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Just over two years ago my husband, Chris, and I moved from Wisconsin to Colorado. The most common question people ask when this comes up in conversation is...
"What brought you to Colorado?"
The answer is easy. We came for the mountains. And all of the adventure they offer.
The usual follow up question is "Did you have family or friends in town?" Another simple answer, no. When we made the move to Colorado we knew no one, had no jobs lined up and had only visited Denver long enough to find an apartment. This seems borderline irresponsible but it is one of the best decisions we have ever made!
We spent our first months in our new state exploring and bonding. Our nonexistent work schedules let us avoid crowds by heading into the mountains on week days but had us doing most of our exploring as just the two of us. Want to learn something new about your significant other? Get lost in the forest while it is pouring rain. The looming threat of running out of money and being forced to move into my mom's basement had us trying something new every day.
Eventually we got jobs and started living a more traditional life for two adults but the mountains never stopped calling. And we were not about to ignore them!
Prior to our move we had only been to Colorado for vacations in Summit County. We were familiar with the resort towns and had ski runs memorized but got lost on the way to the grocery store in Denver. The first few weeks were stressful, to say the least.
I turned to blogging to share our adventures with family and friends back in Wisconsin. I had been blogging for years but my posts became more purposeful and photo-filled when I had mountain adventures to brag about. Blogging became a great resource for planning adventures and soon led me to Twitter. Before long I was following lengthy list of adventure lovers living in Colorado. It was only a matter of time before we met in person, right?
My first blogger/Twitter meet up was terrifying! I actively followed many of the bloggers and recognized most of the Twitter handles; they all seemed nice online and shared my love for getting outside but on my drive to the restaurant I was panicking. This felt like really awkward online dating and I was freaking out about my first in-real-life first impression!
I survived the night and before long we were making plans to meet again. When our schedules cooperate we still meet as a big group but smaller get-togethers are more common. I consider myself lucky to call some of these adventurous, fearless women my friends!
Heather of Just A Colorado Gal took us on our first Colorado camping trip and introduced us to mountain hiking. For the record, Colorado camping in the back country is nothing like the camping we did at popular fishing lakes in Wisconsin. Heather also invited us on our first hut trip — my favorite back country experience to date!
I found a new running buddy and close friend in Lynne, the smiling face behind LGSmash. We meet up for weekly runs and I even let her talk me into the Mt Evans Ascent. Not that talking me into crazy running endeavors is all that difficult — Paula from PaulaMahla managed to rope me into becoming a last minute substitute for the Wild West Relay. What can I say; I'm a glutton for punishment and can't say no!
These are only a few examples of how my online friendships have led us to new adventures while living in Colorado. We have hiked up multiple fourteeners (any mountain 14,000+ feet above sea level), gone backpacking in a thunderstorm, discovered the hard earned bliss of back country snowboarding, conquered snowshoeing, fallen in love with trail running, tried rock climbing and eaten Rocky Mountain Oysters.
When we quit our stable jobs in Wisconsin and packed our bags for Colorado there was a lot of uncertainty. We had high hopes but honestly did not know what to expect. We have learned so much about ourselves and each other. Having experienced so much by simply stepping outside of our comfort zone has given us the confidence to try all sorts of new things. Now we rarely say "no" when a new opportunity comes knocking — instead work schedules are rearranged, research is done and gear is purchased, borrowed or rented!
Chris and I are the only ones in our immediately family not living in Wisconsin so sometimes it is hard, but it is always worth it. Plus, convincing family to visit us only takes a few photos and a promised hike or three! If you ever have the hint of an opportunity to chase after an adventure...do it!
This is all only the beginning of our adventures in Colorado and beyond. There are so many trails to run, mountains to summit and scenery to soak up! All of our Colorado adventure stories can be found on the Colorado page of my blog, run.around.aroo. You can also follow me on Twitter where I am @runaroundaroo, I promise I'm a nice, likable person who only over shares on rare occasions!
By Heidi Kumm
August 12, 2013
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