view from the deck at Colorado State Capitol

Staycation: Colorado State Capitol

Outside the Colorado State Capitol

The Colorado State Capitol building was opened in 1894 in Denver, Colorado.  It is constructed of Colorado white granite and topped with a copper dome that is gilded in gold leaf from a Colorado mine.  The capitol sits on the eastern edge of Denver’s Civic Center and houses the Colorado General Assembly as well as the offices of the Governor, Lieutenant Governor and Treasurer.

Outside, its western steps feature the official elevation of Denver.  The original marker on the fifteenth step is an engravement “One Mile High Above Sea Level”.  The elevation has been remeasured from time to time and as a result there is a marker on step 18 from 1969 and a marker on step 13 from 2003.

Denver Capitol

Inside the Colorado State Capitol

Inside the Colorado State Capitol, the building is comprised of the entire known supply Colorado Rose Onyx.  The rose marble which comes from Beulah, Colorado features patterns that look like people, animals, and objects.  White Yule Marble from Marble, Colorado is also used throughout the building. 

patterns of the rose marble at the Colorado State Capitol
Can you see the lady in the hat profile?

The dome includes an observation deck which opens to the outside.  After eight years of being closed for safety reasons, the deck is now open to visitors.  The level below the deck features stain glass windows that depict historical Colorado figures and events.  Its top floor includes Mr. Brown’s Attic Museum.

Tour of the Colorado State Capitol

While visitors may tour the Colorado State Capitol on their own, it is worth signing up for a free hour-long tour.  Tours are offered every hour from 10am to 3pm, Monday through Friday.  Reservations are not required, but tours do fill up, so be sure to arrive early.  In addition, reasonably priced parking downtown is difficult to find, so allow extra time.

My friend Ann and I joined a morning tour at the Colorado State Capitol and then went to lunch at nearby City O’ City.  We had a lovely tour guide who covered a significant amount of Colorado history, pointed out many of the wall hangings, the governor’s office, the House and Senate, and was frankly very enthusiastic about leading our group of mostly foreigners through the building.

Lunch at City O’ City

After our tour we walked to lunch at City O’ City. City O’ City is a popular vegetarian restaurant with a cute atmosphere located just one block south of the capitol.  It was packed when we arrived, but we were able to squeeze the last two seats out of the back bar.  Dishes served include salads, soups, sandwiches, and pizzas.  I had chorizo spice cauliflower tacos, and they were excellent. 

tacos

The short tour of the Colorado Capitol building plus lunch was a perfect staycation day in Denver! ETB

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frosty trees at NCAR

NCAR and Its Hiking Trails

After a very snowy weekend in Denver, I talked my friend Kat into doing approximately a 4-mile hike in Boulder on Tuesday.  The trails at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) seemed like a good option as NCAR doesn’t charge for parking like the smaller surrounding lots do.  In addition, the exhibits at NCAR are sort of interesting.  Too bad this national weather research center doesn’t help out weathermen get the forecast right!

Anyway, while Denver got at least twice as much snow as expected over the weekend, Boulder was spared.  Only three inches fell in the area.  Having four days to melt, we expected we’d see little snow and a lot of mud.

Continue reading “NCAR and Its Hiking Trails”
Hiking in Centennial Cone Park

Roadtrip to the Rockies: Centennial Cone Park

Centennial Cone Park is part of Jeffco Open Space and is located just west of Golden, Colorado.  The park includes over 16 miles of trails, though Jeffco closes a large section of the park as well as Elk Ridge Trail seasonally for elk calving season. 

This did not stop Diana, Jim and me from checking out the southwest corner of Centennial Cone Park beginning at Mayhem Gulch Trailhead.  We decided on this hike Thursday night, but after 7 inches of snow in Denver (forecast called for 1-3), we expected we’d be snowshoeing.

Continue reading “Roadtrip to the Rockies: Centennial Cone Park”
North Ten Mile Creek Trail

Roadtrip to the Rockies: North Ten Mile Creek Trail

North Ten Mile Creek Trail is located off the I-70 service road in Frisco.  As such the trail is easily accessible and no 4-wheel drive is needed.  The entire trail is a 6.5 mile out and back.  It begins at 9,164 feet and gains a little over 800 feet in elevation.

I joined a meetup group called “Baby Boomers” who scheduled a snowshoe last week.  While I’m not a Baby Boomer, the group is extremely active, offers a variety of events, and includes very welcoming members. As such, it is a fun group to join.

Continue reading “Roadtrip to the Rockies: North Ten Mile Creek Trail”

4 Great Snowshoeing Trails in Rocky Mountain National Park

Super Snowshoeing Trails in Rocky Mountain National Park

Rocky Mountain National Park is a wonderful place to visit anytime of year, but the ability to avoid the ski traffic on I-70 makes it a great place to snowshoe in the winter.  Below are three great snowshoeing trails.

Mills Lake Trail

This 5.3 mile trail in Rocky Mountain National Park is spectacular.  We had actually planned to hike farther than Mills Lake, but the sunny forecast was far from accurate.  Instead, a 40 mph sustained wind blew a stingy fresh snow into our face!  So much so, that when we laid eyes on the amazing lake and surrounding peaks, we were happy to stop at the lake and enjoy the scenery. Continue reading “4 Great Snowshoeing Trails in Rocky Mountain National Park”

Segment 25 of the Colorado Trail Closed Due to Wildfires This Summer

Views From Segment 25 of the Colorado Trail (Summer 2017)

So I took four summers to complete the Colorado Trail which I finished a little over a year ago.  This was a very big accomplishment for me and at times I wondered why in the heck I was doing it.  Especially during the final summer when all it did was RAIN!  During these CONSTANT storms last year, we slogged through rain and sleet, took cover from lightning and even aborted one camping trip.  At the same time, we enjoyed SPECTACULAR scenery and wonderful wildflowers.  Some of my favorite segments were in the San Juan Mountain Range.  Segments 24 and 25 were awe-inspiring! Continue reading “Segment 25 of the Colorado Trail Closed Due to Wildfires This Summer”

7 Great Snowshoeing Trails at Ski Resorts Nearby Denver

It seems winter has come early in Denver, so I thought it would be appropriate to post some great snowshoe trails near Ski Resorts close to Denver.

Snowshoe Trails Near Winter Park

Jim Creek Trail

Jim Creek Trail is a 5.3 mile trail that ascends about 1,000 feet.  The trailhead is located at Bonfils Station Outdoor Center in Winter Park.  The trail winds through an evergreen forest before it climbs via switchbacks to a high alpine meadow for a view of surrounding snow-capped mountains.   Continue reading “7 Great Snowshoeing Trails at Ski Resorts Nearby Denver”

Road Trip to the Rockies: A Weekend in Aspen

Tanya and I spent a weekend in Aspen to enjoy the fall colors.  Interestingly, all the aspen at 10,000 feet and above were at their peak, while trees at a lower elevation had yet to change.  Since we hiked a bunch, we lucked out and stumbled across amazing color.  Had we been doing a lot of scenic driving, I think the best time for leaf peeping would be this up coming weekend. Continue reading “Road Trip to the Rockies: A Weekend in Aspen”