When I tell people I live in Denver, Colorado, immediately I’m asked, “Do you ski? Do you like to snowboard? Rock climb?” And now that Colorado has legalized pot, that question has become one of the latest additions. Although I skied when I was younger and tried snowboarding and rock climbing once, I’m no outdoor adrenaline junkie. Most people I meet tend to be transplants from the Mid-West who praise the beautiful mountains, while I tend to curse the snow and unpredictable weather I have to brave in order to get to work backstage to run a weekend show. For many years I used to wonder why everyone loved the mountains, they weren’t going anywhere. But, as I left and traveled far away, I have found that I enjoy the cool mountain air covered with thick green trees in new journeys and familiar places like Colorado. Having returned to the Centennial State, I find a restless energy stirring in me throughout the week as I follow my routine of work, homework, and blog updates. As the weekend begins, I’m ready to tie the laces of my hiking shoes, fill my Camelbak with water, and clean my camera lens in anticipation of capturing beautiful hillsides and landscapes.
Roxborough State Park
My first excursion finds my friend Reagan and I on a journey to southern Denver near Littleton in Roxborough State Park. For months I had seen photography excursions for Meet-up groups to visit the park and find great photo opportunities. Visiting this state park was an easy decision to make for my first adventure during my return to Denver. I anxiously hope to see a fox, but to my disappointment Reagan and I arrive too late in the morning to view wildlife. However, we don’t miss out on roaming through the fields of tall grasses, purple flowers, and cascading red-orange rocks. This will definitely be a place to return throughout the seasons. I’ll find a way to see that fox, no matter what it takes.
It’s nearly a three hour drive to the popular hiking spot, Hanging Lake, outside Glenwood Springs, but Caitlin, Nicole, and I are ready for adventure and beautiful views. Originally the only knowledge I had of our destination is that it was near Glenwood Springs, so when I mention I had always wanted to see Hanging Lake, Nicole satisfies my curiosity by reaffirming, “Did Caitlin not mentioned we’re going to Hanging lake?” Oh. Noted. Several years ago, my friends from college got engaged at this spot, and I opted not to join that day, something I regretted until my hike up this steep trail on a Sunday morning. It was worth every switchback and pause for deep breaths as we reach the beautiful blue-green lake that takes our breath away. A combination of various ecosystems, waterfalls, and forestry is what makes this beautiful lake a “Must Reach” hiking destination.
I’m still finding every opportunity to seek hiking destinations and it seems more and more trails are added to my list each year. There is more of a Mountain Girl in me than I realized, or was willing to admit. After all, it was the mountains of Cuenca, Ecuador, Cajas National Park, and Machu Picchu that dazzled my inspiration and re-fueled my mind with possibilities. I’m definitely not made to be a Desert Girl, but a beach in my life would be a great additional destination. If such a place with great mix of mountains and beach are available, I’m game. And there’s always grassland, jungle, and plenty of unknowns yet to explore.
This post is part of Travel Tuesday hosted by Lauren on Location and Alkeks Abroad, Weekend Wanderlust hosted by A Brit and a Southerner, A Southern Gypsy, Eat Work Travel, Justin Plus Lauren and One Modern Couple, Photo Friday hosted by Pierced Wonderings, Travel Photo Thursdays hosted by Budget Travelers Sandbox, Budget Travel Talk, Tanama Tales and Rachel’s Ruminations and Our World Tuesday, and The Weekly Postcard hosted by Travel Notes and Beyond.