Hey guys! Sorry for the delay in posting about my (Loren) recent adventure in the magnificent Colorado! My best friend, Lauren (yes we have the same name), lives in CO Springs, so what better excuse to take a trip out and do some serious exploring!
To start off the journey, we sought out Helen Hunt Falls just a few miles away from where I was staying in Colorado Springs. As I was walking up to this powerful body of water I could feel the drizzling water coming from the waterfall due to the intensity of it rushing down the embankment. This lead to a fleeting flow of the river that I watched plunging down and around the rocks that laid at the bottom. Here you can find numerous trails to venture off into. Since it was getting late, we decided to go straight for the good stuff.
From there we drove up to Cheyenne mountain, where you could view the entirety of the park. I got to enjoy the crisp and clean air thay surrounded us accomanied by the blissful sounds of nature. I sat there for a while wanting to take it all in, because as much as I love the OC, nothing at home beats that view.
Once we decided to head back down, we stopped off at a tunnel to get some cool pics, which actually ended up being great timing where we got to observe two deers grazing together. We kept quiet as well as our distance so we could watch them as long as possible without scaring them. They did spot us but didn’t seem to mind and went along with their business. Up in the mountains with it sprinkling fresh Colorado rain, observing nature right in front of my eyes, and the pure silence, I felt completely at peace.
That night we visited one of the local breweries, Manitou Brewing Company and enjoyed some good grub and a tasty local beer. I have to say, Colorado knows good food and the freshest beer to go with it. I couldn’t believe how yummy the vegetarian burger was and their homemade french fries along side by a brew called the Idaho Pale Ale. It was so good I actually ended up going there a second time cause I couldn’t get enough. I couldn’t get the best picture of my food due to the dimly lit ambiance of the brewery.
My next day spent in Colorado was my adventure to the Garden of the Gods. Of course a tourist attraction but why wouldn’t I check out a place named something to powerful. There we hiked the trails that lead us to some amazing rock structures and formations that will make you wonder how they became that way. The rocks were so deep orange in color and mystifying. Some of the more memorable ones included White Rock, Three Gaces, and Cathedral Spires to name a few. As much as we didn’t want to stop exploring this gorgeous park, the scorching heat of the beating sun was almost too much to bare. We decided to go home and refuel for our big weekend road trip we were about to embark on.
Next on the list was beginning our quest to Glenwood Springs, what we had been waiting for since I landed! We were off on our three and a half hour expedition but of course we had to make a few scenic stops before we reached our destination. About an hour and a half in we decided to stop at a turn out/ rest area right next to Copper Mountain where there was a lake and a front row view of the mile high mountains encaptured by hundreds of trees. There was some serious wind blowing going on around us but it was an luxurious break from the heat we were enduring the previous day.
As we continued on our journey we decided to make a second stop in the Vail Village. We were told it was the busiest day since summer started which made it hard to find good parking so we only made a pit stop and checked out what made this place the place to be. The rad view of the snow capped mountains alone was enough for us to want to hang out there for a day. Full of people and furry friends, we decided this was definitely the spot to revisit in our drive back home. We were off again.
Through tunnels, twists and turns we could tell we were getting closer to grand junction bordering Utah. The passing hours were filled with stunning views of the mountains, Colorado River, even more rivers, and lakes along the way. We tried to to go see the main attraction and reason for our road trip, Hanging Lake, but unfortunately the parking lot was full. So just in case you’re planning on visiting that mystical lake, make sure you get up early in the morning to see it because the cars will be lined up to see it. As we got shooed by the park ranger, who wasn’t very polite if I might add, we headed to our AirBnB in Rifle Falls, just 30 minutes away from Glenwood Springs! We decided to relax for a little before we went to check out Rifle Falls State Park to enjoy another resplendent set of waterfalls. On the drive to the park, we got to see a truly magnifying teal lake where people were water skiing and water boarding. As you go deeper into the winding roads we got to see what looked like hundreds of cows grazing and sun bathing. It is quite the site for sore eyes. Once we arrived it was a short walk to the glorious waterfalls. There you can also visit the cold caves surrounding the waterfall. The caves were a little eerie but nonetheless super cool!
Next stop, Hanging Lake! At a 1000 foot elevation, it was one of the most rigourous hikes I’ve made to date in order to make it to this Shangri-la. It took about an hour accompanied by the dead horse river that flowed down from the mountain. Once we reached the top I couldn’t believe how crystal clear the water was, untouched and eminent. We sat there and watched the calm, serene waterfall plunge into a small lake of turquoise for another hour before we headed back down. Little to say that the trip was far worth it.
On the long haul back we made a few stops at Vail Village where we enjoyed some lunch and a beer. Followed by Breckinridge, CO where we popped into another brewery, Broken Compass Brewing Company and took a tour of the craftsmen homes, and movie-set like neighborhoods. There were so many cute little houses but the immensity of mansions there is astounding. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t jealous of the view they get to wake up to every day!
We got to enjoy the country side of Colorado for miles until we reached home. Open land as far as the eye could see, more rivers of course, and tons of ranches. I couldn’t get over the vastness of Colorado, and to think that I only got to see a fraction of it!
On one of my last days we hiked in Red Rock Canyon where kids were jumping off the rocks into the lake. We hiked the trail that surrounded lake. I couldn’t believe how red the rocks actually were and what looked to be some kind of cold mine