Where The Western Things Are: Colorado

03 November 2013

By late afternoon, we crossed the line from New Mexico and were finally back to Colorado after two days of driving! Even though we were doing our trip  during the government shut down we decided to try to visit a National Park anyways, I mean, they can't shut down a park, right?

After driving across flat farm lands for some time down a lone road we finally came to the Rocky  Mountains. At their base was the Great Sand Dunes National Park. We were stoked to go in when we were met at the entrance by a park ranger. Like, what the hell? Aren't you supposed to be on leave, buddy?

Luckily, he was super nice and apologetic about the shutdown. He gave us some info brochures and allowed as to walk into the park a bit to take pictures.

The sand dunes were beautiful and not at all what you'd expect to find in mountainous Colorado. Apparently, there had once been a lake here and the silt from the bottom of it is what eventually became these dunes.  A little bit of wind and time and eventually you have this! Crazy, right?

So we snapped some pictures then hopped back in the car for a couple more hours of driving before getting back to Denver. After getting home we immediately crashed. Three days in a car can be exhausting! 

The next day we started bright and early with a tour of the Coors Brewery which is just outside of Denver in Golden, Colorado.

The factory itself is nothing too stunning. From the outside it's just  a monstrous complex of concrete. The inside, though, was much more entertaining.

On the tour we learned interesting things about the history of the brewery as well as the fact that Coors housed the largest brew house in the world! The tour was illuminating for someone like me who really knew nothing about the process of creating beer.

The best part was all the samples for free, fresh beer at the end. Needless to say, I had a good time!

Once we finished, we went to the main street of Golden and got some rocky mountain oysters since that was something I had always wanted to try. I'm not going to lie- though they were good, they were nothing sensational. They tasted just the same as all the other things on our fried food sampler. Maybe I'll have to try another restaurant?

After that I called it a day to rest up for our next drive up to Rocky Mountain National Park. By then it was Ashley and Brandon's last day in Colorado and, luckily, the state had decided to pay to open up the park despite the shutdown!

When visiting the park, it happened to be rut, or Elk mating season. It's the time of the year when you're most likely to see elk and hear them bugling to each other. As it was Ashley's birthday weekend, she really wanted to see elk as her gift. I, however, was credulous as to whether or not we would actually see any as they are wild animals.

However, not 5 minutes into the park we pulled over to look at the park map and heard bugling. We turned off the car and just listened for a bit. Suddenly we saw hem running through the trees! We drove around the bend and got right up close to them. Look at how big their antlers are!

Content that we had seen some elk, we did a quick hike then headed back to Denver. On the way back, however, there was suddenly a bunch of cars pulled over on the side of the road. 'What the hell?' I thought, 'Why are so many cars pulled over on this random, mountain road?'

And that's when we saw them. Massive brown creatures. Moose!

I can't remember if I actually shouted "moose!" or just thought it in my head but I do remember saying "oh my god!" over and over again as we pulled over. These creatures are so rare to see in the wild! We even over heard one person saying that they had lived in this area for nearly 20 years and they had never seen a moose before.

I tried my best to get a picture but my camera preferred focusing on the trees in foreground. Oh well! At least I know that brown blob is a moose! After that we booked it to get my friends to the airport in time for the flight. I'd say we did a pretty good job of sampling the west!

So that's my western road trip! What would you do on your trip?

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  1. The elk picture totally reminds me of Jasper and the surrounding area - they'd wander into town and onto the streets. It was so annoying lol.

    1. That's so crazy that you lived in a place where elk just wandered around when we had to drive 2 hours to see them, haha!

  2. The pictures look so amazing. All of the landscapes are so beautiful. I would love to go on a road trip out west and up east towards Maine. I just don't know when I will be able to plan one. Hopefully soon!

    I hope you are enjoying the last bit of the weekend.

    Jessica @ Sunny Days and Starry Nights

    1. Ugh, an east coast trip sounds awesome! I've never seen anything over there other than NYC. I should do that next summer!

  3. I absolutely love your blog. It is beautifully written and the layout is lovely. I found it very inspiring to read- I love travelling.
    It would mean a lot if you could check out my blog!

    Have a great day.

    1. Thank you so much! That's very kind of you :]