The Great Adventure, Right in Your Backyard

This post was inspired by a curiosity about what you love about where you live. Where are your favorite haunts in your city or town? What do you have on your “to do” list that you have yet to explore? I want to hear about your great adventures, right in your backyard! Do you wish you had more?


I spent my final semester of college on a study abroad in the Middle East. Our campus was on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem and we traveled frequently around the region. We floated in the Dead Sea and slept in cabanas by the Sea of Galilee. We roamed through Petra’s ancient wonders in Jordan and we climbed Mount Sinai to witness the sunrise. We marveled at the Great Pyramids and sailed the Nile at sunset.

Upon the completion of my studies, I stopped over in Europe with a few of my friends. We backpacked five countries in two weeks and had the time of our lives. One of our final destinations was Switzerland. We stayed at a hostel inInterlaken, the country’s outdoor Mecca. After a day of rafting the mighty Lütschine, we talked late into the night with some fellow travelers.

One of them was named Ralph. He was charming, athletic and drop-dead gorgeous. He was a mail carrier from Australia who had saved up his money for a year-long adventure abroad. He was going home the next morning. Feeling remorseful about the end of my own travels, I asked him how he thought he would adjust back to his humdrum life after being given a glimpse of the world.

His answer still resonates today:

“Before this trip, I was always planning my next great adventure. It has taken this trip to help me realize there is so much close to home I have yet to experience. My next great adventures will be in my own backyard for many years to come.”

This has become my mantra in life. Sure, I still love to travel. I always will. But there is so much to explore here and now. And two weeks in a row, I have had The Perfect Day right here in Colorado.

creamery can copyA couple of weeks ago, my son Bode and I went to The Children’s Museum. After a morning at play, we went to buy our favorite cookie from their cafe, only to discover it has been discontinued. This sent us on a wild goose chase to discover the birthplace of The Great Cookie at Jay’s Patio Cafe, which is nestled in a funky shopping district in Highland. We spent the next couple of hours exploring this cool area–from Red Door Swingin’, my favorite new shop to visit with my girlfriends, to Little Man Ice Cream, the ultimate ice cream shop housed in a giant creamery can.

Who knew?

Last Thursday, Bode and I opted out of a hike we regularly do in Evergreen to simply walk around Evergreen Lake. I have skated it in the winter, driven past it to access the back country and yet have never walked around it. We strolled the dirt path, climbed the steps to a lookout over the dam, sauntered down Main Street, discovered the Pioneer Trail, threw rocks in the lake, marveled at a Caterpillar dredging sediment out of the river and then dined on the outdoor patio of the Aspen Grill overlooking it all.

The Perfect Day.

I am amazed what I find when I leave my daily routine. Whether I am searching for The Great Cookie or attempting to rediscover The Familiar, I feel fortunate to find it all here in my backyard.

And just as my Australian friend wisely proclaimed so many years ago: wherever you live is your Great Adventure.

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