Ian and I have always wanted to go to Colorado together, so this past summer we booked ourselves some tickets!
If you haven't been there yet, Colorado is a place that draws you in and takes your breath away. It is a place of raw and unabashed nature that can tear you down and lift you up all at the same time.
We fell in love with some areas and were unimpressed with others (which is true of most places), but all in all left feeling grateful of our journey and all that we experienced, but happy to return home to our gentle Asheville mountains.
Places we especially loved include:
Denver - Staying with locals and friends helped this stay to be even more fulfilling and gave us a better idea of the city. Also, you have to go to the Botanic Gardens. They are incredible!
Rocky Mtn. National Park - Estes Park is a bit touristy feeling, so I suggest booking a campsite in the park if you ever go. That way you can feel fully present in the nature around you. We loved our site and spent the days hiking and eating!
Crested Butte - This is where we met up my parents who had driven halfway across the country with their Tab Camper. They had been wanting to show me this place forever so we finally were able to enjoy it together. There are no chain restaurants in this tiny mountain town. Everything is local and everyone mountain bikes and/or ski's in the winter. We celebrated my birthday here and went mountain biking on the dusty trails with amazing views. It is expensive to stay in town, so we camped a ways outside at the majestic Lakeside Campground.
Telluride - This is such a quaint little town! I mean, it has a waterfall in the crest of the mountain it sits in... My goodness. I wish we could have stayed at the campground right at the end of main street, but we were able to explore and ride the free gondola to the top of the mountain. Another ski town in the winter and bike town in the summer, but the town and ski town are separated by a mountain, which I thought was a great idea!
Buena Vista - We stopped here on our loop back to the airport and loved the simple nature of this town. It is close to the mountains but has more of a home-town feel with fun parks and a little downtown area. We took our first shower in days here at the community park bathrooms ($1 for 3 minutes - and it felt like heaven), and grabbed beers and a yummy meal.
But traveling isn't all fun and games.
Throughout the trip we learned a lot about ourselves, each other, and about us together as a couple. Traveling is a great way to deeply get to know another person, their tendencies, their social needs, their patience, their anxieties.
I get nervous when Ian drives nervous, & Ian gets nervous driving in places he doesn't know well. That was tough.
I get tired and exhausted after traveling a lot in a short period of time. I even cried at the campfire one night and Ian just hugged me and listened.
Ian worries when I feel bad, and I got high altitude sickness that kept me down a few days at the beginning of the trip.
See, it's not perfect? It's hard sometimes. But I believe it is worth the struggle for all the other joyfulness, experience, and knowledge you get out of it.
Thankfully, we came out on the other side of the trip stronger and even more in love with one another.