I grew up in Colorado, and to the dismay of my scenic-drive-loving, six-person-tent-possessing, camouflage-bedecked dad, I preferred the charms of city life. I didn’t venture much into the Rocky Mountain wilderness until my Texas-imported husband arrived on the scene wanting to explore all the places Colorado is famous for.
Consider just a few of the cool Colorado things I didn’t get around to seeing until my 30's
- The otherworldly iridescence of Hanging Lake near Glenwood Springs
- The softly surging cool waters of Medano Creek, which flow each summer beneath mountains of sand in Great Sand Dunes National Park.
- The dollhouse-esque pink, yellow and blue mining-cabins-turned-ski-cottages tucked snuggly in Telluride’s magnificent box canyon.
But that only-one-mile trek to Hanging Lake was the greatest hiking achievement of my life (it was very steep, ok?). And I don’t remember a more mystique-filled wading moment than the ones spent in Medano. Also, I looked totally creepy taking pictures of those Telluride cottages, but was still delighted by them.
These facts lead me to one conclusion: What had I been doing all my Colorado life? Could several harried expat years on either coast have stamped out the thrill of that second-grade Grand Lake camping trip when we spotted a mama moose hiking through the forest with her babies? The first shocking splash of snow-chilled Colorado River launching over the nose of my whitewater raft? The Snoopy fishing pole my dad would just barely get re-baited before I’d reel in another rainbow trout? (As I smugly recall, my brother didn’t catch any that trip.)
Family lured me home, but my husband’s desire to travel the state, as well as my work editing Colorado.com lured me outside and returned me to simple Colorado pleasures. I’m not totally reformed. I’m still more comfortable in mountain-facing seats at a Rockies game than on a camping trip in the actual the Rockies (I don’t really like to get dirty) or sipping wine in a palisade vineyard than climbing the rock face of an actual palisade (I don’t really like to hang from things, but I mostly forced that wordplay because I really like wine).
But I’m more excited than I’ve ever been to venture out and see my state with these new eyes — to say, “Yes, I’ll ride that nickering, fidgety horse all over this Steamboat Springs dude ranch”... as long there’s a comfy feather bed awaiting me at the end of the trail.