Colorado Summertime

The Campbells have spent the past three months in Burlington, Colorado, and time has flown by! It’s hard to believe that Victoria’s first travel physical therapy contract has come to a close. We have done a good bit of exploring in the plains around Burlington, and we have taken a few weekend trips as well. Throughout this post, click the links in red to see more info and pictures about what all we’ve been doing this summer.

Our first weekend in Colorado started off big with 2 nights of Widespread Panic at Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Morrison, CO. This was Russell’s dream show, and although we missed the first night, it was truly one of the best concerts we’ve ever been to. We saw friends old and new, danced, and enjoyed the artistry that WSP brings to the stage every time the play. We also saw a night of blue grass at Red Rocks a few weeks later that, despite the weather, turned out to be another fun night on the rocks.

As it turns out, we have a large friend base in the Denver area. Of course we had to take advantage of the opportunity to spend time with them, so throughout the summer, we spent a weekend in Ward, CO camping in the mountains, a weekend in downtown Denver exploring the city, and a weekend in Boulder seeing what the area had to offer.

While camping, we hiked to Brainard Lake and visited Rocky Mountain National Park. There was a fire ban that weekend in Boulder county that weekend, and although we planned on camping in a developed campground where fires were allowed, everything was full. We got lucky and stumbled upon some Bureau of Land Management (BLM) campsites (which we have come to prefer since our adventures in Utah) before dark and set up a great camp with 2 of our friends for the weekend. If you aren’t familiar with BLM camping, it is truly the best way to spend time in nature with very little human contact. The public land, which is mostly in the western US, has some areas that are designated for camping. The nightly rates are low cost or free (some ask for donations), and the only rules are to “pack it in, pack it out,” meaning to bring what you need and take everything with you, including trash and waste. It is also highly encouraged to camp at a site where a fire ring or pit is already established to prevent unnecessary spreading of ash. Although we couldn’t have a fire, we had a wonderful weekend grilling our food on a gas grill, playing music with friends, and exploring the Colorado mountains.

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During our weekends in Denver and Boulder, we ate at so many good restaurants, went to the Pearl Street Arts Festival, and got to know the city aspect of Colorado a little better. We visited Eldorado Canyon State Park, which had a pretty road to drive through the canyon and several waterfalls throughout the park. The weekend of our Denver trip, we spent the majority of the time driving to scenic areas including through Chautauqua Park up to Gross Reservoir and to the summit of Mount Evans, which was an adventure in itself! Mount Evans Scenic Byway is the highest paved road in North America with a final elevation of 14,130 feet as it approaches the summit of the mountain. The road is very narrow and winds up the mountain with many hairpin turns and full switchbacks; we even saw some alpine wildlife up close! Although the views were rewarding, Russell had to be in the driver seat for this one! The highest point is a short walk from the parking lot and towers 14,265 feet over the amazing Colorado views.

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Even though we did a lot of exploring, most of our time was spent in the plains of Colorado. One of the first community events we enjoyed in our temporary town was fireworks to celebrate Fourth of July. This was a great introduction to Burlington and was probably one of the best firework shows we have ever seen! Other local activities we explored was the 100th annual Burlington County Farm Fair and the Old Town Museum. During our drive back from Kansas City one weekend, we stopped at the Cathedral of the Plains in Victoria, Kansas. This cathedral was built from 1908-1911 and is truly the center of the town, geographically and socially. It was renovated for its centennial year in 2011; the detail and artistry throughout the grounds are beautiful. All of these activities and architecture celebrate the history and culture of the plains.

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Overall, we enjoyed our time in Colorado, but we are ready for the next adventure. Stay tuned for updates about our trip to Oregon!

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