Colors of Colorado—It’s Where you Want to Be.

Happy. That’s what I remember feeling looking west when leaving the Denver airport. Here lies the first glimpse of the mountain chain that I’ve grown the most  familiar with.

West from Denver

Looking West From Denver. I take a breath

Colorado—It’s Where you Want to Be. I’m capitalizing that word, Be, because it’s so much more than simply existing, & it’s much more than only surviving. There’s a possibility that I’m projecting here but in my defense it’s hard to imagine that there are people in this world who are not as crazy about the mountains as I am! Anyone can admire the bustling sights and sounds of the city, but when you think of serene where does your mind wonder? Perhaps you’re holding a frothy beverage with a little umbrella, laid back in a sticky blue chair on that Caribbean island with the drinking monkeys. You can laugh at that here on YouTube. (Rowdy little fellas no?). The fact of the matter is . . . that we’re over-stressed and over-civilized; enough so that I often find myself thinking about just letting things go to hell in a hand-basket. Why live a life working a miserable job Monday through Friday only to watch your life quickly skate by, looking forward to weekends, miserable in traffic, thinking materialistic thoughts about what Apple product to purchase next?  I don’t think anybody actually WANTS that; but look around, somehow so many of us have fallen into this type of life.

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It’s here, in these pristine environments that you really feel that “something different”, that old-world feeling where nature is as it should be and humans are able to be a part of it. Man is constantly reminded of his appropriate place; he’s either insignificantly small while standing beneath at 14er  or mightily strong after climbing over it. Coincidentally there’s a culture of respect for this environment because well, not because they’re just a bunch of “hippies” but hell because– when you’re surrounded by a place this beautiful everyday– it’s hard not to care about it.

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In Aspen the school district grows it’s own food for students to eat in the cafeteria. Children in the Rocky Mountain states learn science by being out in it.  Forgive me for the proverbial phrase here, but this neck of the woods totally has it’s own thing going on.

Many things can be said about Americans. Stereo-typically we’re known for being a pretty selfish group of people. We’ve been accused of being wasteful, overweight, and too wrapped up in our tendencies to value our possessions while keeping up with the Joneses. Talk to someone from Colorado. I’ll almost guarantee you that THEY are not one of THESE Americans. The U.S. contains pockets of cultures, each are complex in their own way. Interestingly enough, the overall vibes are easy enough to pick-up-on here though. The love of the mountains strings together each community in a spider web of homes sparsely scattered across the wind-swept peak faces. A town could be 5 miles away from the next town as the crow flies, but locals have to travel hours, sometimes 50, even 100 miles to go allllll the way around the mountain to get to the next isolated community. Each place is different, with a voice & a story– but aren’t they all!

I spent my childhood summers in Colorado. I’ve gone back there the past two years. I’ve recently discovered that the best time to go is during mid-late autumn because of the contrast that the snow makes visually. But the key– the challenge— is to get through the mountain passes well before you get snowed in. Below you can find my favorite spots from this year.

Aspen Trees, First Snow of Autumn 

A couple of miles south of Aspen, in the shadow of Aspen Mountain– (along highway 82 if I’m not mistaken) lies the most beautiful patch of yellow that I’ve ever laid my eyes on. We just-so-happened to drive through here during the first snow of Autumn. The sunlight is what made this moment really special. I’m so thankful for sunlight every day, but this was different. The snow shimmered.

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This photograph was taken right above a river that a married couple fell into and drowned the week before I stood here. The Devil’s Punch Bowl is a narrow, and swift river cut deep into rocks outside of Aspen. A wife slipped into the river. Her husband jumped in to save her. She lived, but her spouse did not. This photograph was taken in reverence of his bravery.

Independence Pass in Snow

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Coming across some fresh bear scat near a beaver dam was some motivation to get back in the car quickly!

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Had some pretty wet feet after this one! Notice there are not huge mountains behind me. I'm ON the mountain

Had some pretty wet feet after this one! Notice there are not huge mountains behind me. I’m on top of the mountain.



Elk Fest, Estes Park, Rocky Mountain National Park

This was the day that I decided that I never really wanted to go back home. The elk were in rut in the cute little town of Estes Park. The males bugled and butted heads like a show off of a wildlife documentary. Facinating and amazing. Rocky Mountain National Park is remote; it's hard to get to it. A snowstorm actually blocked our path through the mountains in the park, but I'm glad we stumbled upon ELK FEST- a (month long?) celebration where the Elk actually-literally- come into town to breed. The town is built on their migratory grounds.

This was the day that I decided that I never really wanted to go back home. The elk were in rut in the cute little town of Estes Park. The males bugled and butted heads like a show off of a wildlife documentary. Fascinating and amazing. Rocky Mountain National Park is remote; it’s hard to get to it. A snowstorm actually blocked our path through the mountains in the park, but I’m glad we stumbled upon ELK FEST- a (month long?) celebration where the Elk actually-literally- come into town to breed. The town is built on their migratory grounds. Did I mention that there is really nothing as majestic as an Elk bugle in the dead quiet of dusk?

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The Word ‘Park’, as in National Park, actually derives from the french word “Parq”, which meant green space during the times of fur trading.

Maroon Bells, Aspen

You'd be lucky to spot a moose here. We didn't. But the hike was minimal, I'm talking a couple of feet to get to here from the parking lot.

You’d be lucky to spot a moose here. We didn’t. But the hike was minimal, I’m talking a couple of feet to get to here from the parking lot. Picture-sq, very “Sound of Music” scenery-ish.

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Moose food, even something as simple as algae was beautiful.

Moose food, even something as simple as algae was beautiful.

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