return to the motherland |

getting in touch with my inner colorado girl

Oh what a year

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Since I recently moved into a new apartment, I just printed out a bunch of pictures to update picture frames.  And as I was reviewing my pictures I realized what a fun year 2010 has been.  In honor of the coming new year, I went ahead and picked out a picture from each month in 2010 that I felt represented that point in my life.  These pictures are not necessarily the best or my favorite pictures, but I feel like the events in these pictures illustrate my year collectively.


This picture is from Bear Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park.  My family came out to Colorado for a post-Christmas trip to help me move to Denver.  We went to Estes Park for a few days and played some intense board games.  I definitely feel this picture captures my “return to the motherland.”


February was apparently the lost month of my life.  I don’t have a lot of pictures from February.  At this time I was getting used to graduate school and life in Denver.  This picture is of my first pair of trail running shoes.  It’s been love ever since.  Except for my first trail run ever when I had to take four walk breaks.  After that though, it’s been love!


Thinking about this day makes me laugh.  My friend Lauren and I went snowboarding at Copper with her sister and brother-in-law.  Lauren told me that we were meeting her cousin for dinner afterwards.  I assumed it would be something low key, like oh I don’t know, an Applebee’s or something.  Nope.  Her cousin apparently plays poker for a living.  We went to Black Hawk, Colorado and ate a $300 meal at a casino restaurant.  In our snowboarding gear.  Only in Colorado!


Back in Estes Park.  There might be a pattern to this.  My friend Ashley came to visit me in April and we went snowshoeing at Rocky Mountain National Park.  We had a fun weekend and it was great to see one of my Missouri friends out in Colorado.


This picture is from the Great Sand Dunes National Park in southern Colorado.  I went down for a weekend with some of my friends and we stayed at a cabin nearby.  May was definitely a busy month for me with finals, my best friend’s wedding, the Sand Dunes weekend, and the Bolder Boulder.


I ended up having five weeks of free time between the end of classes and when I started my job, and I decided to fully embrace this time.  Free time in Colorado during the summer?  That’s not exactly what I call a problem.  That’s what I call “the dream.”  Anyway, I made it a point to try and have all sorts of fun, mountainous times.  This picture is from one of the best days of my whole staycation.  This day in particular consisted of rafting in the morning, hiking St. Mary’s Glacier in the afternoon with my friend Melissa, rafting again in the afternoon, and then eating at this awesome Italian restaurant in Idaho Springs.


Obviously my birthday was in July.  Although I do like to wear party hats on a regular basis when I go out.  I find it’s an excellent conversation starter.  I eventually started working at the end of July, but my friends and I continued having a fun, carefree summer.  Highlights included hanging out on the OAR tour bus and having frequent dinner parties and wine nights at the mansion.


During my last full weekend in Colorado before leaving for Atlanta,  my cousin, her friend Ed and I camped in Buena Vista, Colorado and hiked Mount Harvard.  The next day, I went white water rafting at Gore Canyon.  I also maybe fell out of the boat in the middle of a rapid.  Lesson learned: do not hike a fourteeener the day before an intense rafting trip!  Overall, this weekend was a great end to my Colorado summer.


Plains, Georgia is Jimmy Carter’s boyhood home.  And the sight of an epic weekend getaway with all of The Carter Center interns.  I can now cross off being in a peanut parade from my life bucket list.


I missed Colorado while I was in Georgia, but the Appalachian Mountains and my friends in Atlanta kept me quite happy.  This picture is from the top of Blood Mountain, the highest mountain in Georgia.  I truly made some lifelong friends in Atlanta, and I am so happy I had that experience.


I am so proud of this picture.  This might be my favorite picture that I have ever taken!  I went on a trail run at the Chattahoochee National Recreation area and captured some pictures of the scenery after my run.  Georgia fall was completely amazing.  I could almost live in Georgia for the foliage.  Almost.


My high school friend Libby went above and beyond the call of duty and volunteered to drive with me across the fabulous state of Kansas.  I don’t know if you have ever had the pleasure of driving from Atlanta to Denver – it’s a pretty brutal drive.  Libby also drove with me on the way to Atlanta in August, and she has pretty much secured “Friend of the Year” honors in my book.  I gave her a whirlwind tour of the Denver area while she was here, and the picture is us at Red Rocks.  She liked the mountains and all, but she was basically sold on Denver when I bought her a vegan cupcake that she could eat.

2010 it’s been real. I’ve learned a lot and made some great friends along the way.  Here’s to hoping that 2011 is just as full of mountains, friends and family!


Author: paulamahla

Typical Colorado girl that can't make up her mind. Trail running, hiking, climbing, camping, CrossFit, ultimate frisbee, and skiing? E, all of the above.

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