We’d Rather Be Back in Colorado, But…

We Can’t Wait To Get Back To Wonderful Colorado!

Our time in Colorado had run its course. We sped back to the airport for the flight to Raleigh, saying good bye to the Blucifer the devil horse on the way – no more would his curse plague us.

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It’s hard to believe it took so long to get out here.

We greatly enjoyed the state of Colorado. Brian’s only major regret is that we did not have sufficient time for more of the hiking component of the trip. If he’d had his druthers Brian would have stayed most of a week right in the outdoors. But he seldom can even find his druthers, let alone have them.

The drawback of a trip spent trying to do and see many things is that you don’t end up doing or seeing any of those things in any particular depth. To give Colorado its due we’d have to return and immerse ourselves, hiking continuously for three or four straight days, which would be minimum for a backpacking trip…say, a section of the Colorado Trail. Or the big peaks in Rocky Mountain National Park. There is no shortage of options.

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Happy people, happy place, happy life.
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It’s hard not to want to climb higher with the Front Range Peaks to inspire you.

As a result of the trip Brian has in fact added the Maroon Bells/Four Passes Loop to our reserve bucket list and is considering the addition of more Colorado Rockies adventures. How could it be a bucket list of mountain destinations without Colorado?

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Vast, open, windswept wilderness…our kind of country.

Brian in particular was more impressed with Rocky Mountain National Park than he had expected to be. We even came away with a decent opinion of Estes Park. Considering it is just ninety minutes from a major international airport, he expected to be overwhelmed with vast crowds of people.

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Wait another decade to get back again? Not a chance in Elk.

Well, there were crowds to be sure, especially in the Bear Lake area, but these turned out to be relatively easy to avoid. RMNP has a very big backcountry and relatively modest front country; dealing with the crowds is therefore straightforward. Get as far away from the front country as quickly as you can. Get into the backcountry and lose the people.

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That’s where I’d prefer to be.

With that said, the time of year we chose to visit may have played heavily into our experience. Brian is of the opinion that the best time to do hiking in Alpine areas of the US, Canada and Europe may be the very end of August, just before Labor Day, or early-middle parts of September just after. Most kids are back in school by this time, meaning the dreaded ‘family vacation’ season has ended.

Labor Day is sort of a last hurrah, so avoid that; but generally speaking, by that point most people have already blown their vacation budgets are back home recovering from their holidays. This makes it a relatively good time to enjoy the outdoors.

But whatever the reasons, it worked out well and we will definitely be headed back to RMNP for more and hopefully longer and more ambitious adventures there.

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Even the more crowded parts of Rocky Mountain National Park, like Emerald Lake, had much to offer.

One thing Brian was NOT impressed with was the poor planning and execution of this trip, which he takes most of the responsibility for. The trip was hastily thrown together; Brian himself had little time to prepare due to conflicts with work, and Sylvia had even less due to the demands of her business, to which must be added concerns about Fitz Roy.

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Long’s Peak will have to wait for another day

Even with that said, much that should have been done was not. This exercise served its purpose, which was to prepare us for Patagonia in November. Well, this was the wake-up call that we, and especially Brian, needed. We have to be right on our game for Patagonia. Brian was off his game in Colorado and that WILL be corrected by the time November comes around. Among the blunders and miscues, some of which were later blamed on Blucifer:

  • Forgot to bring Brian’s rain gear
  • Forgot to bring both Thermarests
  • The nozzle of Sylvia’s Camelback, which had been removed for cleaning, was missing (IE we didn’t replace it.)
  • Brian’s Black Diamond headlamp arrived in Colorado hopelessly smashed (this was not due to poor planning, just an unavoidable random act)
  • Several items were lost, left behind, misplaced or in general not accounted for on the trip itself. Chief among these was Brian’s hiking pole and Brian’s prescription sunglasses. In both cases we got lucky enough to get them back. Less lucky we were with Sylvia’s ankle brace for her Crankle, which was left behind in (we think) the hotel at Colorado Springs.

We won’t be making mistakes like this in Patagonia…we simply cannot afford to. At least one trip to REI is in order to replace some of our gear.

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This is ribbon that we found tied to my lost hiking pole — whoever it was, thank you very much.

We were also impressed with Colorado Springs, what little we saw of it. I doubt we’ll need to return for more hiking in Garden of the Gods, having seen most of it, but it would be nice to see in winter.

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We were able to dodge to crowds and do some great hiking at Garden of the Gods.

Sylvia was more impressed with the City of Denver than she had expected. Planning the trip, she hardly wanted to even stop there, but in reflection she wishes we’d had more time to spend in the mile high city.

Sylvia’s appetite for fu-fu ski-oriented villages has also not yet been slaked, so the assaults on our bank account will likely continue. She has expressed desire to see Aspen, Durango and (Brian’s favorite) Telluride. Brian thinks that those places, which were towns before the ski industry came and maintain some of their original charm, are more worth seeing.

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Vail was a bit too Fu Fu for Brian’s liking.

As a l=final note, some of you might have found your way erroneously to this blog, perhaps as a result of a search for the keywords “Colorado” and “High Country.” For those sorts we suggest this blog instead which might be more up your alley.

We need at least another week, if not more, in Colorado. Instead of saying to ourselves, “Why didn’t we come here before?” We’re now saying to ourselves, “We can’t wait to go there again!”

Check our Bucket List hikes page for updates!

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You HID this from me!

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