Colorado, Colorado Destinations, Colorado Hikes, Southwestern US, US National Parks

Canyon Country – Dinosaur National Monument, Colorado

By far, most people who visit Dinosaur go to the Utah half of the monument. It’s the side with the dinosaur bones for which the monument is most famous. It’s also the more accessible part of the monument, with developed campgrounds and easy river access. However… what the Colorado half lacks in dinosaur fossils, it… Continue reading Canyon Country – Dinosaur National Monument, Colorado

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Castle on the plains – Bent’s Old Fort National Historic Site

Bent’s Old Fort was in fact not a fort in the traditional sense. It may have resembled military fortifications, but it was actually a trading post. Brothers Charles and William Bent and their business partner Ceran St. Vrain built the fort a few miles outside La Junta in 1833, choosing this particular place because it was fairly centrally-located between the fur trappers of the Rocky Mountains, the native lands of the Cheyenne, Arapaho, Kiowa, and Comanche tribes, and people traveling between the US and Mexico on the Santa Fe Trail. It quickly became a key location for trading and the main stop on the Santa Fe trail for travelers in need of rest, repairs, and replenishment.

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Heartbreaking history on the Colorado plains – Sand Creek Massacre National Historic Site

The Eastern Colorado plains are the original homeland of the Arapaho, Cheyenne, Comanche, Osage, Kiowa, Sioux, Jicarilla Apache, and Ute tribes (source). But by the mid-1800s they were being systemically dispossessed from their homelands. The 1851 Treaty of Fort Laramie established that the Cheyenne and Arapaho would retain some of their native lands in exchange… Continue reading Heartbreaking history on the Colorado plains – Sand Creek Massacre National Historic Site

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Colorado Destinations: Pawnee National Grassland

The lands of northeastern Colorado have been inhabited for at least 12,000 years, originally by nomadic hunters. More recently, these lands were the home of the Arapaho and Cheyenne, who were forcibly removed in the 1880s to allow white settlers to establish homesteads and farm the land. As settlers soon learned, though, this shortgrass prairie… Continue reading Colorado Destinations: Pawnee National Grassland

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Colorado Destinations: Twin Lakes

The combination of living in Colorado and having a winter anniversary always makes it difficult to figure out how we’re going to celebrate. You just never know what the weather has in store, especially in the mountains. This year we actually had the opposite problem from what we expected: it was going to be too… Continue reading Colorado Destinations: Twin Lakes

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Chasing fall colors on Boreas Pass

Autumn in Colorado is never going to be the same as autumn on the east coast. We just don’t have as many trees that turn so many vibrant shades of color. But we do have cottonwoods and aspens and willows, all of which turn yellow… usually some time around mid-September. As we probably should have expected, given the utter chaos that was 2020, the status of Colorado’s fall colors was thrown into question when the mountains got a dusting of snow at the end of August. And then another storm rolled in immediately after Labor Day weekend and dumped up to 14 inches of snow. The cold and snow – coupled with the previous two months of drought – meant we were now at risk of the trees turning from green straight to brown. But all hope was not lost.

Colorado, Colorado Destinations

Colorado Destinations: Snow Mountain Ranch

February is always a risky time of year to make partially-non-refundable reservations for anywhere in the Colorado Rockies. Weather can change in an instant, closing mountain passes and rendering travel downright dangerous. But our anniversary is in February, so we made the reservation and crossed our fingers and ended up getting pretty lucky. At the… Continue reading Colorado Destinations: Snow Mountain Ranch

Colorado, Colorado Destinations, Colorado Hikes, Southwestern US, US National Parks

Into the Past – Mesa Verde National Park, Colorado (part I)

A couple years ago, I wrote all about Mesa Verde based on my visit to this fascinating park back in 2010. But Pat had never been there and it’s a place I was happy to return to, so in early July of last year we headed out for a week long exploration of southwestern Colorado,… Continue reading Into the Past – Mesa Verde National Park, Colorado (part I)

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Colorado Destinations: Royal Gorge Railroad

For people who like to celebrate by doing something outdoorsy, February isn’t the optimal time of year to have an anniversary. Sure, we could have gone skiing… if we felt like dropping $200+ for a single day and spending hours sitting in traffic. (We didn’t.) So instead, we settled on a scenic train ride through… Continue reading Colorado Destinations: Royal Gorge Railroad

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Colorado Destinations: Manitou Cliff Dwellings

Winter 2019 in Colorado was a ridiculous one. I hear. It was our first winter out here, but everyone we talked to assured us that it was unusual. The season began fairly mild but by March – right about the time I was ready for winter to end – the snow arrived with a vengeance… Continue reading Colorado Destinations: Manitou Cliff Dwellings