. I want coffee, but I start with water. Lots of water.
. I forgo climbing in lieu of a more relaxed day. Instead of being up in the clouds, I want to be down in the pines and aspens.
. US-285 to Buena Vista is just one continuous mecca of eye candy. Why doesn’t all of America live here???
. I lean into some self reflection, which I’m apt to do on longer drives. Today I am focused on all the ways I disappoint myself. Sometimes it’s really fun being in my head.
. The rocky scene ahead of me explodes into a landscape of pine and gold aspens. A sign says Kenosha Pass. Kenosha... I woke up with that word in my mouth. There are some cars parked on the side of the highway. I slam the brakes and pull over, throw some snacks and water into my pack, and head towards the trees.
. The trailhead sign says “Colorado Trail”.
. The trail goes up into those pines and aspens I wished for. Mountain bikers zip by and then the trail opens up to a view of the range and everything is just so good right now.
. What is this sweet, sad feel of nostalgia? There is a scent here, a feel to the air, a familiarity to the landscape. It feels like home. I learn later that Colorado and Canada share some similarities.
. 5 miles later and my mood has shifted. I return to US-285, south, Alabama Shakes.
. Nacho’s + cider.
. I grab my swimsuit and drive to the hot springs. I pay extra to be in the “adults only” area. I sink into the hot water and quickly make friends with the others. Everyone is either newly married or about to be married. I pretend to be extroverted until the heat of the pool makes me lightheaded.
. Buena Vista borders a grey zone on the light pollution map, meaning there is almost no light pollution here. The AirBnB walks out to the Arkansas River and beyond that is the Mosquito Range. Nothing but darkness. I pile blankets and pillows on the deck for stargazing.
. Clouds have rolled in.