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30 Before 30 Update

April 10, 2015

On the eve of my 30th birthday, I think I’d better check in on the progress I’ve made toward my 30
Before 30 list.  On my 28th birthday, I decided to put together a list of 30 travel and adventure-related goals to accomplish before I turned 30.  I loved the idea of putting in writing my agenda for the coming years, but never intended to stick religiously to that list.  It’s a good thing, because while I’m proud of the progress I’ve made there are definitely a few that I haven’t gotten to – yet.  That said, I’ve crossed off quite a few in the last few months, including…

1. Visit Garden of the Gods near Colorado Springs.

Garden of the Gods

I visited Colorado Springs with my mom in September and had one of those wonderful trips where we crossed off every single thing I wanted to do and see.  High on that list was Garden of the Gods.  It was actually a lot smaller than I’d anticipated, but the striking rock formations jutting out around us were gorgeous.

Garden of the Gods

Garden of the Gods Kissing Camels

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.

Washington, D.C.

I snuck this one in on my Whirlwind East Coast Tour, and unfortunately wasn’t able to meet up with any of my friends due to last-minute planning and crappy timing.  Even so, I had fun wandering through the Memorials and then visiting my sister and her husband in the nearby suburb of Great Falls.  We spent an afternoon exploring the falls themselves, which were way cooler than I had imagined.

Great Falls

Great Falls

4. Get back on my mountain bike for some beautiful rides.

Mountain Biking Vail

I’ve been terrified of mountain biking ever since I had a few scary falls back-to-back about 5 years ago.  I took baby steps last summer, riding some of the area’s less aggressive trails with my very patient friends.  I managed to avoid hurting myself and loved being back on two wheels in the woods!  This spring and summer I have committed to spending more time back in the saddle.

12.  Visit Crested Butte.

Crested Butte Hike

I squeezed this one in as a part of a work trip.  On the way to visit my friends and colleagues in nearby Gunnison, I left a few hours early and stopped in Crested Butte.  I only had time for a quick hike and lunch at a local Mexican restaurant, so it was just enough time to realize that 1. The town seems as awesome as I’d hoped, and 2. I need to go back with more time to spare.

Crested Butte Hike

Crested Butte

15.  Do a brewery tour in Ft. Collins.

Fort Collins Bike and Beer Tour

My brilliant friend Melissa turned to my 30 Before 30 list when looking for a 29th birthday present for me and gave me a gift certificate for a Bike and Beer Tour in Ft. Collins, CO.  (Amazing gift, right?)  Ft. Collins is known for having an obscene number of craft breweries as well as being a generally cool place to hang out.  I’d never been there before and had a blast.  I invited a friend who lives in the area to join me for the tour, and we spent a fantastic afternoon biking to five different breweries and tasting delicious beer.

New Belgium Brewery

I was on a stout kick and enjoyed comparing the offerings at well-known stops like Odell’s and New Belgium, as well as their lesser-known neighbors.  My favorite beer of the day was Sad Panda Stout (love the name!) at Horse & Dragon Brewing Company.

Horse and Dragon Brewing

22.  Visit Estes Park/Rocky Mountain National Park.

I actually accomplished this one on the drive home from Fort Collins.  It’s not the most direct route, but Rocky Mountain National Park is situated between FoCo and my home of Edwards, CO.  I entered via Estes Park, the picturesque town at the eastern edge of the park.  In Estes, I stopped to grab some breakfast and check out the town.  Totally by accident I ended up at the Stanley Hotel, where The Shining was filmed.  Of course, I ducked in to check it out.

The Stanley Hotel Estes ParkThen, I stopped at a nearby ranger station to ask for a hiking recommendation.  I wanted something invigorating with great views that wouldn’t take me too deep into the wilderness because I was hiking alone.  I opted for Deer Mountain, which ended with summit views across the park toward Longs Peak.  It was exactly what I was looking for, and there’s something about summiting a mountain that makes me feel so accomplished.

Deer Mountain RMNP


Longs Peak from RMNP

Post-hike, I drove all the way through the park on the famous Trail Ridge Road, which is the highest continuous paved road in the United States, stopping at the scenic overlooks to take in the views.

Trail Ridge Road

Trail Ridge Road

I came out near Grand Lake, another site I’d wanted to see.  So I stopped there to wander around and eat a leisurely – and much-needed – lunch.

Grand Lake

It was a great day and I wasn’t upset at all that the 3-hour journey home from Ft. Collins turned into a 10-hour adventure.

So, a with one day left in my twenties, I am 17 for 30 on my list.  Not the most impressive record, I’ll admit, BUT the most important thing is that I’ve had a blast chipping away at the list.  Plus, I’ve had adventures and visited places that I hadn’t even envisioned two years ago.  Never content to stop exploring, I’ve already got an ambitious to-do list for this spring and summer and am already starting to think of an epic sequel to complete before I turn 40 (eek!).

2 Comments leave one →
  1. April 10, 2015 7:16 pm

    I’m a little ashamed of having lived in Colorado for 20 years and not having seen a lot of these places. I need to get to work. Love your pictures of the Rockies!

  2. Janet Mercer permalink
    April 12, 2015 9:47 am

    What a beautiful blog. Loved every word of it! And the pics were so super. Thanks and happy tripping! Love. nana

    Sent from my I pad.

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