As we left Canyonlands, the most stressful part of our trip ensued. The only way to get into Rocky Mountain National Park was to make reservations for a specific time slot. These reservations were made available only a few days before entry and from what we had seen, were taken fast. We were just one tap away from making the reservation as the tickets were released and we ended up being one of the last few able to claim. It was hectic, to say the least, but nonetheless, we were on the road to Colorado!!
All I could think about was how excited I was to be back in Colorado and show Becca around! I had traveled interstate 70 a few times since first setting foot in Colorado in January of 2019, but never during the summer. Apparently, Colorado is best experienced during the summer via hiking, kayaking, and mountain biking (to name a few adventurous things to do). However, as I am a snowboarder at heart, it was hard to believe it would be better than the winter!
We made it smoothly through the rest of Utah, but shortly after crossing the state line into Colorado, we encountered wildfires. The first was in Grand Junction, Colorado - I immediately got a sinking feeling in my stomach. I whipped out my phone and found yet another wildfire that had started near Glenwood Springs. For those of you that are not familiar with Colorado, I70 goes east to west through the heart of Colorado and the Rockies. Glenwood Springs sits at a major intersection on I70 about halfway from Denver, to Grand Junction. After doing some quick research, I saw that the D.O.T. was halting construction in the surrounding areas to help traffic flow more smoothly. We were first rerouted south towards Aspen, Colorado, but then re-rerouted north to Steamboat Springs, Co.
With the change of direction towards Steamboat Springs I decided it was a perfect time to see my town in Colorado! Below is a video of my cousin and I snowboarding in Steamboat after about 36 inches of fresh "Champagne" powder piled up in just over 24 hours. To this day, these were my favorite snowboarding sessions.
So we drove into the Rockies and eventually arrived at the Steamboat Springs KOA. This was the second KOA (Kampgrounds of America), that we had stopped at and we certainly felt unique here as well. There were a lot of RV's and trailers that looked like they were settled for days or even weeks at a time. Plenty of tent campers as well, but I didn't see any converted vans or other vehicles like mine - sure I felt pretty cool even if know one else knew but me :)
We drove into town and grabbed some supplies and food before heading back to catch the sunset. We drove just a few miles past our KOA and found the location you see below. The sunset was magical and there were finally some clouds that the fleeting light could dance off of. The long exposure even captured the headlights of a passing vehicle (the long strip of yellow on the right-hand side of the picture below).
We awoke the next day and decided we would explore downtown and stay another night since we still had another day until we needed to leave for Rocky Mountain National Park. So, we threw on the GoPro suction cup mount and made a quick timelapse of downtown.
We walked around downtown Steamboat Springs and popped in a lot of unique small businesses and bought a few things here and there. Becca got a great deal on a Steamboat Fleece pullover (super jealous). My purchases were some Smartwool socks and a Jet Boil since my cheap campfire stove broke (haha). This was a lifesaver and is essential on all of my trips. Being able to heat up a nice meal in seconds is crucial, especially when you're exhausted and tired of fast food and snacks :)
I was ready to go on a hike while we were here and found a short one that we could do and still have time for sunset! During the summer months, you can see water spilling over smooth rocks 280 ft down.
After our hike to view the Fish Creek Falls, I was ready to capture the sunset by the Arnold Barn. This historic barn was build in the 1920s and although not in its original spot, the Arnold Barn is a symbol of Steamboat's early agricultural days. In the distance, you can see how the smoke from the nearby wildfires affected the setting sun's rays. Nonetheless, it presented a BEAUTIFUL sunset. The colors it cast upon the mountainside were absolutely breathtaking. This was a perfect way to end our couple of days in Steamboat Springs.
Thanks for following along on my journey :) If you haven't already, please subscribe to my weekly adventure emails! I appreciate all of you! Also, if you are interested in any of the pictures above and you don't see them at www.chadgunton.com/prints please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line "PRINT REQUEST"