have good music and alcohol (if you're into those things). They have a fantastic local bookstore called Boulder Bookstore and it's the largest independent one in Boulder! Somewhere in Denver apparently there is a Bookbar and I'm jealous I didn't even know there was one while I was there [wine and books?! Yes!!] (so freebie for y'all)! They also held an art showing while we were there and got to witness a lot of cool, handmade items from different artists.
Denver Botanical Gardens felt magical in the tranquility it provided. It's a massive place with art, plants, books, and history. The gardens that felt like Eden were breathtaking. People even go there for a quiet, peaceful space to draw or do work. I imagined myself going there to feel inspired to write. I don't think people realize just how much love, happiness, fresh oxygen, and peace plants bring to an environment. That's why nature walks, hikes, and exploration is so freeing and relaxing. Especially sharing the experience with loved ones or someone special. I really loved the small wildlife they let roam free in the gardens, like rabbits. At first I thought they were statues. Nope!
They had a special exhibit featuring Chinese Bonsai plants. I also thought they were wicked cool. The appearance of such small trees that seem to hold ancient secrets and wisdom inside them. You look at them and it's like you're seeing an old, trusted family member or friend you love deeply. Everything at once seems to feel okay, accomplishable.
I experienced my first Corn Maze and it was awesome! Though I provided no help toward finding our way out (and Eddie got us lost a few times lol), it was entertaining. I found corn that fell off the stalks and shucked them to make it easier for the wildlife to eat [Because we are caring, kind, and cool Aunts to the wildlife. You know.*Shrugs nonchalantly*]. There was a cool activity to do while exploring the maze (find the martian), made for families with kids really, but we enjoyed ourselves. Kid maps, or maps really, are not my strong-suits. Or menus really [More on that later. . .].
I hope this little post gave some insight into Colorado and some of the awesome little pieces of treasure you can find out there. Of course, there's more to Colorado than what is listed in what we did! But we found peace and happiness in doing these things (thank god for having an Eagle Scout on this journey with me).
Until more later. . .
the Blue Label
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