My road trip had been long and fascinating. What had started off as a simple journey west to visit my friend Renee in Broomfield, Colorado had spiraled out into this amazing four-state adventure around the American Southwest. I had watched hundreds of spectacular hot air balloons consume the blue desert skies of Albuquerque, New Mexico. I had hiked deep into the vast chasm within Arizona. I had climbed stunning mountain peaks in Utah. I had gotten lost in the deserts of Moab. And I had met all kinds of fun and adventurous people along the way.
Towards the end of this trip, I met up with my friend Renee again. My trip was now coming around full circle, so it was great to see her again on the other side of my journey.
It was the weekend, which meant that this time Renee didn’t have to be at work. She was free to play tour guide for the weekend and show me the awesomeness of Colorado. It is always fun to have locals show you around their home!
The first day was fun. I met up with her at her place Saturday morning and we decided to take a journey up into the mountains to the town of Breckenridge . I had been to Breck many times actually, but always during the winter snow season. I was pretty curious to see how this place would look during the off-season.
She took me on an awesome scenic back route (Route 6) up to Breckenridge. I had only gone up through I-70 in the past, and so this back road was amazing. It was so beautiful as it wound back and forth through these canyons and cliffs, and upward through the mountains. The day was gorgeous, and throughout the drive, Renee would point out all the cars parked in various areas, and all the people biking and hiking along trails near the road. Renee commented how she hoped to some day have time to explore these trails too.
I was starting to understand what she was saying. I loved the emphasis that Colorado put on an active outdoor lifestyle. But there was almost too much. Too much to do, too much to see. Even just near Renee, there were a million trails, paths, and activities to do. I could spend forever in one little area of Colorado and stay busy, let alone try to find time to explore all the rest of this amazing state.
She took me up Loveland Pass, at almost 12,000 feet, to check out the continental divide. The continental divide is a huge natural boundary that separates the country’s river systems. This was a beautiful place to stop and explore! The snow covered rocky mountains surrounded us. It was beautiful, and also cold and very windy.
After that, we made our way further to Breckenridge. There was a “Craft Spirits” festival happening in town this day. Neither of us were quite up for drinking hard liquor early in the day. But we did spend a while exploring the town and checking out the shops.
I love Breckenridge! I’ve always thought it was a very cool town. And I was surprised to see how busy and active it was even though it wasn’t ski season. We went and got some really amazing wings for lunch, and I was pretty happy and very satisfied. What a good day!
The next day we were back on the road. This time Renee took me past Boulder, through Lyons, and up to a cool town called Estes Park. We were checking out Rocky Mountain National Park! I was pretty thrilled. This was the last park left on my Colorado National Parks Scavenger Hunt.
And this park was amazing. The last National Park I had visited was filled with giant sand dunes and felt almost like I was in the Sahara. Now I was in a very stark contrast, with snow covered mountains stretching out all around me. We were lucky that the main road was still open, I guess it closes when the weather gets bad this time of year.
I was rambling with excitement and awe the entire time. And Renee would periodically remind me “This is basically in my back yard.” That fact was mind boggling to me. Why was I choosing to spend all my days in the flat corn midwest? Renee had to drive not even an hour away and she could see something this magnificent. If I drove an hour away I would be greeted with cornfields.
After some amazing views, we went to a fun hiking trail that led us to a cool waterfall. I just couldn’t get enough of this place now. We also did a fun hike in the park by the visitor center as well. It was a very active weekend of awesome sightseeing.
I love Colorado!