Colorado, USA: Rocky Mountain High
by Kristin Schlitter
Thursday, April 28, 2016
Colorado, USA: Rocky Mountain High
Let’s face it my fellow Coloradoans. We have become the “cannabis state”. The perpetual response of “Aye, Colorado! Where you can smoke that kind bud, right?” has seemed to overshadow the beauty that our colorful state has to offer. Don’t get me wrong the easy-going, casual ambiance that emits throughout Colorado may be due to this massive marijuana movement and the people it attracts, which I will get to later but I’d also like to enlighten you on the many other reasons that I am proud to call myself a Colorado native.
The Great Outdoors!
The Colorado Rocky Mountains covers over twenty-five ski resorts such as Vail, Aspen, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Telluride, Steamboat and Wolf Creek. Whether winter skiing and snowboarding is what you fancy or the summertime temperatures that are perfect for hiking, biking, fishing, rock-climbing, camping or just relaxing with Mother Nature, there is something for everyone. With an average of 300 days of sunshine and record snowfalls that begin to arrive in the month of September, Colorado’s weather can be quite unpredictable but accommodates those looking for both warmth and ideal ski conditions. Colorado offers a diverse geography ranging from high altitude mountains, canyons, rivers, lakes, sand dunes and everything in between. National and State Parks such as Rocky Mountain National Park, Golden Gate State Park, Roxborough State Park and Great Sand Dunes National Park offer scenic landscapes and an abundance of regions to partake in your favorite activities and if you are up for the challenge and would like to be a witness to some of the most breathtaking views in America make sure to visit Colorado’s most prevalent fourteener, Pikes Peak.
Lose yourself in the music!
Colorado offers countless ways to entertain your inner melomaniac comprising of widespread music festivals, novice musicians performing at local pubs or intimate venues, street performers or larger-scale performers at the famous, outside venue known as Red Rocks Amphitheatre. Red Rocks has had iconic performances for over the past 100 years and continues to be a favorite place for locals and visitors’ year round. Artists such as U2, The Grateful Dead, Stevie Nicks, Led Zeppelin and String Cheese Incident have all performed here and signed the famous hidden tunnel underneath the amphitheater. Residents often refer to summertime in Colorado as “Red Rocks Season” as music enthusiasts purchase tickets months in advance to witness their favorite artists at the remarkable venue. Make sure to check out the venue for a show, a fitness class, a film on the rocks, a hike to one of the many outlooks or even just to soak in the exquisiteness of the red sandstone rock structure.
Because… the Denver Broncos
With almost 1 million dedicated Denver Broncos fans celebrating their National Football Superbowl victory, I think it’s safe to say that we are one huge rowdy, loyal and enthusiastic bunch. World- renowned football quarterback, Peyton Manning retired from the Broncos after the team’s most recent championship against the Carolina Panthers. Football Season has practically been recognized as a religion for fans everywhere as they participate in Sunday football parties, fantasy football leagues, lots of beer, pizza and chicken wings! Join the chaos and indulge the American football culture!
Beer, Beer, Beer!
Beer enthusiasts will be happy to know that you can discover a wide variety of craft breweries throughout the state that are sure to satisfy your thirst. Home to some of the most notable breweries such as New Belgium Brewing Company, Odell Brewing Co. and Great Divide Brewing you can find some home favorites such as Fat Tire and 90 Shilling. Check out the Front Range including Fort Collins, Boulder and Colorado Springs for a tours of these breweries where you are able to find your favorite with free beer tasting! If you find yourself looking for a good pub to sit back with a cold beer and listen to some live music, I suggest heading to Colorado’s capital, Denver. Downtown compromises of taverns and bars such as Vine Street Pub & Brewery, Great Divide Brewing Company, Three Kings Tavern, Herb’s Hideout and El Chapultepec that host live music, offer great food and drinks and where you will find a diverse selection of Denver’s locals. Another perk. With Denver being at 5,280 feet in elevation, you will find it much easier to feel the beers a flowin’ if you know what I mean.
I promised I would get there and I have found throughout my travels that it’s what most are curious about so I will now touch up on the marijuana heritage that Colorado has grown notorious for over the past few years.
Is it really legal?
Yes. Anyone over the age of 21 years can legally possess and consume cannabis. Dispensaries everywhere offer THC in forms of buds or edible and are actually quite the experience! Generally, you are greeted before entering and are required to show your identification and may be asked to leave your cell phone at the front desk. Once you enter you can expect to meet friendly workers whose goal is to determine the most fitting strain for you. Most will have samples to examine and smell and you are sure to leave with some of the best in the world’s, Colorado-grown marijuana. Also, make sure to take a peek at our Mile High Stadium’s pot-themed makeover that ‘Native Roots’ a Colorado -based marijuana dispensary recently bought and renamed. A green marijuana leaf will be hanging below Superbowl Champion’s, The Denver Broncos mascot and will be referred to as ‘Native Roots Fields at Mile High’.
Whatever reason you may have chosen Colorado as your next destination spot be prepared to experience a beautiful state full of diverse people, food and culture that has been recognized as home to some of the friendliest people in the states. As for me Colorado will always be my home and although I may be a bit bias, the most adventurous, friendly and breathtaking State in America.
by Kristin Schlitter
In my former life as a Personal Banker, I often felt somewhat disarranged and unfulfilled. My mundane 40-hour work week had taken the front seat and was driving my life into everything I never wanted it to be. The moment that I abandoned a decade of advising people of what they should do with their money and escaped the soul-draining room of walls often referred to as a cubicle was when I really started to feel alive. I chose to live a life less ordinary full of creativity, adventure, alertness and freedom. I was determined to build a life of travel. My overly priced heels and handbags that provided temporary satisfaction became unwanted "baggage" and were quickly traded in for a backpack and hiking shoes. My guaranteed paycheck and luxury apartment were replaced with odd end hospitality jobs in exchange for dinner and hostel bunk beds and my calendar that once consisted of dreaded Mondays, short weekends and an absurd amount of countdowns until 5pm became illusory. I fell in love with the world; I experienced fascination. Not everyday has been easy, actually some have been quite hard... but all worth it. Fast forward nearly a year later of countless aircraft, ferry, bus, train and tuk tuk rides all around the world, I'd now like to share my experiences and the stories of other backpackers with you as I continue to wander the globe! Enjoy! "The routine is the enemy of time. It makes it fly by. I want to be aware of every day I'm alive. I want to choose a mind and soul that is wide awake." -Jedidiah JenkinsRead more at freebirdofpassage.org