I recently traveled with a dear friend to the Colorado Rocky Mountains. The purpose of the trip was to celebrate my 60thbirthday. I decided some time ago that I wanted to experience my birthday in a healthy open-air environment. My friend of over 25 years agreed to take this journey with me. Honestly, it didn’t take much persuasion as she is very much about experiencing the great outdoors.

After a couple of dinner meetings, cocktails and hovering over travel books we picked out destinations. Although I have been to the mountains several times in my life, Karen had not. She was excited about our trip. We both had our own assignments. I was in charge of picking out the towns and lodging and she was in charge of the events and experiences. This worked so very well and needed very little tweaking.

Our trip was to take 8 days and we both decided to pack as much in (and as much as our suitcases would carry) as possible. We did a fair amount of cussing each time we had to schlep our overstuffed suitcases up flights of stairs! Neither of us showed much interest in hotel lodging. We were all about the experience of connecting with spaces and people. I chose bed and breakfasts, cabins and a boutique inn. We were not disappointed. Each place had a different vibe and getting to know the owners and innkeepers proved to be an added bonus.

Innkeepers who love what they do have a calmness about them. It proved to be true each time we checked into a place. One place in particular stands out. Unfortunately, we only stayed one night. The property owners were relatively young with small children , huskies and cats running around. There were approximately 6 cabins on several acres and they were nicely spaced out on the hillside. Our cabin was beautifully appointed. The owners had really thought of everything. The beds were comfortable, the bathroom (although quite small) was clean and stocked with everything we needed and the kitchen was quite functional with great detail to what would be required to cook without being cluttered. Outside were well maintained Adirondack chairs around a fire pit with a great supply of firewood. This compound was 7 miles outside of Crested Butte. As we departed, the snow began to fall and I remember thinking I wished we could have stayed longer to enjoy the snow. It was a very serene property.

Our purpose for the trip was to experience the great outdoors and we did plenty of that. We hiked up to Hanging Lake and Maroon Bells. We rode bikes along The Colorado River and took full advantage of the hot springs whenever we could.

It was a lovely trip. I had plenty of quiet time during our hikes up the steep, rocky terrain. (Partially due to the fact I was huffing and puffing too hard to speak.) During those times, I tried to contemplate my life moving forward and how the next decade would play out. I also made a mental note to be mindful and grateful for all that I have and how I might find a way to give back in a meaningful way.

Connections are vital. I meet all sorts of people: As an innkeeper and as a guest. I enjoy chatting with people and getting to know their story. We met so many interesting people along the way. Karen has a wonderful gift of engagement and she knows just how to draw someone out. It was so fun to watch. She also managed to get us some free drinks that way! A story for another time.

I highly recommend taking time out to enjoy nature. America has some of the most beautiful parks in the world. Right in our own back yard. The air is fresh and the wildlife is abundant. Clears the cobwebs… I plan to make my 60thyear an active one. Look out! We are making plans for next year already!

Stay well!

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