Category Archives: Colorado

Amazing Snow in Telluride, Colorado

Although I had just skied in Breckenridge a few weeks earlier, some friends (Bob Swainhart and Diane Caroll) graciously invited us to visit Telluride.

On the day we were traveling, there were travel advisories for Denver, Colorado because of the Bomb Cyclone. Most flights were canceled in and out of Denver but luckily we were flying into Montrose — but we had amazing snow and incredible beauty.

Unlike my recent ski trip to Breckenridge, temperatures were moderate (upper 30’s) so it allowed us to hike, snowshoe and ski.

The day after we arrived, the sun came out and we took advantage of hiking around town.

Sking was also amazing — big snow and blue skies. It was so great that Lynn decided to bring her skis out of retirement and give it a whirl.

I had just boasted about not falling from skiing in the past 3 years. As always happens when I boast about anything — karma bits me in the keister. On my first run down a double blue mogul, my right ski snagged the top of the mogul and I came tumbling down. However, Bob and I got vindication when we slew this steep mogul:

This snow was some of the best I’ve skied in for a long time.

On our last few days, we decided to snowshoe. I’ve only done this a few times, but I really enjoyed it. We hiked from the top of Mountain Village down into Telluride Valley.

On our final night in Telluride, we experienced the worm moon. What a great way to cap off a great week in Telluride.

Thanks to Bob and Diane for inviting us!

3rd Annual Ski Trip: Breckenridge/Vail/Keystone

In February 2019, we had our 3rd annual ski trip — this year we decided to take on Breckenridge, Vail, and Keystone. All 3 resorts received around 300 inches of snowfall this season so the snow was immense and fluffy.

With the extra snow came cold weather. Most days it was in the teens so riding the chairlifts up was a bit frigid.

We decided to stay in Breckenridge because we could quickly ski Breck — Keystone and Vail are a short drive away. Our rental had a great view of the slopes and a nice hot tub to rest the sore muscles at the end of the day.

Here’s Tom Helderle getting ready to shred the mountain:

Summary

Skiing Vail was on our coldest day but we still shredded the back bowls. Breckenridge’s ski day was a bit warmer so we took advantage of some fast runs. Keystone has the steepest blue runs of all 3 resorts, we really enjoyed the barrelling down the mountain.

Here is a video of this year’s fun:



Annual Skip Trip – Breckenridge Colorado

Last year a few friends and I started an annual ski trip tradition, beginning in Lake Tahoe. This year we decided on Breckenridge, Colorado and it did not disappoint.  If you haven’t been to Breckenridge before, it is one of the coolest mountain towns around. It has a quaint yet hip vibe and incredible slopes.

This year one of our buddies brought along a GO PRO so we captured video of the trip. We were lucky to get about 8 to 10 inches of fresh powder the first night we arrived.

We stayed in a ski-in / ski-out home we found on AirBnB. It was well appointed and very convenient. We would wake up, have breakfast, put our skis on and hit the slopes without carrying skis to lifts — it was awesome.

The first day of skiing was fresh powder, I really enjoy that. The next day they groomed the slopes so we were able to play in both environments — how cool is that?

We skied all day both days only taking a small break for lunch.

As mentioned earlier, Breckenridge is a really cool mountain town. We found a great breakfast place and an incredible Italian restaurant. We also stumbled onto this shop that had precious gems — they had the largest selection of gems and fossils I’ve ever seen!

I’ll leave you with one last picture — of people taking pictures of people taking pictures…

 

 

Postcard from Telluride

Finishing up our summer travels, we spent 2 weeks in Telluride, Colorado. It had been about 10 years since we last visited Telluride, I had forgotten how beautiful the town is. If you would like to see a slideshow of pictures we took while in Telluride, click here.

Welcome to Telluride

In fact, I would say Telluride and the surrounding area is probably the most beautiful mountain area in America, based on all of our travels.

Bridal Veil Telluride

Telluride is pretty remote. It takes 6 to 7 hours to get there from Denver and once there, it is a true mountain town. There are no major chains (Starbucks, Walmart (thank God), etc), so you better stock up on things before you get there.

Lake around Telluride

You come to Telluride to unwind or take in some outdoor sports. There are lots of mountain biking and hiking trails. However, riding a road bike is a bit of a challenge here, with only about 3 miles of paved trails. The town is small, but it has lots of cool boutique shops.

Telluride

Telluride has a lower and upper mountain level. The lower part of Telluride is the town and about 2,000 feet upwards is a town called Mountain Village (that’s where we stayed). Oprah Winfrey has land up there and plans to build something in the future. The houses are spectacular and they have a beautiful golf course in Mountain Village (too spendy for me, they wanted $195 a round).

Mountain Village

Opposite to Mountain Village is a high mountain range where Tom Cruise owns a house. It’s now for sale for $59 million, a bit out of our price range. The picture below is on a road that leads up to where his house is, as you can see it’s incredibly picturesque.

Road to Tom Cruises house

One of the attractions of Telluride and surrounding towns are old ghost towns left after the mining dried up. We visited Animas Forks Ghost Town and several others around the Ouray area.

Animas Forks Animas Forks Cabin Animas Forks Animas Forks

Animas Forks

I will leave you with some pictures from our hike up to Bridal Veil Falls in Telluride. If you get a chance to visit Telluride, I highly recommend it.

Bridal Veil Telluride Waterfall across the road in Bridal Veil Falls Base of Bridal Veil Falls Top of Bridal Veil Falls

About this Blog

This blog chronicles the travels of Steve and Lynn Miller, a couple that retired early after selling their software company. If you would like to sign up to receive these blog posts via email, scroll to the top  right sidebar of this page and enter your email address.

If you like this blog, you may also like Steve’s We Retired Early blog where he blogs about lifestyle freedom, financial independence and technology.

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Hiking Bridal Veil Falls in Telluride, CO

We are currently visiting Telluride, Colorado. From the town, if you peer 2,000 feet up the east side mountainside, you will see a power plant that looks like a house perched upon a ledge with an incredible waterfall that gracefully falls 1,000 feet below (Bridal Veil Falls).

About 8 years ago, we attempted to hike to Bridal Veil Falls with the boys and our new dog (our dog Katie was only a few months old).  The hike to the top is close to 2,000 feet in elevation change and the road to the top is rocky. Many people drive Jeeps and pass you along the way. Unfortunately, the hike was too strenuous for the boys and a new puppy so we turned back about a quarter of the way there.

 

Bridal Veil Falls

Fast forward about 8 years later, we are in Telluride again and I think both Lynn and I wanted a second chance at the hike so we decided to give it a shot. We have been working out pretty hard all summer, so I felt comfortable that we could do it.

Just around the first set of switchbacks, you begin taking in the view of Telluride below.

Telluride Colorado

Only another 1,200 feet to the base of the falls, so we pushed on. The views are even more breath-taking.

Bridal Veil Telluride

Before long, we encountered a waterfall that crosses the road and it is wonderful. My wife remembered that this was the exact spot we turned back with our kids last time.

Waterfall across the road in Bridal Veil Falls

As we continued to climb, we noticed the views of Telluride became more impressive.

Views of Telluride

As we walked, we talked about how we love being retired and how proud we are of our kids. We reminisced about our travels and how beautiful the world is. Forgetting the strenuousness of the hike, we looked up and we were already at the base of the falls.

Base of Bridal Veil Falls

There was a young couple there capturing some pictures and enjoying the magnificence of the view.

I told my wife if she felt up to it, we could go another half mile and see the view from above the power plant. I expected her to say “No, I’m good, we got to the base.” Instead, she said “Sure, let’s do it!”.

As we started up the next set of switchbacks we met a couple that were on a 3 month trip across the western USA and were in Colorado visiting their son before they headed out on the bigger adventure. We found we had a lot in common with them and talked along the way. Time sped by, we looked up and we were already at the top of the power plant.

Top of Bridal Veil Falls

After taking in the view, we headed back down the mountain. We noticed this section of the mountain that had previously used for mining. It had an old mining railway that was obviously dilapidated. To get this section, you had to cross over a bridge that had few wooden planks left.

Crossing over to old mine

We walked around the old mining shaft and could see where the mining carts used to shuttle ore from the mountain to the mining station at the base of the mountain.

Old mining railway

However, years have taken their toll and it’s now the railway to nowhere.

Railway to nowhere

I was surprised to see that some of the old mining carts were still stacked up along the mountain ridge.

Old Mining Carts

As we headed down the mountain, we talked about how much easier the hike was down than up. My wife was a trooper. She stretched herself a bit with this hike and I was really proud of her.

About this Blog

About the Author

Steve and his wife built a software company, sold it and retired early. Steve enjoys blogging about about lifestyle freedom, financial independence and technology. If you like this blog, subscribe here to get an email each time he posts.

Steve uses Personal Capital to manage all of his finances and investments because it is free and very robust. If you would like to download a free copy of Personal Capital, you can do that here.

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Chasing Ghosts in Colorado

Animas Forks: A Colorado Ghost Town

During our 2 week stay in Telluride, Colorado, we started looking around for nearby towns to visit. We happened to find a town with no residents. At least not anymore, it is officially a ghost town.

Animas Forks

Animas Forks was once a bustling mining town. Starting in 1873, the town eventually grew to 30 cabins, a hotel, general store, saloon, and post office.

Animas Forks

They even had their own newspaper “The Animas Forks Pioneer” that lasted about 13 years.

Animas Forks

Stepping inside of the old cabins was a bit eerie, you could imagine families huddled in the small rooms after a long day of mining. Winters would get cold here. One year Animas Forks received 25 feet of snow and residents dug tunnels to get from building to building.

Animas Forks Cabin

Animas Forks officially became a ghost town in 1920 when mining profits began to decline. Luckily, the town is well preserved and gets about 100,000 visitors each year.

Animas Forks

Getting There

Getting to Animas Forks is a bit of a challenge, unless you have a 4 wheel drive vehicle (preferably a Jeep). Animas Forks is located about 12 miles from Silverton, Colorado (about 2 hours from Telluride).

However, driving those 12 miles from Silverton can take about an hour because the road is narrow and rocky. Along the drive, you will see abandoned mines.

Animas Forks

You will also catch glimpses of beautiful waterfalls and incredible views.

Animas Forks Waterfalls

We drove an Audi 4 wheel drive up to the ghost town, but it was a slow bumpy ride. If we had it to do over again, we would have rented an ATV or Jeep in Silverton, that would have made the drive more fun and less rocky.

I’ll leave you with one final picture of our view on the way back down from the ghost town.

Animas Forks View

About this Blog

This blog chronicles the travels of Steve and Lynn Miller, a couple that retired early after selling their software company. If you would like to sign up to receive these blog posts via email, scroll to the top  right sidebar of this page and enter your email address.

If you like this blog, you may also like Steve’s We Retired Early blog where he blogs about lifestyle freedom, financial independence and technology.

Follow Steve: Twitter | Facebook | Linkedin

Have You Ever Visited a Car Show?

A few weeks ago, we visited a car show in Fort Collins, Colorado. There were really cool cars there, here are just a few.  Today’s post is really light on narrative, so enjoy the pictures.

Really Old Cars

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Cars from the 50’s and 60’s

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Hot Rods

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A Little Bit Funky

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Where can you find Old Relics Surrounded by Modern Buildings?

Fort Collins, Colorado is a cool city. It has plenty of stores and shopping, great bike paths, lots of hiking areas, and a hipstery vibe. However, I think one of the coolest things about Fort Collins is that the city was built around a farming town. As you traverse the streets of the city, you will see old buildings that were left standing as new, more modern buildings encircle them.

Here are just a few examples of this.

Old Barns

This old barn is right next to a bank, eateries (Pancake House and Fuzzy’s) and a cycling shop.

Old Barn

Old Barn

Old Barn

Old Barn

As you drive around Fort Collins, you will see farmland with working barns.

Modern Barn

Modern Barn

Work Sheds

These work sheds are located just behind a bicycle shop.

Work sheds

Work sheds

Work Sheds

Work Sheds

Old Farm Houses

This old farm house has now been converted into a State Farm office.

Old Farm House

Old Farm House

This homestead has not been used for years.

Old Homestead

Old Homestead

Old Homestead

Old Homestead

Old Farm House

Old Farm House

I’ll leave you with one last picture, we caught this double rainbow after an afternoon shower.

Pot of Gold?

Pot of Gold?

Brought to you by Flip Flop Software

Here are a couple of apps you may be interested in:

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Can boating get more beautiful than this?

 

My wife and sons gave me the best Father’s Day present I could have hoped for — a day on Lake Dillon. Lake Dillon is located just outside of Breckenridge Colorado and has incredible views. Mountain vistas and islands within the lake make this an ideal place for boating.

Lake Dillon

Lake Dillon

Mountain Vistas

Mountain Vistas

Renting a boat on Lake Dillon is surprisingly inexpensive. Our 2 hour rental set us back $115. The boat is an 18 foot runabout, perfect size for 4 people.

Skipper for the day

Skipper for the day

First Mate

First Mate

We cruised around the lake listening to my favorite album (Lucky Old Sun by Kenny Chesney) and my boys and I enjoyed a cigar.

Ryan enjoying a cigar

Ryan enjoying a cigar

Best Father's Day Ever!

Best Father’s Day Ever!

We watched as the sailboats raced around the lake and enjoyed a picnic lunch on the water. It was a great day.

Sailboats on Lake Dillon

Sailboats on Lake Dillon

Brought to You by Flip Flop Software

There were sailboats racing by as we enjoyed a picnic lunch on the water. All in all, a great day!Brought to you by Flip Flop Software

Here are a couple of apps you may be interested in:

  • Count Us Down – It’s fun to count down the days to big events like vacations, weddings, births, concerts, and sporting events. The really cool thing about the Count Us Down app is that you can share those big events with friends and family and you can count down together.
  • aMemoryJog – Organize all of your passwords and other easy-to-forget information with the aMemoryJog app. aMemoryJog works on the web and on your iPhone and seamlessly syncs together.

CountUsDownANDaMemoryJog

The Great Stupa of Dharmakaya: Can you guess where this Buddhist Monument is located?

A stupa is a spiritual Buddhist memorial that is used to renew a spiritual connection to Buddha’s teachings. If I were to ask you where you might see a stupa like the one below, where would you guess?

The Great Stupa of Dharmakaya

The Great Stupa of Dharmakaya

I bet you would guess one of these places: Tibet, China, Japan, Sri Lanka, Nepal, India, or Bhutan.

Not so! We visited this stupa located near Red Feathers Lake, about an hour from Fort Collins, Colorado. We were amazed. The stupa is located in a very remote area, with beautiful mountain views but nothing but a few houses and farms located nearby.

Lots of farmland next to the Stupa

Lots of farmland next to the Stupa

As we drove up to the compound, we were surprised that it was difficult to find a parking spot. There were a lot of people visiting on a Sunday afternoon. Once parked, it is about a mile hike to the stupa. People come to the stupa as a retreat and camp in the many tents inside of the compound.

Tents for retreat visitors

Tents for retreat visitors

The hike to the stupa is pretty easy, you simply follow the flags and cross several bridges along the way.

Black bird shows you the way

Black bird shows you the way

As you make your way to the stupa, you can hear the sound of nearby creeks.

Bridges along the path

Bridges along the path

Before long, you arrive at the stupa.

Arriving at the Stupa of Dharmakaya

Arriving at the Stupa of Dharmakaya

Once inside, you are greeted by a huge Buddha. As you walk clockwise around the room, you can see relics and donations left by other visitors.

Buddha greets you inside

Buddha greets you inside

Once you’ve visited the stupa, you are invited to watch a 25 minute movie that explains how and why it was built. It was built in honor of Shambhala Mountain Center’s founder, the meditation master, author and artist Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche. It honors his contribution in bringing the spiritual teachings of Tibet to the West.

Up close shot of the Stupa

Up close shot of the Stupa

I’ll leave you with our view on our walk back to the car.

Our view back to the car

Our view back to the car

Brought to you by Flip Flop Software

Here are a couple of apps you may be interested in:

  • Count Us Down – It’s fun to count down the days to big events like vacations, weddings, births, concerts, and sporting events. The really cool thing about the Count Us Down app is that you can share those big events with friends and family and you can count down together.
  • aMemoryJog – Organize all of your passwords and other easy-to-forget information with the aMemoryJog app. aMemoryJog works on the web and on your iPhone and seamlessly syncs together.

CountUsDownANDaMemoryJog