Estes Park, Colorado

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Last August Skyler and I flew to Denver, Colorado for an interview I had. Colorado has always held a special place in my heart (Skyler proposed to me at a scenic outlook near Cañon City back in 2016). While we were there, we decided to go check out Rocky Mountain National Park located in Estes Park.

Backstory: A few months before we flew to Denver, we met a good friend in Deep Ellum, Dallas at a bar for drinks. A man who our friend was hanging out with was talking to us about my upcoming interview and actually used his airline points to buy our plane tickets for us. Crazy right?! That kind of stuff never happens to me and we were just blown away by his generosity. All he told us was that he wanted to do something good and to pay it forward, so hopefully we can do something meaningful for someone else soon.

So it was Skyler’s first time flying, and before we left we were both experiencing quite a bit of anxiety. I wanted to make sure he was comfortable during the flight, didn’t forget anything important, and also knew what to do when going through airport security. Our flight was super early in the morning, but luckily getting through security and boarding was pretty seamless. I don’t know if it was super windy or our pilot was having a bad day, but the turbulence was pretty anxiety-inducing on the flight. Once we landed, we were so surprised at just how cool the Denver airport is. We both had seen videos over all the conspiracy theories about the airport, but honestly it was just really nice and well-layed out to us. Plus, using that train was just too cool.

We used the Turo app to rent an older Jeep Liberty because we knew we wanted to drive around the city to see different things. We also booked an amazing Airbnb in Congress Park. (If you sign up with Airbnb using this link, you’ll receive $40 in Airbnb travel credit and I will receive $20 in travel credit once a stay has been completed.)

As soon as we landed we grabbed some food then headed straight up to Estes Park. We drove straight through Boulder and I’m so sad to say that we didn’t stop to check it out (next time though!).

The drive to Estes was absolutely gorgeous. The weather was perfectly sunshiney, the radio was playing the best music, and the Jeep climbed every mountain with no issue. As we first drove into Estes we stopped at a scenic outlook to take some photos. I could kick myself for not bringing my camera, but I wasn’t documenting things then like I do now. I took some photos with my iphone but they really didn’t do the mountains any justice. It’s frustrating to see a gigantic, gorgeous, awe-inspiring mountain in person but have so much difficulty capturing its size on a camera.

We found the entrance to Rocky Mountain National Park and got a map from the information center. From there, we basically just drove around to check out as much of the park as we could. We ended up at Bear Lake, which sits in the heart of the park at an elevation of 9,450 ft. From there we hiked the Bear Lake Loop, an easy trail of only 0.6 miles. The crisp mountain air was so different from the humid heat I’m used to in Dallas. It was an absolutely beautiful place to be and I seriously recommend for everyone to visit at least once in their lives. After our short hike we drove the 10+ miles back into the little mountain town of Estes Park. We stopped outside the infamous Stanley Hotel, known for inspiring Stephen King’s The Shining. As much as we wanted to go in and check it out, we just took a photo from the outside because we were so exhausted from the plane trip and drive. We did a little more driving around, grabbed some coffee for the road, and headed back to Denver to prepare for my interview the next morning at 8:00 AM.

I’ve also included a few other photos in this post of my time in Denver. We visited Pizzeria Locale to meet up with an old friend, and also got to see some cool mural wall art.

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