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30 Before 30

April 17, 2013

*This post is being continuously updated as I cross items off the list!*

So last week was my 28th birthday.  Twenty-eight is kind of a nothing age, but I’m grateful to have had another wonderful year and have been feeling warm and fuzzy inside from all the love in my life.  Thanks to everyone who went out of their way to make me feel special on my birthday, and to those of you who do it every day!

Anyway, being a bit of a stop-over on the way to 30, my 28th birthday got me thinking about making one of those 30 Before 30 lists I’ve seen floating around the interwebs.  Specifically, I want to make a list of places to see and adventures to have in the next two years.  These aren’t major life goals, just things I want to remind myself to get around to over the next couple of years.  And because I work full-time and am listing out 30 things, they’re mostly nearby and not all terribly ambitious.  In no particular order…

1. Visit Garden of the Gods down near Colorado Springs.  This is one of those destinations in easy driving distance that I’ve somehow not seen yet.

2.  Get up to the Boston area to visit my Nana. (Done – Labor Day Weekend 2013!)

3.  Get back to my old stomping grounds in Washington, D.C. to visit my sister and her husband and my many wonderful friends who still live there.

Cherry Blossoms

I used to live right down the street from the Chinatown Friendship Archway in D.C.

I used to live right down the street from the Chinatown Friendship Archway in D.C.

4. Get back on my mountain bike for some beautiful rides like I did when I first moved to Vail 5 years ago.  Since then I had a couple crashes and turned into a wimp… no longer.  I will get back on!

Mountaintop View5.  Take a girls weekend trip with my childhood best friends.  (Our trip to the Outer Banks was a blast! Recaps here and here.)

6.  Go camping.  (I had a blast! Recap here.)

7.  Visit Moab, UT.  (I camped in Moab in October 2013 and it was just as beautiful as I’d anticipated! Recaps here and here.)

8.Visit Paonia, one of Colorado’s other wine regions.  (Recaps here, here and here)

Willamette Valley wine country from my trip to Portland in March.

Willamette Valley vineyards from my trip to Portland in March.

9.  Go somewhere tropical, just me and the boyfriend.  We are lucky enough to do a lot of traveling together, usually to visit friends or family.  Spending time with our loved ones is usually the highlight of those trips, but I also think it’d be really great to just get away on our own, ya know?  Preferably somewhere like this:

Grand Cayman

10.  Find a supplemental source of income to fund all of these trips.

11.  Hike at least two more 14ers (mountains over 14,000 ft.).  These hikes are long and require an early start and a decent amount of planning ahead, but are well worth it for the views and feeling of accomplishment at the top.  Check out these shots from the top of Mt. Bierstadt, the only 14er I’ve hiked so far.

Mt. Bierstadt

Mt. Bierstadt View

12.  Visit Crested Butte.  And hopefully stop off along the way for a few of the activities in the agenda I outlined in this post.

13.  Ride the Glenwood Canyon bike trail.  I love to get out on my road bike in the summer and have always thought the path winding through this famous canyon looked cool.  The fact that I haven’t ridden it yet is just silly.

14.  Take an intentional scenic drive when the aspens are turning.  I specify intentional because I’ve taken some beautiful drives during peak aspen season for work, but I want to take one sometime when I can truly stop and smell the roses take photos not from a moving vehicle.

First snow on golden aspens.  Don't worry - my boss was driving!

First snow on golden aspens. Don’t worry – my boss was driving!

15.  Do a brewery tour in Ft. Collins.  Ft. Collins, just an hour north of Denver, is arguably the beer capital of Colorado.  I’m finally starting to cultivate a true appreciation for beer, so I’d love to tour a bunch of the micro-breweries up there.  Preferably on a bike.

16.  Take a truly spontaneous trip.  No plans, no expectations.  (Is it cheating if it’s spontaneous because it’s a surprise? I don’t think so either.)

17.  Improve my photography skills to capture it all.  The new camera I received as a birthday gift from my parents should help greatly with this.  My iPhone 4S serves me well (and will probably continue to take a lot of the pictures you see here because it’s always on me), but I’m excited to be able to do more and take better pictures.

18.  Find a better balance between photographing every moment and just taking them all in.  I tend to be all or nothing in this respect, and neither one is ideal.

19.  Visit Mesa Verde National Park in Southwestern Colorado.

20.  Learn some Spanish.  This has been a half-hearted goal of mine for years now.  It would be helpful at home and hugely helpful abroad, I just need some motivation.  Perhaps #9?


21.  Try kiteboarding.  My boyfriend is obsessed with the sport, and it’s starting to rub off on me.  Not to the point of obsession, but definitely to the point where I want to give it a shot.

22.  Visit Estes Park/Rocky Mountain National Park, or at least drive through a portion.  Perhaps stay at The Stanley hotel where The Shining was set?  Either way, it’s supposed to be gorgeous.

23. Try stand-up paddle boarding.  I’ve been wanting to give it a shot for a while and was actually supposed to go last summer on the Colorado River, but I waited until too late in the summer and the weather turned cold, so I’m still holding the rain check. (Recap of the time I tried SUP in Ft. Lauderdale)

24. Hike to the top of the Gore Range.  The dramatic ridge line of the Gore frames my view every day.  I think it would be fantastic to hike to the top and look out over my valley.

The Gore Range towering above Piney Lake.

The Gore Range towering above Piney Lake.

25. Go on a hut trip.  There are huts scattered around the mountains of Colorado that you can reserve for overnight stays – not quite camping, but far from a hotel.  You can ski or snowshoe up to your hut over the winter or hike during the summer.  I’ve never done a hut trip and can’t wait. (Went on a summer hut trip and loved every moment: Recaps herehere and here)

26. Watch the sunrise from the top of a mountain.  This could easily be accomplished during #25.  (Caught the sunrise on my hut trip and it was unbelievably gorgeous!)

27.  Visit Royal Gorge.  This beautiful site is only about three hours away and must have some beautiful hiking.

28.  Another Pacific Northwest trip.  Seattle, the Oregon coast… our Portland trip gave me just enough of a taste of this region to know I want more!

Multnomah Falls outside of Portland, OR.

Multnomah Falls outside of Portland, OR.

29.  Visit the Grand Canyon.

30.  Spend time in at least a couple of the beautiful National Parks in my backyard… Zion, Bryce, etc. (So far I’ve Visited Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park in March 2013, done a full-moon hike in Arches National Park and another hike in Canyonlands.  I hope I’m not done though and would love to visit a few more in the next year or so!)

This is more of a wish list than anything… I know it’s pretty ambitious in two years’ time, and if I’m not able to cross everything off, I will certainly have fun trying.  I’ll be sure to check in and update this page along the way with links to recaps.  I’m also sure I’ve forgotten places that I’ve been talking about visiting, and know that there are millions of great destinations out there that I’ve never even heard of before… So much to SEE!

What about you – what’s on your travel bucket list in the long-term or immediate future?

17 Comments leave one →
  1. April 17, 2013 5:32 pm

    I LOVE #5! Me and 2 of my closest girlfriends each turn 30 within 3 weeks of each other and we’re taking a birthday trip (out your way actually) when the time comes – which is pretty soon! Eeeek!

    • April 18, 2013 8:36 am

      Awesome! I’m so excited for my trip too – my girls and I have been talking about doing a trip together pretty much ever since we graduated from high school, it it’s obviously been a while. There’s nothing like some quality time with your best girlfriends – have a happy birthday and a wonderful trip!

  2. April 17, 2013 7:17 pm

    Happy birthday! I’m working on one of these lists too (sadly 30 has been and gone so it’s 40 by 40 for me!) and we have a few in common – one of mine is visiting ten US National Parks and I have Mesa Verde, Arches, Canyonlands and the Grand Canyon coming up in the next couple of weeks and I’ve just been to Zion and Bryce Canyon. Fabulous part of the world to live in, you’re very lucky!

    • April 18, 2013 8:40 am

      Thank you! I can’t wait to read all about your trip – just reading your itinerary started my wheels spinning, so I can’t wait to read your recaps. I really am lucky to have so many great places in my backyard and need to get exploring! Looking forward to reading your 40 by 40 list – with the way you scoot around the world I’m sure it’ll put my little list to shame 🙂

  3. April 18, 2013 1:18 am

    Happy birthday! I want to visit the Grand Canyon as well. Hoping to this summer for my birthday.

    • April 18, 2013 10:58 am

      Thank you! I’m so glad you commented because now I’ve discovered your blog and can’t stop reading – I’m now officially dying to go to Kauai (I’ve always wanted to go, but am now gripped by a feeling of MUSTGONOW). Can’t wait to read about your trip to the Grand Canyon – have fun!

  4. April 22, 2013 4:00 pm

    this is so inspiring! #25….count me and Sean in. We’ve been wanting to do a hut trip forever. Your blog gives me the most refreshing break from work! Oh and #5 is something I’ve been trying to do with my childhood girlfriends too and somehow our schedules never align. I think this is a must though to do so very soon 🙂

    • April 22, 2013 4:57 pm

      Thanks Lindy! We should definitely try to get a group together for a hut trip this summer – I think it’d be a blast and probably a little easier logistically than doing a winter one. It’s been way too long since I saw you guys – hopefully we will be down in Denver a bit soon since it’ll be slow around here for a while. And me and my girls had the hardest time finding a date for a trip too… finally we found a weekend that would work (July 4th) so I just booked a plane ticket to lock us all in and figured the rest would work itself out!

      • April 24, 2013 8:49 am

        We should plan a group hut trip and start looking at weekends since summer is just around the corner! When will you be back in Denver? We’d love to get together… has been wayyyy too long!


  1. Surprise Birthday Getaway | Peaks and Passports
  2. Hiking the Black Canyon | Peaks and Passports
  3. SUP in Ft. Lauderdale | Peaks and Passports
  4. From Sunset to Sunrise | Peaks and Passports
  5. My First Camping Trip – Green Mountain Reservoir | Peaks and Passports
  6. My “Peaks” of 2013 – Year in Review | Peaks and Passports
  7. Top Posts of 2013 | Peaks and Passports
  8. 30 Before 30 Update | Peaks and Passports

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