Summit County Colorado with a dash of Moab Utah

I arrived on a Sunday afternoon earlier this month. The Denver airport seems to be in a field in the middle of nowhere, a lot was explained after I was told the there is nothing east of Denver (the easternmost edge of the airport presumably marking the beginning of the nothing zone). A day later, after making our way back to the airport to drop off a fellow traveler who was headed back to Georgia I noticed a large blue horse with glowing red eyes. We circled around the airport a few times because we felt like it (not really, we misread). I never got a solid explanation but I read something about talks of the devil horse being removed but despite criticism it’s very likely to stay. Welcome to Denver.

The weather is fantastic. During my stay I often got the “oh your from Georgia, must be nice to get away from the humidity” and on the route back through security “oh your going back to Georgia, I bet it was nice to get away from the humidity at least for a little while.” Yeah, humidity, something Colorado doesn’t have. Colorado has bubbly clouds, epic mountains, and cool crisp skin-clearing lung-renewing air. If you couple the sky and the mountains with a great soundtrack, you indubitably have a Tolkien film. 

If you find yourself in Summit County and its not winter time, take a bike ride around the Dillon Reservoir through Keystone and stop at The Pour House for a fantastic cup of coffee and some good live music. Fact, Colorado baristas play an average of 7 instruments. At night, take a scenic road through Dillon and end up at Loveland Pass for some incredible stargazing. Take it easy going up as 12,000 ft of altitude will surely have you huffing and puffing trying to catch up to the locals. Sitting on top of the pass watching shooting stars and seeing the milky way is no longer just the stuff of lame lyrics, your there right in the middle of it. You realize how puny you are, totally inconsequential, but in a grandiose non-self -esteem shattering sort of way. Try the Huevos Rancheros at the Arapahoe Café with a combination of chili Verde and red sauces, you wont need to eat for the rest of the day or if your super small the rest of the trip. If you get the chance, hit up Chimayo for some delicious Baja fish burritos and ask them to pile on the white sauce.

I know it sounds like advertising but I love food. I love coffee. I love live music. And I really shouldn’t have to explain myself.

If your like me and haven’t had enough awesome between Denver and Summit County, head out to Mowaab Eutaw. Be warned, you’ll need more time than the 2 days I allotted.  Between the hiking at Arches National Park (I only had time for one trail) and kayaking the Colorado River, there was no time for anything else. I wanted to try some rock climbing and do some of the more difficult hikes at Arches but I will be saving those for my next trip to this idyllically rugged desert town. I really enjoyed my bean stew at the Fiesta Mexicana (it’s not on the menu, they just make their beans in a stewy fashion) and the coffee at the Eklecticafe.

Maybe on your last day, you’ll save some time to walk around Denver. A sushi place called Hapa was recommended to me and it definitely came through, the Magic Mushrooms (it’s an appetizer, its sad that I should even have to clarify) set the tone for the meal. If you have been looking for Ume Shiso Maki (plum roll) all over the United States after experiencing it in New York, you’ll find it here. Denver is bustling with great nightlife and just walking through some of the crowded streets is entertaining. Piano playing hobos, people with gas masks spray painting pictures and banana nutella gelato. If you’re into bookstores, the tattered cover downtown has a large collection of new/used. I bought a book about J.D. Salinger for $2 bucks. You really can’t beat that with a baseball bat.

The REI flagship store is here, I ran out of cash but I did use their bathrooms to brush my teeth. When someone walked in, I looked at them like they were in my house and it made for some confusion. I wasn’t camping, but ever since I got braces I tend to brush my teeth in public restrooms. I’ve never seen anyone else do it so it makes me feel pretty exceptional.

There’s also tons of movie theaters that play some not so mainstream films. I did see Almodovar’s I’m So Excited while I was in the city- I think it wasn’t his best work but I am a huge fan, huge. I wanted to see Blue Jasmine but it wasn’t playing until a few days later. I did see it last night in Sandy Springs and thought it was incredibly done, maybe one of Allen’s greatest.

Anyways, this isn’t a film review. Go out there and travel. 

Photos by Chappelle Cummings

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