Having spent the last 18 years of my life in the Midwest, I have grown accustomed to living in flat terrain and driving hours to wastelands covered in manufactured snow for my big ski trips. I have learned to embrace cold, dreary weather and conquer seasonal affective disorder (SAD), which, if you live in a cold, dreary climate like myself, you know is a real thing. I have spent countless hours racking my brain for activities that are fun, healthy, and will get me a breath of fresh air in the winter months, when temperatures often hit -20 degrees Fahrenheit and feel much colder. These are the struggles of living in the Midwest, which is why I had such an enjoyable weekend reveling in the Rockies.
Last weekend I had the privilege of staying at a resort in Keystone, Colorado, where the view was a bit grander and more breathtaking than my usual view. I woke up each morning to a perfect picture of the Rocky Mountains outside my window and spent the rest of the day marveling at its grandeur and beauty. For those living near mountain ranges, this may seem to be a gross dramatization, but I felt that I could sit outside for hours doing nothing but staring at the mountains, and I would be completely satisfied. These photos really don’t do it justice.
At roughly 10,000 feet above sea level, Keystone is much closer to the sun and thus the temperature feels much warmer than it actually is during daylight hours. One day we went for a walk on a trail through Keystone in leggings and a light jacket, and I felt like I was getting a sunburn, even though the reported temperature was only 16 degrees Fahrenheit. The high altitude, however, also means it is imperative to stay hydrated or else risk suffering a headache, nausea, or any of the other symptoms of altitude sickness.
During our time there, we attended a wedding and reception which was held at a beautiful venue at the top of a mountain that required taking two gondolas to arrive at. The gondolas took us from roughly 10,000 feet to 13,000 feet, and the views were breathtaking. Later that night, we took the gondolas back down to the base of the mountain in complete darkness. We were unable to see where we were headed or any of our surroundings except for a sky full of stars. It was a bit terrifying dangling from a cable at 13,000 feet above a mountain (though probably quite comforting for those afraid of heights), but one of the most memorable experiences of my life.
While there is much to appreciate about my hometown of Chicago, there is something to be said about waking up each morning to a view of the Rockies and never running out of fun activities to do in the cold winters. If you’re planning a trip to Keystone or the surrounding areas, my top tips are: (1) stay hydrated; (2) bring a camera to capture the beautiful views; and (3) be prepared to never want to leave!
Have you been to the Rocky Mountains? Which stretch of the Rockies had the best views? Let us know in the comments below!
Author: Diana Chen
Recently left my job as an attorney to pursue the work-from-anywhere/travel-everywhere life. I blog about traveling the world with a full time job, confronting your travel addiction, and pursuing your passions without going broke. Just got back from a month-long trip to Southeast Asia and currently prepping for Cuba.
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