Vignettes of Steamboat Springs – A Golden Paradise

Last January Jen and I were in Colorado for my mother’s birthday. My brother and sister in law suggested that after the kids go to college this fall, that Jen and I should spend a month in their property in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. We initially paused because we had never done anything like that. However, in the spirit of embracing the change in our lives, we said yes. We confirmed dates. Our fall would fortunately bring us 4 weeks in the ‘Boat.

We coined this trip “The Great Experiment”. While we were not exactly worried we would not love Steamboat, we looked at this opportunity to test some things and think about living elsewhere someday, either permanently or one or more month at a time. Let’s test working remotely. Let’s be intentional about this experiment and be honest with one another about what we liked, didn’t like, or needed to resolve about living elsewhere.

I’ll be honest, the experiment didn’t start out to well. Our first week was LONELY! Sorry to write this in all caps and at the top of my voice, but it’s true. We had been to Steamboat a number of times before, but each of those had community and family built in. This trip was our first trip with an extended stay with just the two of us.

Thankfully that loneliness changed with a visit from Jen’s mom and sister, a Saturday drive and day hike with a friend in the Lake Granby area and a visit from a close friend from Estes. I am also fortunate that the bike community is what it is and I enjoyed my time talking with Brock at Orange Peelz, Jon from Moots, and Keith whom was passing through. I also met Tony, the owner of Velosmith in Chicago on gravel road way out in the country. We also had a random meeting one night while we were having a sunset happy hour in the mountains. This encounter brought Andy and his wife Betsy back into our lives. I was on the board of directors at Adventure Cycling Association with Andy and they moved to Steamboat 4 years ago. Lastly, I also squeezed in a trip to Longmont to see my mom & family and ride mountain bikes with my brother. As I write this, we packed it in for sure. I must be honest though, people and community stood out as our number one need to be comfortable somewhere. That is Lesson #1 for our great experiment. A sincere thank you to all of these great folks that made our trip what it was. Without you all, we may have gone back early!

Lesson #2 from our Great Experiment was to embrace the environment we were in. We tested a lot of happy hours both in town as well in the mountains. Our absolute favorite as you can see from a number of the pictures above was to hike somewhere and watch the sunset. The light and the environment is truly magical. For newbies in the ‘Boat, I’d like to think we found some good spots!

Lesson #3 – Chase those bucket list items. Jen and I both got to check off items on our list. I got to see the aspens turn to gold and Jen got to see a moose in the wild! I will share some of the fall images and down below I have some commentary on the moose sighting along with a featured image you likely will never forget!

Note on this gallery. I will do my best to put these in chronological order so that you can see the fall evolve and change from yellow/green to pure gold to yellow brown to light snow on the peaks. Hope you enjoy and click on any image to view in slideshow mode.

OK…Now onto the moose. A little backstory first. Jen has always wanted to see a moose in the wild. We have been to so many places in our lives where folks we were with or folks we meet on our trips saw a moose. We drove up to Rabbit Ears to look at the fall colors and were driving along an old, abandoned highway. I spotted two and was so excited to see two moose along the side of the road. Our windows were down and I yelled “MOOSE!” so loudly I startled them. Thankfully they simply started wandering into the woods parallel to another road and we followed from a distance. The two moose stopped in this incredibly beautiful and scenic little valley. I took some pics but quickly stopped once I found out what I was photographing. This may go down as my most popular and controversial wildlife photo ever!

I also wanted to take a moment to thank my brother Scott and his wife Stephanie for letting us stay in their beautiful home while they were actually back in Minnesota. I can’t thank you both enough for the experience. We fell in love Steamboat and left feeling so fortunate. Sincerely, thank you!

Next up: Vignettes of Steamboat Springs – A Riding Paradise!

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