Southwestern US, US National Parks

Riding the rapids in Split Mountain Canyon – Dinosaur National Monument, Utah

After spending the other days of our long weekend exploring Dinosaur National Monument from above, a guided whitewater rafting expedition now afforded us the chance to see the Utah side of the monument from below. Our one-day trip took us along 9 miles (14.5 km) of the Green River through Split Mountain Canyon. The geology… Continue reading Riding the rapids in Split Mountain Canyon – Dinosaur National Monument, Utah

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

Colorado, US National Parks

The Land of Prehistoric History – Dinosaur National Monument, Utah

(Gold star to anyone who can figure out the random inspiration for the title of this post. Hint: it came from the TV show I was bingeing at the time I sat down to write this.) If you’ve ever heard of Dinosaur National Monument, you probably specifically heard about the dinosaur quarry… a building that… Continue reading The Land of Prehistoric History – Dinosaur National Monument, Utah

Colorado, Rocky Mountain National Park, US National Parks

Rocky Mountain National Park Hikes: Estes Cone

Estes Cone was not plan A for Chelsea and me on this particular weekend. But April and May in Colorado are part of what we Coloradans call the “spring of deception.” No matter how warm and sunny it is, no matter how many days in a row the nice weather endures, make no mistake: it's… Continue reading Rocky Mountain National Park Hikes: Estes Cone

Colorado, Colorado Bucket List, Colorado Hikes

Colorado Bucket List: Picketwire Canyon Dinosaur Tracks

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I’m a dinosaur snob. I can’t help it. I grew up in a state full of fossils, in a town with a pretty fantastic dinosaur museum. The bar was set really high when I was really young. So I’m not easily impressed. But this place was… Continue reading Colorado Bucket List: Picketwire Canyon Dinosaur Tracks

Colorado, Colorado Destinations, US National Parks

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.

Colorado, Colorado Destinations, US National Parks

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

Colorado, Colorado Hikes

Colorado Day Hikes: St. Mary’s Glacier

Most lists of “best hikes near Denver” include St. Mary’s Glacier. And with good reason. For a round-trip total of two hours of driving and 1.8 miles (2.9 km) of hiking, you can see a pretty subalpine lake, bristlecone pines, and stand on a glacier. Well… sort of. As it turns out, St. Mary’s Glacier… Continue reading Colorado Day Hikes: St. Mary’s Glacier

Colorado, Colorado Destinations, Colorado Hikes

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

Colorado, Colorado Hikes

Colorado Day Hikes: Helms Lake (the winter version)

As I’ve spent more time in Colorado and gained more knowledge and confidence in my winter hiking abilities, I’ve begun to push myself harder. I’ve tackled longer and more challenging hikes, and been rewarded with gorgeous snow-covered views and relative solitude. But I’ve also established some limits on just how much I’m willing to challenge… Continue reading Colorado Day Hikes: Helms Lake (the winter version)