It took me a little while to get this post together, so right about now this view is a whole lot snowier and the lake is almost frozen! But Nederland is one of my favorite spots, so I wanted to share a bit of our trip there.
At the end of September, Sonia and I went to Nederland, Colorado for a little part work/part vacation getaway. I was exhibiting at Denver Renegade over the weekend, and Sonia had made plans to do some of her research at some archives outside of Denver during the following week. So we decided to stay in Denver for the weekend and then head up to the mountains for the rest of our time.
Nederland is a cute mountain town about an hour from Denver and a half hour from Boulder. It’s near Rocky Mountain National Park, Indian Peaks Wilderness and Roosevelt National Forest. There are a lot of great hiking trails nearby. We stayed here once before, two summers ago, on our first vacation together to Rocky Mountain National Park. We had wanted to see different sides of the park, so we stayed in Grand Lake for a few nights, and then Nederland for our last two. Both places are beautiful, but we felt more at home in Nederland, so we decided to head back.
On the way to Denver, we stopped in La Jara to see our friend Sunny and the El Sagrado farm. It’s a beautiful spot, and Sunny’s been getting it ready to host workshops and retreats. She also trains horses, and I’m hoping to get back there soon for a longer visit. Going to Denver via La Jara meant we were on 285, passing through the Collegiate Peaks. It’s a beautiful drive, and the aspens were just starting to turn, so there was a lot more color on the mountains than there had been on our last Colorado trip.
It was really nice to get to see Denver a bit. It was cool in the mornings, which was great for running. But it still got really hot during the day and Renegade was outside, so we were scorched all weekend long. When the fair was over, we packed up our tent at Renegade. We drove straight to Nederland, climbing 3,000 feet, and were greeted with a chill in the air that was quite the contrast to Denver’s heat. We definitely did not pack enough warm clothes for Fall in the mountains, where it was dropping to just below freezing at night.
We stayed in a small cottage in town for the week. On the first night, we pulled in, unloaded the car, and immediately layered up for our stroll into town. We went to a dive bar called the Pleasant Inn, that served dinner late. It was a Sunday night, and we had quickly learned that most places close around then in the off season. We loved it, and even went back a few nights later to play a game of pool, learning that they had temporarily lost their liquor license which was pretty hilarious given that it’s the only bar in town.
Sonia spent the first day at the archives, and I hung out in the cottage. It rained on and off all day. When it paused (and brought rainbows!), and the sun came back out, I went for a walk to the reservoir. It was strange to see that the water levels were lower than they had been only two year ago.
I slept so well in our little cottage that week. I love sleeping when it’s cold, with a heavy comforter. It was quiet in the town, past the big summer tourist influx.
We went for an evening hike in the Indian Peaks Wilderness, driving out as the sun was getting low in the sky. There was snow from the night before. On the drive out of town, we saw a family of moose at the river. We went on the trail up to Lost Lake, spying a few more signs of moose in the trees, but not getting quite another viewing like the one by the river. The light was disappearing quickly and we didn’t bring any flashlights, so we turned back before reaching the lake. It was the perfect fall week to be in Nederland, with the crisp air, and the leaves turning brilliant shades of gold and red all around us.
The next day we went for a trail run at Caribou Ranch. There was a beautiful 4+ mile loop that went past open fields, and wooded areas, near the old mine, and around this old homestead. I took Sonia to the Mountain Man store, where I bought a warmer sweatshirt and a hat, since I just hadn’t packed warmly enough for the mountains. And then we finally went back have the best pizza at Crosscut Pizza in town. I tried to plan our week out so that we could go twice before we left. What can I say, pizza is my favorite food. Pretty much my favorite spots in town are Crosscut for pizza and Salto’s for coffee, wine and snacks, and the trail around the reservoir for slow wandering. We were both trying to work and relax on this trip, which meant there just weren’t enough days, and I’d love to come back again soon.
For our last full day in Nederland, we planned an all day hike up to Arapaho Glacier. We packed our warmest layers, lunches and cameras and headed out. The trail was beautiful, and not many folks were out given the weather. It was pretty windy, but in the trees it was great. We passed another hiker who said that she had turned back above treeline because it was too windy. Once we made it to the top we understood what she meant! We headed up the path aways and got to a point with a nice view of the glacier, but the wind was fierce. We were both having trouble keeping our balance, and there were still several miles to go. We stopped and I took some photos of the view - the glacier and the lakes are gorgeous. I hope that we get a chance to come back on a less windy day, when we have some better layers. The wind was kicking up dirt all around us, and I ended up eating quite a bit of it. When we got back to the tree line edge, Sonia took one look at me and started laughing. I had dirt stuck to my teeth and lips and looked quite strange. It was good that we were heading back down…
Until next time, Nederland…