MORE THAN I IMAGINED
As the car made its way past the Kansas-Colorado border, my heart suddenly began pounding faster than a set of drums in a band. This was really it…the enormous snow-capped mountains and beautiful scenery of Colorado about which I had heard. As we got within range of the first stop on our summer vacation, I saw them, the biggest mountains I had ever seen…the Colorado Rockies. I couldn’t wait to get out of the car and explore this place I had longed so much to visit.
I remember the smell of the sweet piney air, the crisp chill that made me shiver, and the amazing view that seemed to go on forever. I was stunned by the size of the mountains when I looked out the car window. They were like towering totem poles staring down at me with their dark etched faces. They appeared to be so close, yet I knew they were miles away just waiting for me to take the challenge to reach the top.
Although the cool morning air was thin, almost as though someone was suffocating me with a pillow, I knew that once I got used to the higher elevations I would be able to go all day in the majestic countryside. As fate would have it, I didn’t know what to do first… climb a mountain, go white water rafting, ride a horse, or just get lost in the colorful surroundings. It was so overwhelming, but I knew I had to make every minute count on this “once in a lifetime” adventure.
As I gathered up my well-worn brown backpack and faded water bottle, I headed into another world…a world full of beauty, peacefulness, and serenity. New sights and sounds were everywhere around me. To the left was a foaming white waterfall cascading down the mountainside, to the right were the sounds of birds chattering like small children at play, above me was the pale blue sky full of white cotton-ball like clouds blowing in the wind, and below me was the soft colorful green grass waving back and forth like dancing flags. It was like a dream, being surrounded by the beauty of this amazing place. I was finally at one with nature.
The next few days were absolutely amazing. I rented a mountain bike and went on trails that were right on the edge of a mountain and I often thought I might end up at the bottom in a landslide if I didn’t pay close attention. I went swimming in the warm Ouray springs, and rode the electrifying concrete roller coaster from one town to the next – my stomach often feeling like it was in my throat – while enjoying the spectacular views. We even went to a town that felt as though we had stepped back in time where buildings were made of aged red bricks and the air inside lingered of damp Colorado pines that created a musty smell inside my nose that reminded me of an old unfinished basement through which I had once walked.
The seclusion and magnificence of this state has been captured in my heart forever, like a firefly glowing brilliantly in a jar on a hot summer night. I will always relish my first real experience with nature. This was more than I had ever imagined – learning how nature and time could carve such a beautiful masterpiece. This was my little piece of solitude and magnificence that will remain in my mind forever.
Dear Reader: This page may contain affiliate links which may earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase. Our independent journalism is not influenced by any advertiser or commercial initiative unless it is clearly marked as sponsored content. As travel products change, please be sure to reconfirm all details and stay up to date with current events to ensure a safe and successful trip.