It is no lie that 2020 has been a disaster of a year. And I am not even sure that the metaphor of a forest burning to come back even stronger even applies. I am grateful that I came through the other side of the tunnel. I may have had plans canceled but people have lost jobs, livelihoods, and family. All I had were some trips canceled. A Colorado trip had been in the works and I wasn’t in a position to be able to go. However, less than 24 hours before, my last trip’s flights got canceled. So the night before a road trip to Colorado, I began packing. Embarked on a road trip that would take us 2 whole days of driving to reach our destination, we blinded ourselves to the fact and drove on.
After arriving in Estes Park, Colorado, we immediately started our indulgence by eating and having drinks at Ed's Cantina. Other Estes Park food recommendations include Scratch Deli, Kind Coffee, and Bird & Jim. For hikes, definitely check out Sky Pond, which includes Alberta Falls and Loch Lake. Sky Pond hike finishes by having to climb up a babbling brook of a waterfall. If you're looking for a shorter hike with almost just as much reward, try the Dream lake and Emerald lake hike. Dream lake might just be the most scenic, peaceful lake in all of the Rocky Mountains. If you have time, you can branch-off and hike to Lake Haiyaha. There are ginormous boulders in the lake that allow you to climb and explore the lake in an odd and fascinating way. For a hike that is as long as Sky Pond, yet not quite as scenic, Chasm Lake is a rewarding hike on the other side of Estes Park. It sits at the foot of Long's Peak which is the highest mountain in Rocky Mountain National Park.
Trail Ridge Road - I definitely recommend taking an evening and driving Trail Ridge Road from Estes Park and finding a good place to watch the sunset over the snowy mountains. We ended up doing the Tundra Communities Trail. Bring a heavy jacket; it will be cold. If you’re lucky, the mountains might shine with alpenglow. The scenic road is absolutely breathtaking.
In a rather spontaneous decision, our group decided to continue west to Moab, Utah. There we explored Canyonlands and Arches National Park. We only stayed there for 2 days. There is definitely more to see and do there than what we could accomplish within that time. As someone from the East Coast, Moab is like visiting another planet.
Taking the shot below
Junctions Butte - Viewed from Grand View Point. This is also a top-notch place to enjoy the sunset.
Delicate Arch, Arches National Park
On our long travel home. We planned a stop at the Great Sand Dunes National Park in Colorado. Such an odd sight to see so many dunes In a landlocked state. With a mountain range at our backs and the sunset in front of us, it became the sublime finish to our Colorado excursion.
Great Sand Dunes National Park - Go at sunset. But don’t be confused by what looks to be not a large elevation differential. This hike takes a good hour to an hour and a half to get to the top. Climbing sand takes 3 steps to match a regular step. The hike down takes 30 minutes if you run down though. And don’t bother with getting a rental for a sandboard. You really will only get to use it once or twice. Still highly recommend going.
High Dune - Here at sunset, my girlfriend (MargaretWroblewski.com / @margaretwroblewski - go check out her photography) and I enjoy a good laugh. I would also recommend sunglasses as the wind kicks sand up and is rather tough without any eye protection.
So not a great year. But this trip did give me some life while in the middle of living in the doldrums. In 2021, we hope that the pandemic will finally come to a close and life can be restored and start the rejuvenation process. Nevertheless, whatever your goal is, make it happen this year. Make a memory. Have an adventure.