Following my post, 5 Things I Learned in Hawaii, here are the 5 things I learned in Colorado. I traveled for work in May 2015, so my apologies for updating so much later. Please click each image to see the larger version!
1 – Altitude sickness is real. Read up on it before you travel to areas with higher elevation. I had been to the area before, but this time I was Bilbo Baggins declaring, “I want to see mountains, Gandalf!” And I headed straight from the airport to Golden Gate Canyon State Park. Bad idea. That evening, after spending hours driving and hiking, I felt sick, had a headache, and was so weak I didn’t think I could make it downstairs to pick up food in my hotel. I ordered room service for the first time ever. However, I had a great (albeit winded) time walking the trails and gazing out across the 180 view of the Rockies / Continental Divide.
2 – Know sunset times. And give yourself plenty of time. I made the mistake of thinking I could explore Red Rocks after work and get my sight seeing in before sunset. I set out with my camera in hand and hiked the trail (puffing and wheezing the final steps into the amphitheater) only to realize when I reached the top that the sun was fading fast. I also read the map wrong, thinking I could loop back down on the other side and should have turned back on the same route. The sun vanished faster than I expected. The chill wind picked up, a mist began to fall, and there was lightning. And I was standing on the top of a mountain – alone. In the dark. Thankfully I was rescued by the local police after I placed a tearful call. Moral -> don’t be a moron like myself.
3 – Weather is confusing. Spring was starting, the weather was in the nice 70s. Starting out at the bottom of Golden Gate State Park I was nice and warm. Then, as I climbed I worked up a sweat, but then it was cold! And snow and ice were still on the slopes – me in my tennis shoes almost had a few slipping accidents along the way. Pack layers, and be prepared to take them off only to put them on again. Also, beware windburn – my face was dry and pink by the end of the day.
4 – Bring someone with which to share the beauty and awe. I explored Garden of the Gods, I even became brave and climbed up on some rocks a bit, taking the photo below (one of my favorites from the trip). But, I would have really enjoyed talking about what I was seeing with my husband. I could have said things like, “Wow! There’s a tiny man on the top of that rock!” or “Do you really think that looks like kissing camels up there?” Too bad this was a work trip of mine! And, it would have been handy to have someone to help me with directions as I’m a little challenged in that area.
5 – Stay longer. here’s so much to explore! From Red Rocks Amphitheater, to Garden of the Gods, and all of the surrounding mountainous landscape. Next time I’ll plan a real vacation to really absorb the beautiful landscape, and check out more of the state including buildings and events. Though, I do love nature 🙂 A short business trip did not give me enough time to explore, but I made the best of the time given and got some memorable Colorado experiences.
I hope to share more photos with you!