Colorado Denver Hotels Pet-Friendly Travel The Rockies The Southwest Travel Utah: Colorado Denver Hotels Pet-Friendly Travel The Rockies The Southwest Travel Utah
Warning: This story includes tons of adorable photos of pups.
Woof, woof. Bark, bark. I’ve never seen so many happy dogs in my life as those that have padded, trotted and trounced through our little mountain town of Telluride, Colorado these past weeks. Little, big, short-haired, long-haired, well-groomed or scruffy, they all have an air de vacances, a certain joie de vivre that makes it clear they’re happy to be a part of their mom and dad’s vacation as well.
As a confirmed cat person, I hadn’t had much experience traveling with dogs up until over a year ago when I went on a road trip with my friend Mary Dawn (MD) and Valentino, her beautiful Bernese Mountain dog. Our travels, which I recount in my story, Travels with Valentino, culminated with the choosing of DaVinci, a new brother for Tino. As of last fall, we thought DaVinci was big enough to accompany us on a couple more trips: one to Moab and Salt Lake City, Utah; the other to Denver, Beaver Creek and the Vail Valley. I tell you, these dogs get around. And wherever they go, they are greeted with a fanfare of enthusiasm that makes me happy to just be tagging along. Here are some of the highlights from the best pet-friendly properties we visited on our jaunts:
Art & Culture Colorado Four Corners Hotels Telluride The Southwest Travel Utah: Art & Culture Colorado Four Corners Hotels Telluride The Southwest Travel Utah
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“Hi-Yo, Silver! Away!”
Such are the famous words shouted by the Lone Ranger as this masked man gallops off on Silver, his handsome white stallion, the same words shouted by kids throughout the decades as they head off on an adventure. Ever since the original radio show aired in 1933, through the popular TV series of the forties and fifties, across the pages of comic books and then highlighted in films, “Hi-Yo Silver!” has captured the excitement and dashing spirit of the West for the better part of a century.
Colorado Mountain Living Outdoor Adventures Telluride The Rockies The Southwest Utah: Colorado Mountain Living Outdoor Adventures Telluride The Rockies The Southwest Utah
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The rivers are running hard and fast in Colorado and other parts of the West right now. As our snowpack melts, creeks and streams swell and massive quantities of water surge into rivers, splicing through red rock canyons and verdant riverbanks. Rivers such as the Gunnison and the Colorado render near barren lands fertile thanks to clever irrigation systems, many of which were created over a half century ago. Western states such as Utah, Nevada and California delight in and depend on Colorado’s winter snowfall. Indeed, the appetite for this pristine supply of water has become so great that by the time the mighty Colorado arrives in the Gulf of Mexico, it is nothing but a trickle.
Before this happens, however, our rivers provide fabulous recreation for river runners—from serious oarsmen to casual day trippers—all in search of a good time. Whether you’re looking for a jaw-dropping adventure over gnarly rapids or a casual float along a wide swath of still waters (often possible late summer), rafting on the river promises some of the best fun around. And you can bet that views from the water are often more glorious than those appreciated from land.
I try to get out on the river at least once a year, not much in comparison to many people that head out on week-long river trips as soon as ski season ends. But for some, a river rafting expedition represents a once-in-a-lifetime occurence. Either way, river trip memories rank as some of the best.
Art & Culture Colorado Four Corners Hotels Restaurants The Southwest Utah: Art & Culture Colorado Four Corners Hotels Restaurants The Southwest Utah
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I’m feeling a little sentimental these days. Lately this golden season has flooded me with memories of two significant trips I took in the West at this time of year. The first occurred eleven years ago when I discovered the penetrating red rock landscapes of Moab, Utah during a road trip with the goal of where to settle in the West. The second happened in Monument Valley when I accompanied my parents on a trip-of-a-lifetime through southern Utah and then down to the Grand Canyon. (Visiting the Canyon had always been a dream of father’s—little did he know he’d end up marveling at the awe-inspiring monuments of Monument Valley just as much.)
At each of these high desert destinations, I felt and continue to feel humbled by the panoramic vistas seemingly painted in every shade of red throughout this arid land. Here buttes, spires and pinnacles tower over you as though nature’s standing guard in what sometimes looks like one of America’s last great frontiers. It’s no wonder some of the most iconic images of our country may be found in Moab and Monument Valley, Utah. The greatest westerns ever made were filmed here, specifically at two lodges that continue to pay tribute to the rich history of movie-making that occurred around their properties: Red Cliffs Lodge in Moab and Goulding’s Lodge in Monument Valley. The landscapes at and surrounding these ranches have, in fact, been so well preserved that movies, TV shows and commercials continue to be filmed here today. (Johnnie Depp was just at Goulding’s last spring filming the new version of “The Lone Ranger.”)
Outdoor Adventures Podcasts Shopping The Southwest Travel Writing & Books: Outdoor Adventures Podcasts Shopping The Southwest Travel Writing & Books
How many of America’s national parks have you been to? I’ve only visited a handful even though I love the great outdoors, wide open spaces and awe-inspiring scenery. It’s so beautiful here in Telluride that I often feel like I’m living in a national park. But still. There are so many out there to discover; the question is where to begin.
Here’s a great start: let James Kaiser, award-winning travel writer, photographer and expert guide you. Listen to my Travel Fun interview below and hear what James has to say about some of America’s greatest treasures. Like me, he agrees that most Americans are missing out on what’s in their own backyard. “Fifty percent of the people you see in America’s national parks are foreigners,” James says. “They travel halfway around the world to visit our national parks,” he continues. And while you’re listening to our interview, I suggest you check out his site, JamesKaiser.com, where you can see and shop for some of his spectacular national park photos.
Art & Culture Colorado Hotels Shopping Telluride The Rockies The Southwest Travel: Art & Culture Colorado Hotels Shopping Telluride The Rockies The Southwest Travel
Are you familiar with those digital photo frames that display a continuous stream of select images? Well, I was back east in October visiting my parents and brought one of those frames to them as a gift. We had to enlist outside help (thanks Brian) to transfer my images onto the frame (I’m so eighteenth century), but once it started to flash our faces across the screen, we all beamed. My father especially glowed since he was finally able to see himself backdropped by a parade of images from the Grand Canyon and other notable sites in the Southwest. It was like bringing him back to the South Rim of the Canyon to gaze over the vastness and grandeur of what is most certainly our country’s greatest treasure.
We embarked on our two-week Western Jamboree just about a year ago. Fall and even winter are two fantastic seasons for visiting many of our National Parks, especially the Grand Canyon. During these times the wondrous play of light combined with a lack of crowds make these sites even more enchanting. The focal point of our trip was to be the Grand Canyon, a place my father always dreamed of seeing. At the age of eighty-four, we were ready to grant him his wish.