Hello friends! I am now 20 years old! To be honest, this was the first year that I’ve ever actually felt different on my birthday. Every other birthday before has felt like a continuation of the last year and I have felt the exact same but when I turned 20 this past week, I felt as though I was entering into a completely new part of my life, which I suppose I am, but that hit hard. I have officially left my teen years behind me and wow, that feels incredibly good to say. Yikes, those years were rocky, emotional, and filled with far too many awkward trends like knee high socks, choppy bangs, and pre-cut jeans. Gone are the days of being an angsty teenager…so instead, I shall embark on new worldly adventures as an angsty adult!
But in all seriousness, I couldn’t be more happy to see what this next decade brings! It’s a decade of so much potential. There are memories to be made, people to meet, and new places to explore and I am as ready as I could ever be for it all!
This past week was a complete dream (mostly because I didn’t have to work quite honestly). On Monday, I spent the day relaxing and I somehow managed to drag the whole family out on a bike ride around town! While Kayli may have preferred to do something more relaxing on her day off, she agreed to partake in some Forced Family Fun since it was “my birthday after all” (insert dramatic eye roll). The day was warm and sunny and perfect for a little bike ride down along the Uncompahgre River.
That afternoon, Austin made it to Ridgway all the way from the front range! We had a lovely dinner of my personal favorite: tortellini, ciabatta, and fresh vegetables and afterwards, I was gifted with an interesting assortment of gifts to say the least, all of which I am incredibly grateful for…thanks Mom! Some of my favorites were a used frying pan and a used spatula that may or may not have had dried food chunks on it from previous use. Guess I grew out of getting new Polly Pockets, which turned into getting (typically) new socks, which then turned into getting used (and slightly dirty) kitchenware! I bet on my 21st birthday, I’ll get a half empty wine bottle!
(Jokes, all jokes and a decent amount of sarcasm)
That next day, Austin and I packed up my little red Subaru with snacks, hiking packs, and too many blankets to embark on our first car camping adventure! We drove to Silver Jack Reservoir where we established camp (which basically consisted of us just putting out two lawn chairs). We then proceeded to take a two or so hour nap because ya know, being a 20 year old is so incredibly exhausting!
We took a little evening walk around the campsite and then down the road to the next campsite, all the while being serenaded by the local cows and their rambunctious calves. We fell asleep that night to random mooing at various pitches which subsided to the cracking of thunder and pouring rain but hey, we were somehow able to sleep decently well so I’d call it a successful night of car camping! Our morning was so incredibly peaceful and serene. (pictured below)
The morning light was peaking through the aspens and the air smelled of that oh-so-perfect ‘just rained’ aroma. It was silent, broken only by distant birds or the rustling of the trees and I felt as though I could stay in that moment forever.
But the day was coming for us and as tempting as it was to just roll around on our makeshift bed and enjoy the forest, we had big plans! We had breakfast of yogurt and granola with our legs dangling out the backside of my car with the view of the aspen expanse before us. Afterwards, we packed up the car, got changed, packed our hiking packs, and drove to Courthouse Mountain trailhead!
Off we went! For about 10 minutes until we had to take a break, shed some layers, and catch our breath because wow, that hike was a lot steeper than I remembered it to be. And then we were off again!
We then made it to the first overlook where you can see Chimney Peak.
And then, when we were about 10 minutes from the top, we got caught in a cloud and it was the most incredible thing. I’ve never experienced anything like it, but it was so silent and the cloud moved right through where we were. The air looked foggy and it was such an amazing display of nature’s simple elegance as the fog rolled smoothly over the peaks out in front of us to slowly swallow up the rocks and trees all around us.
We spent a little bit of time eating lunch and waiting out the cloud but it never really passed so we decided to summit before it started to storm. We heard some thunder in the distance which we took as Mother Nature’s signal to get off the mountain soon. We hustled up to the peak and sadly, we couldn’t see anything because of the cloud but it still felt pretty amazing to be up there.
Austin, I’m sorry if you’re reading this. It was our only summit picture! (his hair was bothering him so I put some of it up in a little bun)
After reaching the top, we hurried down as the storm came closer and right when we were almost to the car, it started raining. Pretty good timing, I’d say! We started to drive home and got slowed down by a flock (herd?) of sheep and I was so overwhelmed by how cute they were that I may or may not have started to cry a little… they were just all so adorable as they made their little sheep noises.
After the hike, we got some Colorado Boy Pizza and caught up with some local friends.
The next day, we got some lunch with Kayli and her boyfriend Keegan at the Ouray Brewery where I showed Austin around and explained what I’ve been doing all summer working there. Afterwards, we headed off to Telluride! Since it’s monsoon season here in CO, we were caught in some rain showers but the day was mostly clear so we walked up and down main street, checked out the thrift store, and got some bread at Baked in Telluride! We rode the gondola around and enjoyed being tourists in Telluride for a few hours before heading back to Ridgway for the concert series in the park. We listened to Willie Nelson’s son, Lukas Nelson and the Promise of the Real play and my goodness, they were phenomenal! At one point, Lukas Nelson played his guitar with his teeth so if that isn’t enough to blow you away on it’s own, I honestly don’t know what will. I could rant and rave about them all day but just look them up and see for yourself. They’re awesome.
After the concert, we spent some time relaxing in the hot springs and stargazed for a while. In one night, I saw one shooting star and three satellites!
The next day, that Friday, was a bittersweet one. We spent the morning at the farmers market and got some delicious treats for breakfast. At lunch time, we stopped by Taco del Gnar and took our meal to Inspiration Point! It was a bit cloudy so the view wasn’t as clear but the view was still beautiful and a personal favorite. It started to rain so we sat under this little gazebo and cherished the last little bit of time we had before we would see each other again in Fort Collins for school!
I had the best birthday I could have asked for all thanks to being surrounded by the people I love most. There wasn’t a single moment when I wasn’t laughing or smiling during this entire past week. I am so fortunate to be loved by such radiant people, they are blessings in my life.