This is a bit belated, but in late July I embarked on a week long, solo road trip to Colorado. Camping out of my Toyota Tacoma, I made my way through some of the prettiest landscapes I'd ever seen. The road trip was to be a respite from the stress lockdowns and civil unrest that shook the nation. I hadn't done a solo trip in years where I simply did what I want, when I want (save for Covid restrictions). Though camping from a truck bed isn't the comfiest of accommodations, it allowed me to be hyper mobile.
It's amazing how quickly your body snaps back to the beat of nature. I fell asleep with the sun and with it. The reset allowed me to maximize my days.
Each day I drove at least 3 hours to my next destination. I passed the time watching the beautiful scenery and listening to Michael Pollan's "The Omnivore's Dilemma" on CD. It was a great "read". Did you know that if humans vanished today, corn would become extinct due to how much we've meddled in its genetics? It's completely dependent on our addiction to it.
Silverton and Ouray offer you a grand introduction as you begin descending down into their townships. Nestled in valleys high up in the mountains, one wonders how anyone could live there in winter. A loquacious shop owner was kind enough to tell me how the geology I was taking in came to be. At one point in time, Silverton would've existed atop a massive volcano (now extinct, thankfully). When it blew its top in a magnificent display of violence, it released so much material that the elevation of the surrounding area grew. The San Juan Mountains are home to a slew of extinct volcanoes.
Crested Butte offered the prettiest scenery of the trip. One can take a gravel road that loops to the west and north of Crested Butte and quickly be immersed in the beauty of the alpine environment. Since there's such less atmosphere there than here in Austin, the sun's light reflects much more brilliantly on what it touches. The air there is thin, but it is a privilege to breathe.
Not pictured here is the Black Canyon of the Gunnison located outside of Montrose, CO. I was fortunate enough to arrive right before the closing of the visitor center and grab a wilderness pass for a very technical "trail" that barrels you down 1,800ft in a mile straight to the bottom of the canyon. My weak, sea level lungs were tested mightily on the way back up (holy shit was it hard). But it was worth every exasperated breath.
Not visible in the photo below is an old mine shaft located roughly 50 yards to the back left of this structure. Being strapped for a canary, I decided against going in. All along the highway were remnants of a past time of pioneering industry into the natural wonders of Colorado. It's pretty cool of the State to leave them up.
If you've been feeling overwhelmed with the current climate, I recommend taking inspiration from my trip. It was a great reset. A pretty cheap one, too. It's probably too cold to camp up in the San Juan, currently, but that just means other locations are more habitable. You just have to get to them.