If you are in the Unites States of America and happen to be a nature and adventure sports lover, then a trip to Colorado will always be in your bucket list. A good friend of mine happened to be studying at University of Colorado, Boulder in the December of last year and although winter is not the season to be in Colorado except for skiing, I decided to go there towards the end of December as that was my only vacation time. Sure, the cold was biting with a lot of snow and skiing was sadly not in my itinerary, the trip let me see a small part of the land of my dreams for the first time and the first experience filled me with joy! Part I of this series of posts narrates the first two days of touristy wanderings in Boulder and Denver.
Ajinkya, at whose place Chinu and I were crashing, took us on a cold, windy bike ride the evening we landed in Denver and then reached Boulder ( about 1.5 hours of bus journey away). Biking in this small university town nestled among hills was fun but it made my ear lobes and hands pretty numb! The campus of the university is rustic and beautiful and from the terrace of one of the buildings, I got my first panoramic glimpse of hills surrounding the town. It was a cloudy day but on my last day of the trip, Boulder was blessed with sunshine and town looked prettier. From the streets, one could see Flatirons – the five large rock slabs near Boulder. These rock formations came in to existence as long ago as about 296 million years ago and true to the name, they look like an upended flatiron(Wikipedia). After a walk along Boulder Creek, the primary water flow in the town, we took a stroll along Pearl Street, home to a number of colorful shops and restaurants.
The next day, a bunch of us visited the Butterfly Pavilion, which is about 20 minutes South of Boulder, on the way to Denver. This place showcases butterflies as well as whole variety of small, invertebrate animals, from tarantula to sea stars to sea cucumbers to horseshoe crabs to insects to arachnids for the people to get to know more about them and see them live in front of their eyes. Highlight for me was the 7200 sq. feet tropical rain forest which was housing about 1600 butterflies. We took a walk along a path that circles the forest from inside and I could spot butterflies of various kinds at every step! It was simply amazing to see so many beautiful butterflies all in one place! What amazed me even more was that there was always at least one butterfly hovering around the exact spot where the plaque declaring name of that particular specie was placed in the forest. I would highly recommend a visit to Butterfly Pavilion to any Boulder or Denver visitors. More information here
Daytime sightseeing was followed by walking around streets of Denver downtown in the evening and night. I really liked Denver city in the sense that it was like any other big city in the states, with its high rises and brightly lit skyline but the proximity of mountains to this city makes it special. Being Christmas time, there was a lot of hustle bustle in the city and the place had a festive atmosphere to it. An hour of ice skating added a lot more fun before it was time to go back to Boulder.