Tuesday, October 28th was our arrival goal for Black Hills National Forest, South Dakota, which gave us 3 whole days to spend in Northern Colorado. Having never been to Colorado before, we were both eager to check out the mile-high city highly regarded by outdoor adventurers. We evenly divided our time between Rocky Mountain National Park, Boulder, and Denver for a taste of the Rockies and well-missed metropolitan city life.
Perhaps it was the last warm autumn Saturday before daylight savings time could begin, but the crowded Rocky Mountain National Park was a culture shock after arriving from the deserted Yellowstone National Park. Like Zion, Rocky Mountain offered shuttle services and park and ride areas in order to minimize parking mayhem. Even with the surprisingly large number of crowds, we enjoyed the beauty of the Rockies and the challenging, oxygen-depriving hikes between 9,000-10,000 ft.
After spending a picture-perfect day in Rocky Mountain National Park, we made our way over to Longmont where we stayed with friends through the weekend. (Boondocking on friends’ property = flushing toilets, unlimited water and power, and awesome company!) Their autumn-kissed patio provided a homey comfort we’ve been deprived of for so long.
Our brief visit into Denver unfortunately fell on a dreary day, which is apparently rare for the state that receives 300 sunny days out of the year. The chilly rain prevented us from exploring the streets and our boredom led us on a historic tour through the capital building.
The view-boasting 27th floor bar I looked forward to lounging in was closed due to a private event (doh!) so we ended up at our friend’s office instead–Left Hand Brewery, one of many Colorado’s brew-pubs. Our final evening in Colorado concluded with tap beers on the house along with a home-cooked meal shared with friends. Although short-lived, our time in Northern Colorado was a well-spent getaway from the remote backcountry, allowing us to rekindle our spirits with company and recharge our souls with the energy of the city.