Tag Archives: independent

My Travel Adventure

28 Oct

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I didn’t realize until one of you asked recently that I never told you all about my vacation, so while some time has passed since, you deserve a story (and it’s a long one, so bear with)!

If you would like to read my journal entries, instead of this narration, I will be typing those out and posting them [hopefully] soon, with the links at the bottom of this post, so keep an eye out for that. Otherwise, read on my friends, read on!

Originally, I was leaving Sunday morning early, and I would be travelling from Fort Collins through Estes park, Breckenridge, Leadville, Glenwood Springs, Rifle, Craig, Steamboat Springs, and back into Fort Collins, CO on Thursday. I was going to hike McCullough Gulch, Maroon Lake, the Grottos Trail, Crystal Mill, Hanging Lake, Rifle Falls, Gold Creek Falls, and Fish Creek Falls. It was my plan to stop at hot springs along the way, and stay in a bed and breakfast one of the nights, while camping the other three.

All of this I was going to do by myself, and in the end, I did do it by myself, but I didn’t do nearly as many things as I had planned.

The first time I had to change plans was because of the flooding Colorado saw the week before. All the roads into Estes Park were closed because of the flooding and the damage they received, and Estes Park itself was basically under water. That shot Sunday’s plans completely down, and it was supposed to rain in Breckenridge on that Monday, so that foiled Monday’s plans as well. I decided it would be best to just leave on Tuesday, so that was what I did.

I took the interstate through Denver, and met up with my friend Tori to get breakfast. That was a little rushed, but it was great to see her on a trip that I’m doing solo.

So not terribly long later, I got on the road again and headed west to Glenwood Springs. I stopped along the way at a mining mill museum, and took a tour. I got to pan for gold and took lots of pictures. That was definitely the highlight of the day. I went down through Leadville and went through another museum and got some ice cream, and I looked through an antique shop and took some more pictures. They have an attraction called The House with the Eye Museum, and I really wanted to tour it, but unfortunately it was closed for the season.

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Finally, I made it to Glenwood Springs, which was where I had my bed and breakfast reservations, and I checked in and this little house was adorable! Everything was perfect. I walked downtown and ate at Brewpub, then walked back and got my stuff to go to the hot springs. It was a developed hot springs, so it wasn’t my ideal set-up, but it was still very nice.

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The next day, I woke up and had breakfast with the other two housemates – Spike and Maxine, who were an older couple. Breakfast was 3 courses and delicious. When I finished, I headed up the mountain to the Glenwood Caverns and Adventure Park. I did the Fairy Caves tour, which was amazing, and the zip line, which was actually really stupid. I don’t suggest that one, especially for $12.

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Then it started to rain, and I was running late, so I headed down and took the drive to Marble, CO to hike Crystal Mill. It was generally dreary all day, but by the time I got there, it was barely drizzling, if anything. The first 1.2 miles of hiking was brutal; Daniel’s hill was probably a large chunk of the 1000 foot elevation gain, and generally smooth trail, making it even more difficult (in my opinion). This was also my first day of hiking, so I hadn’t become accustomed to elevation yet. Believe you me, it took me what felt like forever and I had to take so many stops I’m [almost] ashamed.

Then, I reached a fork in the road, and had no idea which way to go.

I decided to veer right, even though it was downhill, and that didn’t make sense to me. I got to a bridge over a creek, and it started sprinkling a little more, so I donned my rain jacket. I turned around because going downhill didn’t make sense to me, when I had to stop and move for a couple of jeeps coming through. I asked one of the drivers if I was on the right path, and he told me I was, but advised me to turn around because of the weather and the time of day.

I have a tendency to be stubborn, so I thanked them and continued on my way.

Then, I reached another fork in the road at Lizard Lake. While pondering which way to go, and having no real clue, it started pouring. I took refuge under a large pine tree and started trying to figure out if I should wait out the rain, keep moving, turn around or some other option.

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That was what one of the jeep people came and “rescued” me. Out of the kindness of their hearts, they just couldn’t let me do the hike in the conditions, so they offered me a ride back. It turns out they were part of a paid tour group. They dropped me off at my car, and having yet another day foiled, I drove back to Marble, with its measly population of 100, and ate at the only restaurant in town: Slow Groovin’ BBQ. It was actually pretty tasty (except for the corn bread, don’t get the corn bread!), and I ran into the jeep tour people again.

That night, I stayed at what ended up being a very secluded camp ground. It had a toilet, a place to pitch a tent, and that was about it, all for $20.

The next morning, I just had to hike Crystal Mill again. I couldn’t not see it, so I headed back to Marble and decided to pay for a jeep tour. After all, I had already made it past the most difficult part, so it isn’t like I needed to prove anything. It didn’t open until 10, so I piddled around at a thrift store/coffee shop and took some pictures of the area. It was around this time when I realized everyone in this podunk town knew who I was. Word travels fast.

I bargained with the people who run the tours, and they ended up letting me pay $40 to get taken to the top of the trail and dropped off, so I could hike down. Crystal Mill was amazing, and I ended up having to pee in nature, because no one told me in 3 minutes we would be to Crystal, CO which has an outhouse. I also saw some man-butt, because some guy wanted to swim.

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Even the guy who runs the book store at the top of the mountain knew who I was.

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The hike back down end up being about 7 miles because I parked my car at the tour site, instead of the trail head. Even though it was downhill, it was definitely not my cup of tea. By this point, I didn’t really have enough time to do another hike, but I still had a lot of time before bed, so I went back into Glenwood Springs and ate at the 19th Street Diner. It was decked out like a 50’s to 60’s diner, and the food was pretty good, too. I randomly picked a campground from my phone, Amy’s Acres, and when I got there it was like a hotel. $20 and I got hot showers, a restroom facility, and electricity!

After what was actually a very restful night sleep, I woke up bright and early, took a shower, and headed to Hanging Lake. This trail is 1.2 miles, but you gain 1000 ft in elevation, so it is very steep. I averaged about 17 minutes a quarter mile, and enjoyed it much more than Daniel’s Hill. Hanging Lake, itself, it gorgeous. I spent a very long time just hanging out there and enjoying the scenery. I went up to Sprouting Rock, which feeds the lake, too. The hike down was almost more intense than the hike up, but I felt good.

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Next stop was Rifle Falls, which ended up being very beautiful, and basically flat-ground compared to the two hike I just completed. It was simple, and I got to explore some caves around the back side of the falls.

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Ahead of me was a three-hour drive on the western slope to Steamboat Springs, where I was planning on spending another night. The view was nice in some places, and I had to drive through a sheep run, which was neat. When I reached Steamboat, I decided to just make the final three hours back to Fort Collins, since it was already dark. I couldn’t come back down the mountain, though, because of the floods and road damage, so I drove up through Laramie, WY and then back down CO-287. It was actually faster, but I couldn’t get home soon enough.

And that was my trip. I don’t think I needed to do it and do it alone, but I think I’m a better person because I did. I proved to myself that I can do anything I set my mind to, and even though I know that, it’s nice to be reminded of it.

What was your last vacation? Have you hiked any of these places? Might you in the future?

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Overprotective Parents

14 Aug

I wouldn’t generally consider my parents overprotective, but growing up with overprotective parents is much different than having overprotective parents as an adult.

I’ve always been a very independent person, and my parents have always acknowledged that and respected it. So when they pull the we’re worried about you card all of a sudden, it kind of catches me off-guard.

Not that I don’t think they worry about me. I know they do, but when they try to interfere with what I’m doing, that’s when it gets weird.

I’m planning a trip in September that involves 4 nights/5 days of hiking and camping, and I’m doing it alone. Apparently my mom and dad don’t like that idea, because when I called my mom a couple of days ago, she requested that I sleep in hotels instead.

They don’t want me to camp alone. It’s understandable why someone would worry, but I can’t afford 4 hotels. They can’t afford 4 hotels. I just don’t understand how they can expect this.

In one hand, my parents are basically offering to pay for 3 nights of hotels for me. On the other hand, I was kind of excited to camp for 3 nights. It’s really bothering me, and I don’t know what to do or how to handle it. My parents have never interfered with plans like this before. I can’t help but feeling like they don’t understand that I have no one to go with (which is kind of embarrassing to admit); I don’t think I know anyone who would actually make an effort to go with me.

Should I give in to my parents request and sleep in hotels instead of camping? Should I just camp, and how do I tell them to get over their worrying? Ever had a situation where your parents/friends/significant others do things way out of character? How did you handle it?