Trip Log: Steamboat Springs
If you’ve been hanging around Ryley Writes for long (or, honestly, not that long), you know how much I love Texas. It’s home, hands down, and I share that uniquely, blind-rage kinda love other Texans have for the state. I am fiercely loyal to it.
Colorado, though? It’s a close, close second.
My family started taking summer trips to Colorado when I was eight years old. There were a small handful of ski trips in there every now and then, but the summers are what stuck — and for good reason.
As a friend and former teacher of mine said recently, “Colorado in the summer is intoxicating.” It’s all crisp greens and blues; thin, bright air; rushing rivers and towering mountains and sprawling, open space. It is easily the place I feel most myself, and luckily, for the past seventeen years, my family has returned to it over and over again.
This year, though, for the first time, my mom’s parents and her brother and his family joined the party. We rented a house in Steamboat Springs, a town I’d never been to in summer and only once in winter, on a ski trip when I was twelve. (Fun fact: One of the best days of my life took place on that trip. A memory that usually comes out on top when people ask me to choose a favorite from childhood. I should write about it sometime.) All twelve of us piled in, from three different states, and for eight days, I got not only to return to my happy place, but see it through the eyes of my cousins, who were experiencing it for the first time.
We hopped around town, finding our favorite burger joint and bookstore and tacky t-shirt shops.
(Side story: My mom and I followed our noses to Steamboat Coffee Roasters when I smelled their beans roasting from up the street. We wandered in and quickly realized this was strictly a roaster, not a shop; but Eric, the owner, poured us a cup anyway. He gave me a hard time for taking photos — “You know I wouldn’t have been able to peg you for a tourist if you hadn’t pulled that thing out, right?” — and told us a bit about the company, as well as suggestions for things to check out around town. And the coffee? Some of the smoothest I’ve ever had in my life. Turns out, the roast he gave us hasn’t been released yet. I’ll just be refreshing their wholesale partners’ websites until it does.)
We spent time on the river. #RESPECTTHEYAMPA
And we did a little exploring. (In this case, of Clark, CO, for the purpose of horseback riding. I have no proper photos of that because I’ve always felt like carrying a nice camera on a horseback ride seems like I’m secretly daring my horse to throw me, idk. Here are some phone photos, though.)
We read books, we played basketball, we (unsuccessfully) looked for bears. I didn’t wear makeup and ate a lot of pancakes and I pet every dog I met. It was the best week I’ve had in a while, and left me wanting more. (And missing my aunt, uncle and cousins! Move back to Texas, please.) (Kidding, you guys can do what you want I guess.) (Kind of.)
On our very last morning, my cousin Aiden and I got up before everyone else and snuck into town for one last Powder Day Donuts run. When we pulled up, they weren’t yet open; but the owner invited us in anyway, flicking the lights of the case on to the day’s first batch of goodness. I smiled at the snowboard decks serving as signage, and the countdown on the wall: “157 days to ski season!”
We rubbed sleepy eyes and pointed out our choices, then piled back into the car to eat. By the time we pulled back in the driveway, my jacket was dusted in cinnamon sugar and the coffee was doing its work. I was ready for the drive back to DIA — but not ready to leave. Maybe I should post a countdown on my own wall at home. “Too many days to Colorado!”
Steamboat, you were a dream. Can’t wait for next time.