My Heart Rests In Colorado

If you’ve been reading my blog for any amount of time, you may have noticed that I have a certain fondness for the state of Colorado. Alright, I’ll admit it: I’M OBSESSED!

As you read this, I should be out hiking at Loveland Pass or riding bikes in Breckenridge (at least that was our plan for today!). One of the great things that I love most about traveling to Colorado with Greg is that we usually have no plan. We have an idea of a few places that we want to go, but just kind of see what we feel like doing each day. And for this type-A planner, that’s a good thing.

I wanted to take a few moments to share some photos from my past trips to Colorado and explain just why I love it so much. It’s funny, because my Aunt and Uncle moved to Colorado in the late 80s, but I never once had a desire to go visit them out there (not because of them- I love them! I just never really wanted to go to Colorado). It wasn’t until around 2005 when I started hiking with a co-worker and mentioned that I had family out there that I had any desire to go. Even then, I really didn’t care either way. And then I saw the movie Catch and Release, which was supposed to take place in Boulder. I don’t know why, but that made me really want to go (and work for Celestial Seasonings like Kevin Smith’s character).

When I met Greg in 2007, he told me that he wanted to ultimately live in Colorado one day. I told him that I had family out there, but wouldn’t want to live there because I’m not crazy about cold weather and snow. And then he explained to me that Colorado is not all about cold and snow. In fact, the weather in Denver is almost the same as it is here in Maryland- only they don’t have the insane humidity that we get in the summer! I also learned that Colorado has something like 300 days of sunshine a year!

Two years later, we finally took our first trip to Colorado. I watched Catch and Release the night before to get all geeked up (which has become a pre-Colorado tradition). We stayed with my Aunt and Uncle, who live right outside of Denver. I hadn’t really done much research, and Greg had really only been out to Colorado for skiing and snowboarding, so we asked my family for advice on where to go to hike. They have us some GREAT suggestions!

One thing I noticed right away in Colorado is that people just seemed… weird. And then I realized- they’re not weird- they’re happy! It’s WEIRD to be around people who are so happy and laid-back; you just don’t get that around DC. Even in Wal-mart (where we went to get a replacement camera for Greg that first day) people shopping were happy. It was odd- but extremely refreshing!

On our first full day, we headed out west to Loveland Pass. While we were driving along 70, I was just in awe (this was also the first time in my life that I had seen snow-capped mountains). I couldn’t even blink- I didn’t want to miss anything! And when we got to the parking lot for Loveland Pass, I was just at a loss for words. I’m pretty sure I cried- everything was so beautiful. We hiked up the hill (which is freakin’ STEEP) and took in the view…

And I found this awesome “rock bowl” to sit in. It’s right around 13,000 feet up there.

I was completely exhilarated by the time I reached the bottom!

After we hiked up Loveland Pass, we went to Breckenridge and enjoyed some beers at Breckenridge brewery and shopped around the town. I fell in love with this little shop called Magical Scraps, where I have since bought way too many things.

Over the next few days, we went to Boulder and stayed in an awesome B&B that was run by a Buddhist monk (and had the best tea in the world!) and hiked the Flat Irons.

We also hiking at Rocky Mountain National Park (near Estes Park).

And on our last day, we saw the Garden of the Gods, which was phenomenal!

When we left Colorado, we flew out to San Francisco for four more days and stayed with my cousin. We had a great time touring the city, drinking wine in Sonoma and hiking at Mt. Tam… but I just kept thinking about how amazing Colorado was- I couldn’t wait to go back.

We planned another week-long trip to Colorado the following June. It turned out that the Red Sox were playing the Rockies that June, so of course… we planned the trip around that. We went to the game on our first night there, but got in early enough to hike at Golden Gate Canyon.

And after that, we toured the Coors Brewery. Greg and I are both total beer snobs- but this tour was awesome! And at the end, you get to taste a lot of great beers (that are not just Coors Light)! I had no idea that Coors made Blue Moon before we went on the tour.

The next day, we went back to Loveland Pass.

I couldn’t wait to see that Rock Bowl again!

Driving out on 70, we saw Buffalo Bill’s grave, and a whole herd of bison (or are they buffalo…??)

We also went back to Boulder and hiked the Flat Irons

And another day, we hiked at El Dorado Canyon. I loved this hike!

On another day, we hiked partially up Long’s Peak…

We didn’t reach the summit though- you really have to plan ahead (and start early) for that hike. We’ll do it one day though! Where we did climb to on that hike had a pretty awesome view anyway.

Although each day of this trip was great, our last day in Colorado was the most memorable. We rented bikes in Breckenridge and were driven up to Vail Pass and dropped off. When you’re dropped off, you ride 25 miles to get back to Breckenridge.

We stopped off in Frisco, ate lunch and rented some kayaks. We stopped at a little island and Greg proposed (in this very spot!)

You can read more details about our engagement story here (which also includes a lot of the pictures and gushing about Colorado that I wrote about in this post).

So yeah… if I thought I loved Colorado before, I really loved it after that trip!

I couldn’t wait to get back out there again. Luckily, my cousin Seth (who lives in Denver) had also recently gotten engaged, and planned his wedding for the following June! What a great excuse for Greg and I to plan another trip!

So we were back again, for the third summer in a row, visiting some of our favorite places, like Loveland Pass:

There had been a lot of snow that winter, and a lot of the mountain was still covered!

On another day, we drove back out to Breck and Frisco. I asked some of the locals about hiking in Frisco, and one guy suggested going to Mount Royal. This hike was SO steep, and the view from the top was scary- I actually felt nervous looking over the edge!

I think I was holding on to Greg for dear life here. :)

We also went back to Golden Gate Canyon, and did two different trails.

There was only one day that we weren’t wearing hiking clothes (we had to get cleaned up for the wedding)!

The wedding was at a beautiful country club in Thornton. We danced all night, but kept the drinking to a minimum so that there would be no next-day hangover- we had trails to hike! The next morning, we woke up bright and early and headed to Red Rocks! We had heard about a trail there that was a pretty cool hike- but the first part was super steep. When we came back down to the bottom, we had to slide on our butts quite a bit so that wouldn’t fall. But it was worth it to get that view!


And of course, before we left, we had to spend a day in Boulder and go back to the Flat Irons!

We’ve established our own traditions in Colorado- things that we like to do each time we visit. I always want to go to Celestial Seasonings (we’ve done the tour twice- and you should do it too!) to load up on tea and skincare/beauty products (the gift shop is amazing). I love walking around the shopping areas of Breck, Frisco and Pearl Street in Boulder (and smiling at the hippie kids). We also go to Whole Foods every morning for breakfast before hiking- where I get toast with almond butter, banana and honey and Greg gets a breakfast burrito. We hit up a few breweries all over the place, and of course, go back to some of our favorite hikes. But with each trip, we definitely like to discover new places, hikes, foods and friends!

I can’t wait to add more photos to my collection from the trip I’m on right now!

If all the stars aligned, Greg and I would be living in Colorado by next week. But, there are just a few things like houses and jobs that are kind of standing in the way right now. I’m convinced that everything will work out and we’ll be back out there soon… for good. People have said to me “of course you like it – you’re on vacation!” True- but I’ve liked a lot of places that I’ve traveled to in my life, but have never wanted to move to any of them. Something about Colorado just feels like home. I feel like it’s where I’m meant to be- where I belong.

For now, I’ll just be thankful that I do get to travel out there each year (and twice this year- we’re going back for a week in July!) and cherish every single second that I’m staring out those mountains.

Is there a place that you’ve traveled that you would seriously considering moving to?

 

 

Comments

  1. Jessica says:

    I just found your blog about a week ago, but it’s kind of crazy because I just moved to Frederick from Colorado! Colorado is simply amazing. I am homesick for it already! I was able to hike Pike’s Peak while I lived out there, a feat I never thought I’d be able to do. It’s a great 13-mile 14er if you guys are up for it! You can take the COG Railway back down the mountain. Anyway, I hope you have a fantastic time out there, the weather looks great. Man do I miss it!

  2. I’ve heard that celestial tour is great! I want to do it. Maybe it will convince me to like tea!! Love the way you love CO. I like Denver. I liked Minnesota. But I don’t like winter… so FL has a certain appeal. Haha.

  3. Your photos totally make me want to move to Colorado!!! Oh wait, I already live here :) Your photos totally make me want to get out more often and hike!! We’ve been on a sort of hiatus for the past 18 months since the birth of Babycakes. But we are all set to go on a lot more adventures this summer! And Babycakes’ first camping/backpacking trip. Danny’s been planning it for months :)

    I don’t know who will be more excited when you actually move here… you or me :)

    COME SOON!!!!!

  4. Oh wow, I haven’t spent enough time in Colorado to get pictures like these, but it’s a place I could see myself living. Your pictures are gorgeous — so many beautiful locations! Now I’m even more excited about this weekend. :)

  5. I have always wnated to visit Colorado! I have family there as well and a good friend is about to move there soon. The place tha always made me feel the way you do about Colorado is NYC, ever since I was little just watching it in movies!! Luckily last year I took the plunge and moved here… and its the best decision ive ever made!! :)

  6. Gillian says:

    I hope you are having an excellent trip! Its kind of odd, but I always end up moving places Ive never/barely visited….but it always works out! Ive always felt a special connection to all the cities Ive ever “lived in…even if I was only living there for half a year or so. But, I’m afraid my heart will always belong to NYC (once again, I had spent a grand total of 6 hours in NYC when I decided to move there…) and I cant wait to get back!

  7. I hope the stars align and you guys get out here soon. It really is the best place to live :)

  8. As you know, I am IN LOVE with CO too!! ONE day we will live there as well :)

    I love Garden of the Gods- So pretty!

    HAVE FUN!

  9. Like you, I have a cousin who lives in CO and I have yet to visit him. He’s on a hiking team out there and speaks so highly of the area, and hiking opportunities. Your write up of the area has me wanting to visit ASAP!!! Hope you’re enjoying your home away from home!!!!! And I know how you feel, my heart rests in CA – I go at least once a year (sometimes 2 if work sends me!!) – and I love visiting to do all my traditions each year!!! Have a GREAT trip!!!!!

  10. We spent years coming out to Colorado on vacation – more for snowboarding than hiking – and fell in love with the mountains. We got married out here and after six years of talking about it we finally moved. And I mean, we quit our jobs, packed up our lives and moved. The only assurance we had was enough money to survive unemployed for six months and a promise from my mom for her basement bedroom should things fail. Best decision ever. We are now employed, living in a decent apartment with a mountain view {accidental, but worth it!} and haven’t regretted any of it! Seriously, best decision ever. We never get bored, there is always something new to explore and being close to the mountains is awesome – every weekend is like a vacation, not kidding!

  11. I love Colorado! I think I could easily live there. :)

    Enjoy your trip!!!!

  12. Hooray for CO! I haven’t been to a majority of these places but they are on my list….especially Loveland. (In my Chandler voice) Could it BE any more beautiful??

    I absolutely adore the Garden of he Gods pic–it’s my favorite place in CO Springs. See you in six hours :)

  13. I do believe you’ve hiked in more places in CO than I have…and I’ve lived here for 4 years! I’ve found that it’s very easy for me to take my surroundings for granted. Life gets in the way, and I have not done much hiking here. And now we’re moving back east!

  14. I’ve heard wonderful things about Colorado. This post makes me want to move there, but my husband would die without the beach. Stunning pictures.

  15. my dream life would be in NYC. Damn girl, you’ve done more hikes than I have and I live here! Have a wonderful weekend and i’ll see you when you come back!

  16. Colorado is SO beautiful! I hope you have a fantastic time at the Blend retreat and I can’t wait to read your recap.

  17. I love the first picture of you in this post- so surreal!

  18. I just stumbled across your blog! My husband and I moved from Georgia to Colorado in 2004 just 5 months after our wedding. He drove a huge uhaul cross country pulling his car and I followed behind with our cat and dog. Crazy trip, but so worth it! We lived there about 2 years before moving back to Georgia when I got pregnant with our daughter. We still miss it so much! You are so right about people there being happy! We found even the toll booth workers are happy! Coming from Atlanta there is just such a difference in attitude. So laid back. Now I’m missing it again :) Good luck with your move!

  19. Amen sister! I’m from Baltimore and ever since my first trip to Colorado in 2008 I’ve been hooked. I have pictures at some of the same spots you have above. We’re basically the same person since my goal is to move out there too but because work and paying off school I’m resorting to a yearly visit. Maybe one day our paths will cross in Colorado – let’s keep in touch!

  20. Hey Lauren! I ran across this old post of yours and simply had to comment. My heart also rests in Colorado. I’ve been traveling there ever since I was a kid, and I was lucky enough to marry someone who loves it as much as I do. We ski in the winter and backpack in the summer, and ache to go back the minute we leave. Someday hopefully we’ll make the move. In the mean time, we visit as often as possible. We’re going three times this year alone!

Trackbacks

  1. [...] be the longest post in history.) And if you’re a new reader, perhaps you should check out my post about how much I love Colorado to get why Blend has an extra-special place in my [...]

  2. [...] you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you are probably well aware of my Colorado obsession. But, if you’re a newbie, it may all be news to you! I wanted to take a moment to reflect [...]

  3. [...] this whole post gushing about how much I love Colorado (and I could!); you can read all about that here. But, I will tell you how it came about- how Greg and I are finally going for our dream of living [...]

  4. [...] pretty sure it will start to sink in soon that it’s not a dream, and that this is really [...]

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