Monday November 29, 2016 – Sunday December 4, 2016



It was lovely to return to Colorado which we visited two years ago, only then it was in the middle of summer. Well this time, it was a little bit colder.

As the plane circled to land, it was beautiful to see the brown landscape stretching flat  below us. We have learnt a new word for disembarking off an aircraft…now know as deplaning!  We deplaned and walked to baggage claim to find that Hammers  bag has somehow been lost. Some searching later and the bag was located   with ‘oversized’  luggage. This is so funny, a backpack  is considered  oversized compared  to the huge bags we watched being wheeled away from the baggage carousel.

Soon we were leaving the airport in our rental car heading towards Denver city to pick up some supplies and for Hammer to have  a haircut. We  were surprised to find the  downtown area looking quite windswept and deserted.  It was cold and  by the time we found a barber it was getting dark, even though it was still quite early in the afternoon. 

We were visiting  friends Torgrim and Nancy in Denver, and it was dark by the time we reached their house. Hammer met Torgrim when cycling across  Australia, many years ago. And Torgrim  and his wife Nancy, a Denver native also met  while  cycling in Australia. We spent a beautiful, relaxed and warm evening at home catching up on news and plans for  the new  year. 

The next day we did a day hike in the mountains surrounding Denver. It was great to set foot on the Colorado Trail and dream of maybe hiking the Continental Divide Trail which the CT overlaps.  Great scenery with huge  red rock outcrops  reminescent of the Australian outback.  A warm evening indoors, with great food and shared stories completed a great day.


On our last visit to Colorado we did not have time to visit Boulder. So it was great to do be able to do so this time. Plus it was a chance to meet again with  the beautiful couple,  Dana and Stephen – who provided me with shelter in Oregon when I was recovering  from my broken ankle  in late July, early August. And our oldest friends daughter, Kristin  just happens  to be studying at Colorado University in Boulder. We promised to see her and  give her a hug from her mum and dad.

As soon  as we started to approach Boulder on the freeway and see the big mountains surrounding the town it was easy to see what  makes it so special. We knew of Boulders reputation for outdoor  activity and with literary hundreds  of trails right on the towns doorstep, it is a trail  runners/hikers paradise.  It has a beautiful and stylish downtown streetscape  with vibrant cafes. It was lovely  to walk around town  despite the  cold wind.  

We had a late lunch with Kristin in Pearl Street. Great to hear of her experience as an exchange student and differences in  university life. Her mum and dad must be so proud. 

Later in the day we drove over to meet up with Dana and Stephen  and see their new house with fabulous views over the Flatirons. Great to spend  an evening together and to get to know  them some more. Again we were treated to the most generous hospitality. We hope that  our paths connect again next year on the PCT.

What time we had left in Boulder we spent exploring the I.M. Pei designed National Centre for Atmospheric Research. The Centre Museum housed fantastic and very informative weather and climate displays.


Our accomodation for the rest of our stay in Colorado was in the small community of Estes Park, the gateway town to the Rocky Mountain  National Park. 

The park is mostly closed for  the  winter but a few roads  still remain open. With so few people around  it was a great opportunity for wildlife watching. The weather was sub-zero throughout our stay with snow falling  and strong  winds on some days. It was invigorating to be out in the chilly  conditions but ever so nice to have a cosy, warm apartment  to come back to. We feel so lucky to be able to experience  so much in so little time.

Driving out on our last day we passed another large herd of elk resting on the towns golf course. Love how easily wildlife coexists with the local community.