July 3, 2017

Conquering My Colorado Summer Bucket List

This weekend was my first back in Colorado in seemingly forever, since I was only home for 18 hours last weekend. And as a bonus burst of excitement, this was a holiday weekend! My office is closed for a five day weekend (Saturday through Wednesday), and most people are taking off Thursday and Friday as well so I’ll probably only work a few hours each day and then take PTO for the rest. What a treat to be home and without (much) work for ten days straight!

Over the last few weeks, I’ve been creating a “Colorado summer bucket list” of activities I want to get out and try. The summers always fly by so fast that I feel like it’s over before I even realize I need to get things on the calendar! This year I want to try to step outside of my comfort zone and actually do all the neat activities my friends tell me they love. Here’s my list, in no particular order:

  • Attend Jazz in City Park
  • Attend some sort of event at Red Rocks (really, this should be a concert, but I’m not thrilled with any of the performers playing weekends, and I don’t know if there will be any weekdays that I can be in Colorado)
  • Hike to a picnic
  • Go camping for real (aka not just solo camping where I pack / eat a sandwich for dinner)
  • See an outdoor movie
  • Make popsicles (simple but oh-so-summery!)
  • Get ice cream at Little Man Ice Cream (I frequent Sweet Cow a lot but haven’t yet made it to Little Man)
  • See a Rockies game (easy, as I have a work event already planned at Coors Field)
  • Go stand up paddleboarding
  • Go whitewater rafting or kayaking
  • Eat at the original Beau Jo’s in Idaho Springs (preferably on my way back from a full day mountain adventure)
  • Visit a hot spring (again, preferably after a tiring mountain adventure)
  • Climb the Manitou Incline
  • Run with a burro (yes, this is a thing. I am not 100% sure I really want to try it but maybe?)
  • Go to Waterworld
  • Go sailing (I took sailing lessons in the summer as a kid but haven’t done it in years)
  • Spend an afternoon in a mountain town
  • Go mountain biking (I still haven’t tried this even though I bought a mountain bike two years ago)
  • Do a brewery tour on bikes
  • Go wine tasting (love doing this out in Palisades!)

So with that very long list in mind, I kicked off the weekend with one of the items I’ve wanted to try since I moved here: getting out on the water. Colorado may not have coastline, but we do have rivers with some pretty fantastic rapids, and this Saturday I headed out with a group of friends to try whitewater kayaking for the first time.

From Denver it was less than an hour to Conifer, and we dropped one car at the confluence of North and South Platte Rivers before heading upstream. The beginning of our kayaking adventure was in very calm waters, and it was pretty much just one big float while sipping beers in the sun. Relaxing!

This has got to be one of the least flattering photos ever taken of me, between the awkward angle and the lifevest on my chest and the fact that you can see my shorts under my running skirt. But I didn’t really care at the time 🙂

But after stopping for lunch at the confluence, we then headed further downstream… and that’s where it got exciting. I was in a two-person kayak with my friend Christina, while her brother Joe and his friend Brad were manning solo kayaks each. But when the rapids turned rough, it was Christina and I who managed to stay in our boat and even attempt a rescue of one of the loose kayaks, as both Joe and Brad fell out of their boats and had to swim out.

I was told these are class 3+ rapids that we went down. Girl power!!

To further my feeling of badassery, we learned when we got to the take-out (the calm spot where you can exit the river) that the reason the water had been so rough was that we had gone further than intended… and we now had a two mile hike uphill back to the car. I felt like I had spent most of the day just sitting in my kayak and I wanted a bit more of a workout, so rather than team up with Christina in dragging the double, I shouldered one of the single kayaks and managed to carry all 50 pounds of it back uphill to the car by myself. I always get a kick out of completing random physical feats that I don’t expect are within my abilities, and so this was one of the highlights of the day! (Though my collarbone is still sore where I was resting the kayak’s lip on it.)

But in all seriousness, the kayaking through the rapids was so much fun. I think the group expected that I would like the relaxing part of the day better, but I just loved figuring out our lines, paddling hard to get where we needed to go, flying down the drops, and splashing through the waves – even when I was basically inhaling water up my nose. It was just so exhilarating and fun! I don’t think I’d be brave enough to go kayaking completely on my own, but maybe I’ll go with a group again and try a solo boat? This expedition is definitely something I want to try again rather than be a one-and-done!

Any Colorado residents (or past visitors) have tips on things to add to my bucket list? Or better still, who wants to join me for any of these adventures?? 🙂


8 thoughts on “Conquering My Colorado Summer Bucket List”

  1. Whoa…just continue in your tradition of not telling me the scary parts until you are known “alive and well” afterwards! Mom

  2. I have a question on the “Run with a burro” entry on your Colorado bucket list – Is that like a running with the bulls type of thing, where there’s an angry burro trying to stomp on you, or is that like going on a run with a burro as a running buddy? Hopefully it’s the 2nd! I once rode a burro down into a canyon, and it seemed pretty nice. Maybe they just separate out the nice burros to be ridden on though.

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