As I drove through the states, I talked to many people about all the places I had been and where I was going. Every person, without fail, whenever I mentioned Colorado would tell me how beautiful it is and how much I was going to love it. I always believed it but, now that I am here, I truly understand. There is magic in the Rocky Mountains that, though you may forget about them sometimes, pops up between buildings in the distance or around a bend on I-70. Their snowy peaks hang in the distance, solid and true, reminding you not only that you are small and relatively insignificant in the grand scheme of things (who does not need to be humbled?), but also that you are able to and deserve to behold beauty everyday.
Denver is a city of quaint and beautiful brick houses, sprawling parks filled with happy and active people, and quality food and drink made and loved by Colorado locals. I absolutely love that anywhere you go, you can find a plethora of independently owned and run restaurants, breweries, cafes, and shops. Not only does it makes my stomach happy, but it feels fantastic to know I am supporting a culture of healthy food, responsible businesses, and happy people. There is so much to do here, too: music, festivals, museums, mountains. I imagine it is hard to be bored in Colorado.
So far, in the two weeks I’ve been here, I have been able to drive west into the mountains twice. My first time doing so, my friend, Evan, and I beheld a beautiful sunset as we drove toward Steamboat Springs. Snow hugged the aspens on the mountains and blanketed the flat expanses between, lighting up the colors of the sky. We got to the Strawberry Hot Springs in the evening, driving not once, but twice up a bumpy mountain road, and caught the full moon rising through a thinly clouded night sky. The moon lit up our snowy campground in Rabbit Ears Pass later that night, rendering flashlights superfluous. This was my first night sleeping on snow. Though the night was cold, the morning sun gave me a new sense of warmth.
Travelling east, we stopped somewhere along Poudre Canyon Road to play in the river. We dipped our feet in the icy water, admired the beautiful rocks, and soaked up some more sun before continuing east towards Fort Collins. Downtown Fort Collins has a quaint city feel with slight Northampton vibes. We grabbed some delicious burgers at Big Al’s to round out the excursion before heading south to Denver.
I spent the week exploring coffee shops and parks before picking up my family at the airport. My mom, dad, and sister, Jenna, had come to meet me for a few days of Colorado fun. It was the first time I had seen Jenna since November and my parents since I left on January 14th. Staying in Boulder, we grilled food, played cards, hiked the Flatirons to Royal Arch, and drove to Rocky Mountain National Park. On Wednesday, after bidding Jenna farewell, my parents and I went to the beautiful Red Rocks Ampitheatre and Park and then finished the night with some trivia at Stem Cider in Denver. We said farewell the next day. I am overjoyed to have spent time with my family after so long on the road, and happy to have shared the beauty of Colorado with them.
I am heading up to Fort Collins today to start work at Raisin’ Roots Farm with Erin. As my travel-time comes to a close, I am beginning to think about how I am going to integrate back into a non-nomadic lifestyle. I have gotten so use to moving on my own schedule, making or not making plans how I please and having all the time in the world to myself. On the one hand, I am excited about getting involved in a community. There are so many wonderful people here and so many things to do. On the other hand, it is hard to let go of the freedom that I have had over the past two months, but which felt like much longer. I am interested to see how I carry over the lessons I have learned on the road into a more routined lifestyle.
I am excited to dive into farming. Though I worked at two farms along the way, spring has sprung in Colorado and I can just imagine the smell of moist soil heating up in the morning sun. I am ready to be a part of something bigger than my own story; to work until I’m miserable, rinse it off, eat some good food, and then jump right back in the next day.