Why mountain vacations? Hmm... Two days ago I was swimming
in the Arkansas River. A few days before and an hours drive away,
I was playing in the snow at a roadside rest area. Tomorrow I
will drive an hour to the trail head and hike to a beautiful
mountain lake at 11,000 feet.
Of course, this is all made easier by the fact that we live
here in Colorado now. The point however, is the same if you are
vacationing here from other places: You get the widest variety
of climates and experiences in the shortest time when you vacation
in the mountains. Where else can you be hiking a snowy pass in
the morning and sunbathing in the desert in the afternoon?
It isn't all about the outdoor activities either. There is
a unique atmosphere to small mountain towns like Silverton or
Buena Vista. The isolation seems to make them immune to the rushing
and busyness of the cities. You can walk the streets safely at
night, stop in a saloon that may have been there for a hundred
years, and see the stars as you walk back to your hotel.
There are ghost towns throughout the mountains of the west.
They range from the restored ones that have become parks, to
the remnants of small towns left in the weeds.
Yesterday (November 2006) my wife and I explored an old abandoned
schoolhouse on a back road near Canon City.
Last week we poked around an old town site that used to have
five grocery stores, nine bars and over a thousand residents.
Now there is nothing left but a few foundations where the buildings
Just driving from one town to the next makes for a scenic
and relaxing vacation when you are in the mountains. Even if
you don't get out of the car very often, it is enjoyable to look
out the windows like you are watching a beautiful scene in a
movie. One moment you are staring up at huge cliffs, and a few
minutes later you are on top of them looking down on a river
winding through a grassy valley.
A Few Tips For Mountain Vacations
- Weather is always unpredictable in mountains. Have clothing
for all conditions.
- Afternoon thunderstorms are common in summer. Plan hiking
early in the day, and come down from higher elevations before
one in the afternoon.
- There can be long stretches between gas stations in many
mountain areas, so fill up when you have the chance.
- Altitude can make you sick. The solution is to go lower
if this happens.
- There are some dangerous animals in most mountainous areas.
We disturbed a six-foot rattle snake while hiking yesterday
- just back off as we did in this case. Bears don't normally
attack, but may break into coolers and picnic baskets if you
leave them unattended outside.
- If your vacation in the mountains is in summer, bring sun
block. The sun can be especially severe at higher altitudes.
A vacation is over when you begin to yearn for your work.
- Morris Fishbein
Continue with Chapter 22 here: Adventure
Note: This chapter on mountain vacations was part of
the e-book Travel Secrets. Now all chapters are free on
this site. See the homepage (the link is at the bottom of this
page) for a list of all chapters and links to them.