Colorado in January: Driving, Hiking, and Gawking

In January of 2015, for New Years, I had the opportunity to visit the hiking and outdoorsy Mecca that is Colorado. It was a short trip, squeezed into the time between Christmas celebrations and when I had to return to my practicum site for the spring semester, and it was a beautiful and chaotic blur of events.

I wish that I could say that I remember everything about this trip, down to the very last little detail of our hike, but I can’t. I have some wonderful pictures and some big memories stamped into my mind and that’s all I can offer you. I have failed you as a blogger. I can, however, say that I can’t wait to return. I can’t wait to have a longer trip that is filled with backpacking and, my most recent pursuit, National Parks. I can’t wait to tell you about it.

Driving in the Mountains

On our second full day in Colorado, we set out for Silverthorne. It wasn’t necessarily the coolest place for hiking, but really, we just wanted to do a fair bit of driving through the Mountains. I can’t imagine my commute including these views. Do people really ever get tired of this?

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We got stuck in traffic, for a very long time. I found myself not caring. We saw mountain goats. That’s all I could ever ask for out of life.

Hiking in Silverthorne 

We hiked the Lily Pad trail in Silverthorne, a 1.36 mile hike (one way) that reaches 9,939 feet. Psha, less than three miles? I thought it would be easy, the trail description even said the difficulty was easy. After all of that moderate-difficult hiking I did in the fall, surely I could hike an easy trail in the mountains.

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I was not expecting, however, that this is the hill that it started with. Which wouldn’t be a big deal if we weren’t already at an elevation of nearly 10,000 feet. For some reason, my asthma didn’t like that. But the views were certainly worth it.

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Here’s the lake! Wait…Oh no! We’re going to have to come back when it’s not winter! What ever will I do?

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I loved watching people trudge past us in their snow shoes and cross country skies. It felt really legit.

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I can’t believe that people actually live here.

Gawking at Garden of the Gods

On our third full day in Colorado, we drove to Colorado Springs to check out the Garden of the Gods. We didn’t do any hiking here, but my inner geologist couldn’t go to Colorado and not see these neat formations.

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It was a very cold day when we went to the Garden. Silverthorne was cold, too, but our blood was moving. In Silverthorne, I never wore my gloves. At the Garden, I was bundled up (I do have to say, though, winter in Colorado seems much more bearable than our cold, wet winters in Missouri. As an added bonus, the dry air caused me to have a great hair day every day we were there). We packed a thermos of hot chocolate mixed with instant coffee. It kept our noses running, but also kept the day feeling warm and fuzzy.

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Can you imagine climbing these crazy rocks? That’s a thing that people get permits for and actually do, you guys. What an experience.

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I thoroughly enjoyed the higher views from the Garden. It was a totally different experience from being in the Mountains, but one that I enjoyed just as much. I love Missouri (most days), but there’s just nothing like this there.

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I can’t wait to go out West again. What’s next? Utah? Wyoming? Maybe I’ll get to Colorado again, the Black Canyon of the Gunnison has really been calling me. What’s a girl to do?

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