Hiking in Colorado was amazing. Just a spectacular hike with great company. The weather was perfect, the scenery was amazing, and we went at a time where the mountain flowers were out; 100% perfection.
Since I go hiking in Colorado nearly every year I could tell there were some differences due to the Rona life.
The noticeable difference started at the airport when I flew out on a Friday:
- Fridays and Mondays the TSA pre-check line is usually quite long with business travelers. Not this time, I was the only person in the TSA pre-check line.
- Everyone’s wearing masks and the airport is nearly empty.
- Fellow passengers in the airport are overwhelmingly young people and families. The average age of travelers appeared to be a few years younger than my age.
- Iceland Air’s plane was missing. Every Friday around 7PM there is a direct MSP to Iceland flight; the plane arrives to MSP the night before and is always at the same gate waiting for Friday evening. It was the same flight we took to kick off our world travels so every time I’ve been in the airport on a Friday I always get a happy reminder of our wonderful travels. The plane was missing. Probably because international travel is nearly non-existent.
- Loading of the plane was done in smaller groups and went a hell of a lot faster than normal for some reason.
- Middle aisle free seating on Southwest was really strange. Normally, people don’t want to sit in the middle aisle anyway but this was really, really strange since the plane was full.
A lack of business travelers was very strange. It’s only happened a few times in the past and it was always at touristy but not businessy locations, like Hawaii. The whole experience in the airport just felt surreal.
Hiking was different too. As I mentioned, the weather was absolutely perfect, the scenery was stunning, and I had, as usual, a great hiking companion. However, due to the Rona, Rocky Mountain National Park was limiting the number of visitors and slotting visitors into specific times between the hours of 6AM and 8PM. Since we weren’t able to get a slot we opted to show up before 6AM. Not a huge deal since we usually try to get to the trail head around 5:30AM to watch the sunrise on the trail.
We went to the same trailhead we’ve been to four-ish times in the past, usually no one is around or just a handful of people are around. This time there was a huge conga-line of vehicles driving into the park before 6AM and the trailhead parking lot was 2/3rds or more full with tons of people around. It was wild. People want to hike regardless of a pandemic and I guess they’ll show up at the ass-crack of dawn to go hiking.
Once we were on the trail it wasn’t different. Stunning beauty, serenity, blissful nature. Normally on the return part of the trip we start running into seas of people. Since the time slots exist we didn’t see many people at all on the return and the parking lot was full by roughly the same amount – another rather strange situation since the parking lots are usually jam packed and there are people swarming all over the trailheads.
Otherwise, everything in Colorado was great. We also went down to the Royal Gorge and enjoyed some beautiful mountain scenery along the way.
100% recommend. Would do again. A+.
Enjoy the photos!