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Ghost towns, cliff falls and mountain air

There is no ocean here. The waves do not crash on the shore that I am so used to walking along. Usually, I am traveling in between San Diego, San Francisco and Seattle and have seen the west coast in thousands of different places. This trip to Colorado was my first time traveling to a land-locked American state, at least for more than a few days. Here, the mountains orient the locals and loom over the old haunted ghost towns and Victorian mansions filled with ancient stories and ravenous hikers.

Realizing that you are land-locked can be a culture shock of sorts. That could be why Colorado natives are so friendly, they know that there won’t be any tsunamis anytime soon. You can’t understand the term “wild, wild west” until you experience the calm demeanor and unquenchable thirst for adventure of a Mid-Westerner.

My trip consisted of: climbing 3,000 ft to a mountain summit, jumping 20 ft into a cove(next time will be 30 I promised myself), watching three local indie bands in a run down tavern, scarfing down Italian food made by an Italian family and getting caught in a storm in the Rocky mountains.

To fit in here, you better love local beer and climbing things. By things I really mean things, because there is nothing that a Coloradian won’t climb or discover. For example , as my two tour guides drove me through the Rockies, we had to examine the multitude of different rocks by the highway and assess them as either: climbable or climbable. Bottom line: work out those fore-arms before taking a trip here.

On the last full day spent in Colorado, I drove with my tour guides to a local watering hole known as Paradise Cove. As we made the descent into the cove guarded by huge Lord of the Rings-esque boulders, we found groups of dare devils with local brews in their hands that were only put down if they needed to jump the cliff into the water. After a few cliff dives, we took a short hike to a prairie overlook that gave us an amazing view of the post-storm valley:

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