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I moved to Colorado!

So, it turns out moving is tough – who knew? I’m sure you did, but you know who did not? Me. This may come as a surprise to you, considering all of the moving I have done over the past six years. But I would contend my moves over that time were not real moves.

By that, I mean each of my moves did not require moving all of my stuff to an entirely new location. For example, I have moved seven times over the past six years. Between 2015 and 2019 alone, I moved to Ankeny, Osage, Ankeny again, D.C., and back to Ankeny.

It is a simple matter to move around the country for political work when you are younger, do not yet have your own kids, and can rely on storing most of your possessions at your parents’ houses. It’s a bit tougher when you plan to move for a more permanent sense.

But while I have been procrastinating on this post, I have had the opportunity to familiarize myself some with Colorado and some of the (relatively) nearby scenery I was so excited to see. My new residence is only an hour and a half away from Rocky Mountain National Park and all its offerings. My fellow Iowans may recognize that as “not that far” of a drive to go see some mountains.

Not to mention, the drive to RMNP is spectacular in its own right. St. Catherine of Siena Chapel (above), also called Chapel on the Rock, is along my favorite path to the park. Just off Highway 7, it’s easy to get to and only hints at the views to come.

Further north and in the park proper, there are a multitude of trails to choose from. Before setting off on my hike earlier last month, the longest hike I had been on was just over six miles in the Brainard Lake Recreation Area. However, I felt like pushing myself and going for eight miles up to a place called Sky Pond. If only I hadn’t started at the wrong trailhead… and taken a wrong turn. My eight mile hike stretched into twelve, and my camera died before reaching my destination. I did manage to capture this photo of a place called the Loch, on the trail to Sky Pond. It’s only about three steep miles to get to it – provided you start in the right place!

Off the trail and further up Trail Ridge Road, the Alpine Visitor Center is a must-stop for any day trip into the park. It’s the highest visitor center in the entire National Park Service at 11,796 feet above sea level (3,695m) and is directly accessible by road (in the summer). It is arguably the coolest place to get a coffee around here, served with a free side of vertigo for the weak.

On the other side of the park, past the continental divide, the Colorado River snakes westerly through some incredible valleys. On a different morning, I drove down some pretty sketchy gravel roads without any particular destination in mind. This photo was taken near Rancho Del Rio, a camping and recreation community just off the banks of the river.

Further upriver - and up a steep road - this view of rapids on the Colorado River was visible from the Gore Valley Overlook:

I will post more landscape photos to my gallery over the next week or so. Truthfully, between the exhausting unpacking and the challenging work of, well, my new work, I have not found a lot of time to explore much of Denver proper. Plus, city photography is kind of a different skillset separate from the one I enjoy in landscapes and the environment.

But to abate some mystery surrounding my new haunt, I hope you enjoy this photo I took just down the road from my new place:

And yes, I am aware I am already behind on drawing winners for free prints! I’ll chalk that up to the move, too. I'll draw two at the end of the month, so you and your friends will have more time to sign up for new posts (and I'll have more time to figure out the email campaigns).

Thanks for reading and fly safe!

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