Looking at Colorado in the Fall is like starring at a beautiful painting! It looks to good to be true. I started off in Colorado Springs, which is known to be a very strict catholic region although Colorado Springs is a very liberal artsy school. It was super interesting that such a liberal arts school was placed in such a religious area of the state. The college grounds was more beautiful than any college Id ever seen. The buildings were old and historic looking & so well looked after. There was not a patch of grass that wasn’t bright green or cut perfectly, & the classroom windows looked out to the beautiful snow capped mountain known as Pikes Peak.
Everyone there was so lovely & said hello as you walked by. They were much kinder than some of the people I met at the Colleges in North Carolina.
The passion that the students had for what they were studying was incredible. Even with the catholic extremists protesting out front, holding banners saying “You deserve hell”, didn’t stop the anyone, not even the bluegrass ensembles playing in the outside courtyard as they walked past.
I stayed with Marin! One of my best friends from Camp. It was so great to see her! I lived, breathed and ate with her every day for 3 months so it was amazing to again be in her arms! She treated me like a princess! And took me to all that she could to see Colorado!
Her friends were also so lovely, I didn’t pay a cent for accommodation, transport or food really here at all! At the College they had a huge decadent dining hall, with all the food you could imagine, from every single food group. A million types of fruit, cereals, eggs, salads, vegetables, wood fired pizzas, stir fry, meats, pasta, drinks, ice creams – it was a backpackers dream! I hadn’t seen this much food in a long time because I’d been living off rice crackers, on the go smoothies & deli salads from the super market.
I was extremely lucky with the weather! We didn’t have a day of rain and it only got cold the day before I left! It was around 25 degrees Celsius everyday.
Marin’s dorm was really sweet & homey! She had photos all over her walls, candles burning in the corners of the room, antique lamps that were dimly lit, fluffy pillows covered her bed & a warm rug for our cold little toes!
I’d never seen a college dorm looking so homey!
On my first night we walked down into downtown Colorado and had some home made gluten free pizza & green tea… And we might’ve snuck in some apple pie & ice cream after. It was such an honest & genuine atmosphere. It all reminded me of one of my best friends from home, Olivia. The fire warmed the room, old books covered the shelves & everyone was properly engaging. No iPhones of or other distractions that put pleasant communication to a halt.
Marin’s bed was extra cosy because we topped and tailed in a single bed. It was comfy none the less because I was with good company & in somewhere that I didn’t have to share a room with eight other randoms.
The day after I got their we hitched a ride with her friend & headed up to Boulder! It was a three-hour drive & we still had no idea where we were sleeping for the next two nights. On the way up there, I had a bit of a moment where I was crying which was embarrassing in front of some body I just met. But my sister and I resolved the issue quickly & we were back on track with our drive.
We found a place to stay directly opposite Boulder University with Marin’s old friends from school. They engaged in the stereotypical Colorado school kids activities, if your following me.
That night we checked out Pearl st for dinner & found a lovely vegan/vegetarian restaurant & I had the most sweet sexiest tasting wine! We walked up & down pearl st & also found ourselves gallivanting through Buffalo Exchange rummaging for vintage treasures! I found an amazing real leather cargo green jacket & Brand new Ed Sedleman suade boots. I was in love!
Marin & I the next day hiked the three flat irons of Boulder. We lost the path and decided to just free climb up some huge rocks. Some were three times my height. We scrambled as much as we possibly could until it was physically to dangerous to go any further without equipment.
We sat on a rock close to the top & could see down to all of Boulder, & even out to Denver! Which was around 90 minutes drive away! It was absolutely beautiful!
I tried to save my water so it would last me the distance. The flat irons were these HUGE big big big rocks with flat surfaces on one side, it reminded me of the rock that Simba walks across in the Lion King! NAAAAAA TSAAAA VENYAAAAAAAA….
On the way back down, things were getting complicated. There were so many rocks that we didn’t remember the route we came up on so we improvised.
I thought I had found a clear route to follow but when I got to the last Rock, there was quite a big drop & no where to step down.
“MARIN… I think I’m stuck” – I yelled across the boulders.
We both laughed as I just sat on the top of this cliff wondering how I was going to get down.
And then we saw a tiny little hole behind the huge Boulder with not quite as big of a drop. This is where I was super thankful that I was petite and 5’1. I hopped down into the little tiny hole and scrambled through the tiny space & we were back on track!
Even though our glutes, bums & calves were aching it was so much fun!
The weather was perfect to! Sunny with just a slight breeze!
That night we cooked her school friends I quinoa chicken & vegetable stir fry feast! They looked like they could do with a few veggies in their tummies!
It was liberating to be able to cook again! It made me realise how much I missed my own cooking!
The next day, there typical Colorado thing to do still hasn’t been ticked off the list. Marijuana has become legal in Colorado. Honestly, unless people drive whilst their high i don’t see it as an issue & my eyes were opened to the fact that it doesn’t do much more harm than drinking does. Plus, people are much less likely to be causing fights & conflicts when they’re high! Marin and I sat in the park down the road, by the river, and giggled the day away. We were two innocent young girls just having fun in the sun, enjoying some amazing geleto! J
That night we jumped on a bus down to Denver and caught up with Ali & Fin – two other friends that we worked with at Camp. We planned to go to Greensky Bluegrass – a local bluegrass band, but tickets were sold out! NOOOO! But all was fine because we chilled out & watched 21 jump st. The next day Marin and I had another big day of hiking! This time we went to Red Rocks Open Space in Colorado. It was absolutely beautiful. There were trails winding around the lakes and huge red rocks, over looking the ice caped mountains in the distance.
There were people horse riding up the rocks also, and free climbers on the smaller height rocks. It was beautiful. There were so many family’s gathering at Red Rocks, the kids were playing in the large rock pool styled mini lake between the rocks. Marin and I talked about how we wanted our kids to grow up near a place like this so that they can always adventure.
The next day was my last day with Marin, Sunday the 26th of October 2014, & we wanted to do something super special (not that the previous days hadn’t been anything but that!). Her college mates told us about this beautiful drop pool that’s inside a fancy resort/country club just down the road. The pool over looked onto “Garden of the Gods” and behind that was the stunning ice caped mountain – Pikes peak.
We dressed for the occasion so that we looked like we had memberships to this country club/resort/whatever it was (some fancy posh place).
We walked in like we knew what we were doing & headed straight for the pool! (After checking out the bathroom they had for the guests with ridiculously expensive products in there for any ones use).
PWOAAAAAAAHHHHH! I had never seen a view like it in my whole life! It looked like I was looking at a painting. Marin and I looked at each other, absolutely gob smacked at what our eye balls were looking at. How could there even be a view like this.. It was just amazing!!! I was totally lost for words, I didn’t know what to do with myself.
Marin & her friends explained to me about the rocks of Garden of the Gods & pointed out “gods thumb” and another part of the rock that looked like two giraffes kissing. Sadly, we could only stay 3 hours because one of the girls had to get back to work. But we made the most of every second.
I wished to myself that I wished everyone in their life had a chance to experience a view such as that. A view that absolutely takes your breath away & appreciate every single living thing on this earth. And how lucky we are to have such a beautiful world.
That night Marin took me to a PUMPKIN PARTY! It was a festive little dinner party that is traditional prior to Halloween to carve the pumpkins! We carved pumpkins, baked pumpkin pie, pumpkin cookies, pumpkin everything.. There was about 15 of us all celebrating with cider & pumpkin food in a cozy college house. Everyone there was so lovely & interesting to talk to. They were all so passionate about why they were here & so fascinated in what I was doing also. Marin has beautiful friends!
The next day I jumped on board a grey hound to Denver! The capital city of Colorado! This is where I was flying out to New Orleans from. I stayed with Ali, a friend from camp in her lovely 3 storey townhouse just out of the city, in downtown Denver. I slept on their big comfy couch & made my own little nest out of lots of the couch pillows & little blankets. I had one full day to explore the city! Ali showed me where the gym was and I tried to go each morning I was there! I kept underestimating how much the altitude makes to working out. When I first arrived in Colorado I drank 5 litres of water in about 3 hours and constantly was feeling out of breath from the most abnormal things.
I walked around to the 5th st mall, which is a long main st in the city of Denver with lots of shops and restaurants etc. The city was beautiful and clean! And I felt very safe wondering around on my own. I went to a place called “Protein Bar”for lunch and got a quinoa bowl which was amazing! I then walked down to where the water was & then thought it’d be cool to check out the original “REI”store. It was huge! REI is Americas version of Anaconda, an outdoorsy adventure store. I wondered into a little gypsy hippy store & got chatting with the cute little lady in there for quite a while & bought some cute nic naks off her.
By then it was 3pm, and Ali had finished work so she took me to see The Red Rock Amphitheatre! It was only about half an hour away- 45 mins from where she lived.
I didn’t care that I wasn’t seeing a concert there, but at least I got to be there in the flesh AND I GOT TO WALK ON THE STAGE!For those of you reading who don’t know what the Red Rock Amphitheatre is, I suggest you look it up! It’s one of the best and biggest natural amphitheaters in the world. No speakers, or sound equipment – the natural sound that music produces from being echoed through the huge red rocks is phenomenal enough.Bands like U2, AC/DC, The Beatles, Lana Del Ray, all said the sound it produces is much better than any man made equipment they’d ever used. It was really cool to see, not to mention the fact that we ran across the stage like two little kids & felt what’d it be like to stand on that stage looking up to the audience sitting in an enclosed rock.
When there are no performances on the amphitheatre is a public space, people can do what they please! There are yoga classes held here, memorial services, a place for fitness (with the giant steps on the sides of the seats it’s a great place to work out those glutes).
When we were on the stage we ran up the little stairs out the back & tried to see if we could sneak in the back stage rooms but they were all locked up unfortunately. Probably to stop trouble makers like us who are trying to have a sneaky sticky beak.
The next day I hopped on a shuttle on my own again & was off to my next adventure! Colorado is absolutely beautiful & I would love to come back in a few years! It is such a livable place & would be an amazing place to live.