For the months of January and February we decided to stay with Mike's brother and sister-in-law in a town right outside of Denver Colorado. We parked our van in their backyard and cozied up for two months. We had been traveling through a lot of big cities and spending way more money than we should have, so staying put for 2 months and Mike working was exactly what we needed. And my brother and sister-in-law were so gracious to us, letting us take over their house and backyard.
But then on March 1st we were off again! I was nervous about the transition back into vanlife having been able to be at a house and in the same location for the last two months. But we decided to start it off again with a bang, visiting 3 national parks in a 2 week period! We decided to drive through the Red Rocks and explore that area a little bit before making our way to The Great Sand Dunes. It was serious the best way to start off part 2 of vanlife. We hit so many big cities on the East Coast all the way through to December, that we were ready for some camping and solitude. And the Great Sand Dunes delivered all of that for us. We found the most perfect camping spot, and since it was super windy and pretty cold, we basically had the whole place to ourselves! We hiked the Sand Dunes (which was very challenging physically and mentally. Physically going up the dunes, and mentally for me going down them because of my fear of heights. I might have cried a little bit....), hiked around our campsite, read a lot, cooked good food and just relaxed. It was one of my favorite experiences thus far.
After the Sand Dunes we made our back to Pueblo Colorado because I had my first wedding of the season! I had such a great time photographing that wedding and kicking off this season that I have been SO excited about! After Pueblo we drove to Black Canyon of Gunnison National Park. Once we got there we realized most of the park was closed for the season. We figured some of it would be, but they had closed off a lot more than we expected. It is a beautiful park, but we unfortunately did not get to see most of it. We did camp though for a few days and did as much exploring as we could. A place we will have to come back to during their regular season.
BUT, then we drove through the Million Dollar Highway and the area TOTALLY redeemed itself! It was such a beautiful drive through snowcapped mountains and small mining towns. It is called the Million Dollar Highway for a reason. Completely breathtaking. And the highway took us to Mesa Verde National Park, which unfortunately gave us the same results as Black Canyon. We barely explored anything and we did not camp there, so our time was pretty short. Another place we will come back to. We did not camp there because I had my first Hipcamp assignment just 10 miles down the road in a small town called Mancos...
Hipcamp has been such a blessing for us! I am a field scout agent, so I claim assignments (locations) that other field scout agents have not been to yet. And then I go and stay on their property for a night and take pictures for their listing on Hipcamp! Basically to make their location/site/lodge/cabin/yurt/whatever they have look really appealing with good photos so that people will be more open to staying at their place. It is seriously such a great job to have and I've loved meeting all the hosts and hearing their stories and what they do in life. So this was our first location, basically tons and tons of land on this farm run by an amazing young couple. They are basically doing what Mike and I want to do once vanlife is over:) It was such a beautiful property with amazing views!!! We had the best time staying there. Click HERE to go to their Hipcamp page... they also do wedding on the property! So if you are getting married and are looking for a venue in Colorado, book this place and hire me as your photographer!!!!!!!!!
Below are iphone photos... Trying to balance taking photos on my camera and phone is hard! So below are more photos of Mesa Verde and Black Canyon. I didn't take a whole lot of photos of those places on my camera... And I did not take my camera on the dunes because I was afraid of same getting in my camera. So iphone photos will have to do:)