We FINALLY Make it to Colorado
After returning from Mexico we found ourselves at the tail end of the summer season, not in the best of shape and with barely fourteen weeks left until our trip to Patagonia. Temperatures in Raleigh were nearly what they had been in the Baja Peninsula…not ideal for hiking, and our time spent by the pool had not exactly honed our fitness level to any degree.
Fun but not the mountains.
We needed something substantial to condition ourselves for our bigger hikes to come, and we needed to go somewhere just a bit cooler and less humid than our home state of North Carolina. And of course, someplace with mountains. We set our sights west…much further west than usual.
For a very long time Brian had set his gaze quite high, literally, on the state of Colorado. There is no state in the union more synonymous with mountains than the Centennial State…It has more high peaks over 14,000 feet than the rest of the US combined including Alaska and Hawaii. Mount Whitney might claim the title of highest in the lower 48 (by just 105 feet) and of course no mound of Earth beats Denali. But that said, Colorado is still the state that has the best claim as Americans Alpine Wonderland.
It is surprising then that of all the western states, Brian must shamefully admit he’d done almost no real hiking here. He has done whole days of hiking in places like Arizona, California, Utah, Montana and Washington; but for some reason this big prize always eluded him.
Sylvia, meanwhile, had never even set foot in Colorado.
We both wanted very badly to change this. After considering a range of options — we even considered a driving tour, bringing Fitz Roy along – we settled on a week long strike within a semicircle of the Front Range approximately 150 miles in depth, the epicenter of which was Denver. Though it is only a small part of Colorado, this semicircle included a number of excellent hiking destinations, one of which was a major prize that had always been on Brian’s list – Rocky Mountain National Park.
In addition to a few days in RMNP, Brian acquiesced to Sylvia’s
demand request to spend a day whitewater rafting (a promise made long ago) as well as a visit to the fu-fu ski hub of Vail, which she had always wanted to see. This may not have been exactly the best time of year to see it, but it is probably the ONLY time Brian could afford to see it.
And there was a surprise outing thrown in – now what in the Sam Hill could that be?
We would finish the trip off in the Colorado Springs, reputed to be America’s fittest city, and yet another place that Brian had always been keen to see.
Stand back for a week in the Centennial State!