Being a Colorado native, you don’t know how lucky you are ’til you leave the state. You only know what you know. I knew the summers were great, the sun would shine most days of the year and the mountains were there to the west like a firm backrest. As a kid in Littleton, it was as if we were at the end of the city, just miles away from fishing, camping and hiking. My dad always had equipment for every activity, whether we were water skiing in the frigid Chatfield Reservoir, camping at Taylor, or fishing at a creek off of the road somewhere. We ate a million processed hot dogs, were covered in dirt for every weekend out in the mountains and played on every far off soccer field from Parker to Arvada (that was far back in the day). Colorado was and still is a giant playground.

Although we didn’t travel too much, we spent a week every summer driving through the night—my brother and I sleeping in the back of the truck while my parents drank coffee to drive straight through to Kansas. Maybe your parents had devised some creative solutions to traveling long distances back in the days of no seat belts. We had a customized red Toyota pickup, where my dad installed a shelf system in the bed of the truck. He fastened a full size piece of plywood between the shell and the truck bed. On the top level we stored our luggage, while my brother and I slept against the ice cold truck bed in sleeping bags on cushions made of our grandmother’s afghans. We had a few snacks, Archie & Friends comics, and flashlights to keep us entertained ’til we fell asleep and awoke to Kansas sunrises.

We really enjoyed our summer vacations playing in the lake, but going home was nice to get out of the muggy and sweaty weather. As a teenager, it was just ridiculous! I don’t know how any other girl in the ’80s kept her high-banged, permed hair in place while living in a humid state! During my college years, I lived one summer in Dallas and it was just pointless to shower in the morning. If your air conditioner wasn’t full-throttle in the morning, you would sweat getting ready for the day. To avoid the extreme heat and humidity of the days, I would try to run at night but my fingers were still the size of sausages as I got back home. To all the Texans reading this, you may have been acclimated to your weather, but a Colorado girl just can’t take the heat!

The weather isn’t the only perk about our Centennial State—it’s of course the Rocky Mountains. There is something about that mountain vista, the layers of peaks that give depth and grandeur to our western horizon. Do you know what I am talking about? I have seen the ocean a couple of times, but it’s got nothing on our evening sunsets. I guess it’s to each his own. But I’m gonna guess that you feel the same way—you live in Colorado—you’re reading Colorado Serenity Magazine. You were either born here or chose to make a move to live out a dream of living and playing in the foothills outside of Denver. If you are new to the area, let me just share some of my favorite places that hold wonderful memories of either my childhood, or with my kids who are lucky enough to call Pine their home:

Hiking at Staunton State Park, Pine Valley Open Space and Alderfer/Three Sisters Park. Paddleboarding at the Chatfield gravel ponds, Evergreen Lake or Bear Creek Lake. Fishing and canoeing at Jefferson Lake and Taylor Reservoir. Kids day out at Tiny Town, Corwina Park, Hudson Gardens and Littleton Historical Museum. Mom’s day out at Tallgrass Spa on Upper Bear and Woodhouse Day Spa in Golden. Bike riding from Frisco to Copper or along the South Platte. Day shopping and lunch in downtown Golden, Evergreen or Littleton. And my favorite local events are Elevation Celebration in Conifer in July and the Big Chili Cook-off in Evergreen in September.