Zen On Dirt

A farewell to Colorado


Fall is a special time in Colorado. But everyone knows that. The temperatures drop, the leaves turn yellow, red, and orange. Snow starts to fall regularly on the high peaks. I view it as one last fiery goodbye, a sign that Colorado is telling us, ‘Thanks for the visit! I’ll see you again next spring when the snow starts to melt. Now get your butts to Utah!’

Historically, I feel like we’ve waited too long to leave the state, mostly because the list of things I want to do expands every year and I never get anywhere close to ticking off half the items on my to-do list. But, we’ve spent too many nights being cold in Colorado in the fall, we’ve often waited for the leaves to completely burn themselves out and fall to the ground, and then we get to the desert in and that cold winter air is already tinging the red rocks of Moab, Zion is cold, Gooseberry and Hurricane are past their prime.

To everything there is a season, and dawdling too long in Colorado forces us to miss other places in their prime.

When the leaves started to get good, we went to go take a look, to give the great state a final good bye. Our favorite spot for leaf-peeping riding is the CT between Leadville and Twinlakes. We thought we’d lost our chance at the ride when we chose to work for a few hours in Buena Vista in the morning instead of riding right away and watched completely unforecasted storms roll into the valley.


Luckily, we were patient, the skies cleared, and aside from getting splashed by the water that had accumulated on the fallen leaves on the trail, had a dry spin through our own special magic land.


There seems to be an urgency in the air among people, to see the leaves while they’re good. While I don’t fully understand why the rest of the seasons don’t get that level of attention and urgency (Quick! Moab is perfect! Go! The wildflowers are exploding up high! To the hills! The tundra is turning every magic color of the rainbow!), I’m more than happy to give the fall leaves their full due.


Everything is fleeting. Summer warmth. Fall colors. Even the short days of winter.


I’ve been partaking in one of those Picture a Day Instagram trends this year, and I think that it’s done for me exactly what  was hoping it would. It’s gotten me thousands of followers.

I’m kidding. It hasn’t. 

But it has given me the ability to differentiate between days from the past 9 months. Each day, while I don’t remember everything that happened, I can point at the spot on the calendar and say, I did this, I saw that, I felt like this.

And you know what? I’ve also realized that there very simply aren’t that many days in a year.


Before leaving the state, we had to pay a visit to Winter Park to swap out our map collection (out with Colorado, in with Utah and Arizona), debate picking up an extra bike (we didn’t), and visit my parents before we disappeared for the winter. To make the most of the drive, we stopped for quick spin around Leadville.


Leadville was the surprise revelation of this summer. I love the place. I love its mountains, its coffee shops, the hilarity of the Leadville race series and everything that it entails, the riding, the people, the architecture, the dilapidation. But…it’s freakin’ cold most of the year.


The leaves on the Golddigger trail were absolutely perfect. It was the best way possible to say bye to a place that I can’t wait to get back to next summer.


The Tour de Colors continued in Winter Park with a quick spin up near Rollins Pass.


We visited our favorite multicolored aspens, saying goodbye to yet another place that we looked forward to returning to next year.


Then on to Boulder. And Sparkles!


The visit was brief, but full. Good food, hikes with my family and the dogs at Chataqua, and the standard Horanyi-family whiskey tasting. This time it was a blind taste test…I ranked Jamison over a $300 bottle of scotch that my dad had received as a gift that we hold as the gold standard at our tastings.

My mom did the same. Proof that good whiskey is wasted on our family.


Leaving mid-morning on Monday, we made the standard leaf-peeping stop at Kenosha Pass, just to see what we could see. We saw lots of people, we saw lots of leaves dulled by the weekend cold snap, and we went for a lovely little run on the Colorado Trail, saying goodbye to the trail that we’d spent most of the summer orbiting around.

It was a fitting farewell to a summer of beauty, friends, and fun. I can’t wait to come back.


2 thoughts on “A farewell to Colorado

  1. Sigh, I love reading your posts and you are particularly prolific – and funny at the moment – and the photos are awesome too – don’t stop!!

  2. Your pictures are gorgeous. I spent today’s ride enjoying our fall colors, but the midwest hasn’t hit its leaf-peeping peak yet.

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