At the end of May, after exactly two years in Denver, my boyfriend Steve and I are packing our bags, selling whatever belongings won’t fit in a car, and starting the phase we’ve both dreamed about for years: traveling around the world, living wherever we feel drawn to. We want to deeply experience all sorts of places–small towns, rural areas, big cities, places with great nature, towns on the ocean, towns in the mountains, and places with all different cultures and vibes, whether in a different part of the country or halfway around the world. Our first stop? Duluth, Minnesota. But, more on that later…this post is about Denver.
This change is exciting–of course–but leaving Denver is pretty bittersweet, because it’s been an amazing home to me for the past two years. So, before I leave, I want to make the most of my last few weeks here, by re-living my highlight reel of favorite things in Denver and finally checking off those things I’ve had on my “must-do” list but have never gotten around to. Steve and I sat down to write out a bucket list for our last 7 weeks in Colorado, including some old favorites and some never-done-before’s; some outdoor adventures and some only-in-Denver activities, but all things we can’t wait to do.
Here’s what we came up with:
1. Ski at least once more before closing day
I don’t know when I’ll next be in a place with easy access to skiing (let alone killer Rocky Mountain skiing), so I need to squeeze in at least one more great ski day before the season is totally over.
2. Learn to line dance at the Grizzly Rose
The Grizzly Rose is easily one of the most unique spots in the Denver bar scene, and one of the coolest to me personally. I’m a fan of it because it’s this authentic country bar, which brings together such a uniquely Denver mix of real-deal cowboys, country-music-loving city folk (i.e. me), and fascinated observers just there to take it all in. They offer free dance lessons, and while I’ve learned a somewhat-passable two-step, I still have no idea how everyone knows what moves to break out for a particular song, and I’m pretty envious. Sign. Me. Up.
3. Climb at least one more 14er
I haven’t done a 14er (peak over 14,000ft) yet this season, and I’m itching to climb one more before we lose our chance. We’re thinking either Sherman or Long’s, depending on conditions/safety.
4. Do another hike in Rocky Mountain National Park
I’m convinced RMNP is one of the most stunning National Parks, and we are ridiculously spoiled to live so close to it. I know I’ll kick myself if I don’t stop by for a quick visit once more before we leave.
5. Visit the History Colorado Center
Colorado’s history is fascinating, and I’m ashamed to admit I haven’t yet been to the History Colorado Center, which is supposed to be a phenomenal museum.
6. See one more play
Denver has a thriving arts scene, and it brings in some awesome shows. We’ve made it a point to see at least a couple shows each year–and thanks to the Denver Public Library, we’re able to see many of them for free or extremely cheap–and we’re trying to squeeze in one more before we leave.
7. Go backpacking in Great Sand Dunes National Park
Somehow I have gone 2 years here without visiting the Dunes–shameful, I know. I can’t leave Colorado without visiting this treasure, so we’ve already planned a backpacking trip in the Dunes for early May. Suffice it to say, I am extremely excited.
8. Have another lazy park day
I love Denver’s parks, and one of my favorite summer activities is packing up a picnic and grabbing some frisbees or a volleyball and spending all day soaking in the sun at either Cheesman or Wash Park. We’ll be squeezing (at least) one more of these days in before we leave.
9. Do one more low-key (non-backpacking) camping trip
Nothing kicks off summer better than a low-key, rejuvenating night of sleeping under the stars, so what better way to close out my time in CO and kick off the next adventure than doing one last awesome camping trip with friends? Plus, there are way too many beautiful places to camp in Colorado to not visit at least one more in these last few weeks.
Enough writing, time to start checking some of these off.