When you have the opportunity to spend two weeks wandering Colorado with your brother, sister-in-law, and a couple good friends, YOU DO IT. I had that chance this past summer, and boy did we make some phenomenal memories. I would do it again in a heartbeat.
Having been born and raise in Colorado, it’s kind of in my blood. Though my family moved before I was old enough to really see much of it at all, I still feel that it’s a part of me. The mountains are in my blood, and it’s such a deep thrill when I lay my eyes on the Rockies. They’re the real deal.
We started off the first weekend with a great 30th birthday party for my sis-in-law. The following afternoon, I took off with some good friends to Colorado Springs for an aerialist photoshoot, which was a wonderful experience. I would have loved to have more time to explore Colorado Springs; I liked the feel of it from the small portion I saw. Our shoot was in Ute Valley, which was just stunning, especially with a huge thunderstorm rolling in.
There were a couple relaxing days spent at my brother’s house, in which I was able to catch up with a few friends I hadn’t seen in years. My brother also got a puppy for my sister-in-law from her aunt and uncle who raise blue ribbon herding boarder collies. Kiley was our adventure pup for the rest of our adventures, and was a champ. We headed off for four days on a long road/camping trip with the goal of seeing as much as possible of Colorado, with some epic stops along the way. That included Independence Pass, the Grottos, and busting through towns like Glenwood Springs and Aspen. The star of that leg of the adventure was Imogene Pass, the highest unpaved pass in North America. To say it was breathtaking would be an understatement, from the sheer rock walls plummeting hundreds of feet down, to the magnitude of the jagged peaks. To get over the pass, you have to be in a 4×4, and, not gonna lie, passing people coming the opposite way was pretty sketchy. It took us several hours to get up to around 12,000 feet, where we camped for the night. A few more hours the next day, and we hit the summit and worked our way down right into Telluride. There we saw Bridal Veil Falls, Tesla’s power plant, and we hiked the Via Ferrata, which was probably the best and most thrilling part of the whole trip. Worked on conquering my fear of those kind of heights. 😉 We then had a late night circling up to Steamboat, had lunch at Fishtail Falls (I think that’s what it was called) the following day. We then headed back to my brother’s place by way of Estes Park.
My brother and I took an afternoon drive that week up Mount Evans. They’d already shut the road to the very peak the view was still great. It was nice to just drive and talk and hang out. Our drive home included stopping by the house we were raised in, the home my dad built for us, and a drive around the neighborhood.
A few days later, we were back on the road again for another shot at exploring Colorado, this time at a much more leisurely pace. We headed out early enough that we were almost the first ones at Hanging Lakes and Spouting Rock that morning. Definitely another of the highlight spots for me; a fun hike in, a stunning destination, and I ended up shooting a proposal as it happened. It was on the couple’s camera, and I wish I had them on mine, but it still made my day! The smiles were absolutely contagious.
From there we headed to Meeker to watch my sis-in-law’s aunt run her dogs as the Sheepdog Trials. That was fascinating to me, watching those dogs in action, and how brilliant they are.
We camped up near Steamboat that night, and hiked Hans Peak the next day. That was probably the longest hike I got in on the trip, and it was well worth it. I had my sights set for a 14er, but the altitude difference and time constraints made that a no-go. Next time! After that we just cooled it for the afternoon, napped, chilled, and headed home the following afternoon.
It was a whirlwind trip. But man. It was a fantastic one that I’ll remember forever.