After the Sand Dunes, we headed to the Southwest corner of the state, driving through two large forest fires. We had planned to see Mesa Verde, but it was too hot, so we headed North a bit and camped in the San Juan National Forest in a spot called Boggy Draw. The Forest Service guy who recommended it to us had a huge mustache and a slow Western accent which was perfect for saying "Boggy Draw."
We drove North, through 14ers, Crested Butte, the aspen encrusted stretch of road over Kebler Pass. We hiked around the starkly beautiful Black Canyon, and saw three snakes, some turkey vultures, and that beautiful Gunnison's Mariposa Lily We visited the absurd spectacles of Aspen and Vail, where I was flabbergasted at the commercialization of mountains. We bicycled a 12 mile loop around Leadville, an old mining town with the highest altitude in America. And then we drove back to Denver.
I saw a lot of things I had never seen before, witnessed the many different sides of Coloradan culture, and experienced the numerous facets of mountains in this state.