My obsession began within seconds of seeing the “Welcome to Colorado” sign.

“So, we’re definitely going to see some mountains today, right?” I asked.

“Yup. Just wait,” Tony replied.

“OK,” I said, squirming around in my seat as I craned my neck to and fro, hoping a little extra height would allow me to catch a glimpse of some snow-capped peaks somewhere across the disappointingly smooth terrain. But it was hopeless. As far as my eyes could see, it was flat. A pretty flat, as golden plains rolled out to meet the cornflower blue sky, but flat nonetheless.

“It’s just that I REALLY want to see some mountains, while we’re in Colorado,” I mentioned a couple of minutes later, on the off chance that—in the intervening time since I had last stated it and now—Tony had forgotten my primary sightseeing mission for the state.

“I know. Don’t worry. Just wait,” he promised.

“I’ll be soooo disappointed if we don’t see some mountains today…”

“I got it. Colorado’s a big state and we’re still on the fringes. We’ll see some mountains once we get closer to the continental divide. Just wait!”

Resigned that I’d get my mountains when they were ready for me and not the other way around, I slumped down in my seat and cranked up the radio, dedicating myself wholeheartedly to my role of roadtrip DJ. Alas, after thirty minutes of driving and sneakily glancing out the window with nary a crested peak in sight, I began to get a little impatient.

“Let’s play a game!” I announced. “I spy with my little eye, something that’s NOT a mountain.”

“Ha ha. Very funny,” Tony said, clearly less amused by my clever brattishness than I was. “And besides, you’re wrong. If you squint and look over there, you can see the outline of a mountain.”

I whipped my head in the direction Tony had pointed and, smooshing my face against the glass like our dogs in the back seat, narrowed my eyes in both skepticism and concentration. The sky was thick with haze but—lo and behold!—Tony was right: if you squinted, the shadowy form of a mountain—dotted with a snowy peak and everything!—loomed to the north. It was so faint it almost seemed like a mirage, but it as definitely there.

My heart flipped in my chest and then plummeted to my stomach; I had said I wanted to see a mountain and the foggy figure in the distance technically qualified, but one slightly obscured solitary summit didn’t really cut it as far as my mountain cravings were concerned.

“Is that it?” I asked forlornly. “I thought Colorado’s mountains would be… better some how. More impressive. More majestic.”

Sighing and shaking his head, Tony took my hand in his and squeezed.

“Just wait.”

The moutains of Colordao
The mountains of Colorado

Our time in Colorado was an example of “drive by” tourism at its finest. We stuck to I70 as we made our way through the state over the course of a single day, straying only briefly (and just barely at that) when we stopped in the cozy little ski bum town of Frisco for lunch with the delightful Sarah & Tyrhone of Sarah Somewhere and Tell Them I Said Something, and for the occasional “scenic pullout” (a term I snickered at every single time).

Steph, Tony, Sarah and Tyrhone
Mountain range outside of Frisco, Colorado
Colorado Mountains

As Tony promised, the farther west we drove, the closer we got to the heart of the country, the more spectacular the scenery became. I was dubious when we reached Denver as the mounds around it seem more like foothills than proper mountains (which I say, using the Himalayas as my metric for “proper mountains”… a lofty yard stick, I realize!), but once we pushed past the capital, the landscape exploded skyward and fulfilled all my pointed-peak fantasies. As we continued westward towards Utah, the deep grey mountains dusted with bright white snow gave way to craggy tan sandstone columns and rises that completely surprised me but were no less stunning.

Still in Colorado, but getting closer to Utah
Are we in Utah yet? Nope! Still Colorado!

Patience has never been my strong suit, but Colorado and its mountains were definitely worth the wait.

Pointy Colorado mountain
Posted in USA

Written by: Stephenie Harrison


In another life, I moved from Toronto, Canada to Nashville, TN to pursue my doctoral degree in Psychology. That chapter of my life is now finished, but I did earn the right to demand you call me Dr. Steph (though I respond just as well to plain old Steph). I am an avid reader whose book collection is rivaled only by my many pairs of cute shoes. I also like to knit, hold impromptu karaoke parties, and try new and unusual foods. Generally not all at the same time. I also really love to learn languages, which may explain why I took 3 years of Latin in highschool. I'm turning over a new leaf, so instead of looking forward, I'm going to work on enjoying the present, so the country I'm most looking forward to is whichever one we're in right now!

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Read comments (16)

  1. April 3, 2015 at 8:30 am
    Apr. 3, '15

    My sister lives in Boulder and I am always in awe of the mountains that surround the city. I think Boulder’s setting is absolutely stunning. Although maybe I’m biased considering the fact that I just love that place in general. To be honest I haven’t explored much else in Colorado. But I’m glad you were able to glimpse some of the state’s beautiful landscapes!

    • April 7, 2015 at 9:55 am
      Apr. 7, '15

      I can’t speak to the merits of Boulder as we were racing against the clock to reach Frisco in time to have lunch with Sarah & Tyrhone, so we only drove around the city. Tony said it’s a really nice city and I shouldn’t judge it by its outskirts, so I guess we’ll have to make a return visit at some point and explore it more in depth!

  2. April 3, 2015 at 9:39 am
    Apr. 3, '15

    Tony is a patient man!! Beautifully written, Steph. Mexico must be doing something right! So glad we got to have that lunch together, SO GLAD! And I am glad you got to see your mountains. I must admit to getting quite wistful as we bid them goodbye yesterday.
    Sarah recently posted..We’re Going Home

    • April 7, 2015 at 9:56 am
      Apr. 7, '15

      Ha ha! He really is!

      And, although the mountains were beautiful, having lunch with you and Tyrhone was definitely our highlight from Colorado. So glad we were able to make that happen! FINALLY. 😀

  3. April 3, 2015 at 10:54 am
    Apr. 3, '15

    I love mountains! Don’t you just feel so small in them? Like anything is possible. Glad you waited!
    Gillian recently posted..Cover Songs and Shiny Object Syndrome

    • April 7, 2015 at 9:59 am
      Apr. 7, '15

      Prior to setting out on our travels, mountains had never been a big motivator for me, but now, I find myself seeking them out whenever I can. I’ve certainly learned to better appreciate the natural beauty our planet offers, and I think there is no better testament (or temple!) to that than the mountains.

  4. April 3, 2015 at 5:09 pm
    Apr. 3, '15

    Haha, yeah mountains will never be the same for me after visiting Nepal!

    • April 7, 2015 at 10:00 am
      Apr. 7, '15

      Yeah, they kind of make all other mountains seem rather puny, don’t they? Still, the ones in Colorado were really nice… albeit much smaller!

  5. April 5, 2015 at 12:59 am
    Apr. 5, '15

    Ok, but seriously, what is a “scenic pullout”? (privately snickering here too!!)

    Great to see you met up with Sarah and Tyrhone, I love their work!! 😀
    Tim UrbanDuniya recently posted..Yogyakarta: Indonesia’s cultural capital?

    • April 7, 2015 at 10:01 am
      Apr. 7, '15

      Scenic pullouts are technically designated areas where you can pull off the highway and park to take photos and enjoy the beautiful landscape without causing a traffic accident. They are much appreciated, but so poorly named!

      And meeting up with Sarah & Tyrhone was wonderful! Definitely our highlight from our day in Colorado!

  6. April 5, 2015 at 5:31 pm
    Apr. 5, '15

    I was blown away when we went up to Collingwood and saw the skihills up that way. To a Calgary-raised gal with a mountainline visible to the west, the ski-hill looked like a little blip rather than epic and majestic mountains. I love Toronto – it has so much going on, but I have to admit that I do miss my Rockies!
    Emily recently posted..Trivia at the Drake

    • April 7, 2015 at 10:05 am
      Apr. 7, '15

      I can only imagine how difficult it must be to trade in nature’s skyscrapers for those of the urban variety! I can’t even imagine growing up somewhere where the landscape was so dramatic. One day we’ll have to head out there and see the Canadian Rockies… the photos I’ve seen are stunning, but I know from experience that’s no substitute for the real thing!

  7. April 5, 2015 at 5:55 pm
    Apr. 5, '15

    this is such a great little essay! and also, I can totally relate to just wanting to get your fill of the iconic images – we did a month long trip east of the Mississippi in the fall and i would always badger Sergey about when we would get to see the River, or when the aligators would show up on side of the road, or when we would finally reach the ocean. 🙂
    Jenia recently posted..Sergey’s Perfect Travel Day

    • April 7, 2015 at 10:09 am
      Apr. 7, '15

      And there are SO MANY iconic images throughout the U.S. Despite living there for 7 years, I’ve only seen an itty bitty piece of it, so it was a real treat getting to explore a new part of it. I am sure there is more to Colorado than just snowy mountains, but for a first visit, if I hadn’t gotten to see those, I would have been so disappointed.

  8. April 7, 2015 at 10:28 am
    Apr. 7, '15

    Such a gorgeous part of the country! I drove through a small segment of Utah on a business trip and had to keep pulling the car over so I could stop and admire the view! I’d love to go back and spent some time hiking those sandstone columns. Colorado is still on the list…
    Heather @ Ferreting Out the Fun recently posted..72 Hours in Brussels, Belgium

    • April 10, 2015 at 11:18 am
      Apr. 10, '15

      I’ll be writing about our time in Utah soon. It was by far the highlight of our road trip. I mean, Colorado was beautiful, but Utah was out of this world amazing. So unexpectedly amazing… we kept stopping to take pictures too!

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