Saltwater, Sea Air and Sassy Prose

Saltwater, Sea Air and Sassy Prose

About Cassidy Springfield

Cassidy Springfield is the pen name for a multi-published author of both fiction and nonfiction. Under Cassidy, she writes travel reviews, travel recommendations, and New Adult/Coming of Age novels. Dog-lover, adventurer, dreamer, and stargazer. Life is too short to waste on anything that doesn't ignite a fire in your soul.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Fall in Love with Out of the Way Slices of Perfection #Colorado #Travel

Jefferson Lake, Colorado--all photos on this post taken by Briahna Easton
 
There are perks of being a Colorado local for twenty-two years and marrying a native--one of the best being is knowledge of tucked away slices of majesty.

There are no crowds of tourists, no advertising on the highway, yet this remote high altitude lake in the Pike National Forest is picture perfect paradise. Less than two hours from Denver, Colorado, this little-known area awaits for fishing, hiking, camping, picnicking or simply meditating on its shores.

Getting there requires some local knowledge, though, because it isn't marked on Highway 285 and the town of Jefferson, Colorado consists of less than a dozen buildings---a fudge shop, a Moose Caboose, a museum, and a bar/grill being the most notable. In fact, once you cross Kenosha Pass, slow down because the town of Jefferson is right there and you'll need to make a hard right at the Moose Caboose. I'm not kidding.
Looking down onto Jefferson from Kenosha Pass
You'll see signs for another lake, Tarryoll, with arrows pointing in the opposite direction, but there is no such sign for Jefferson Lake. You just need to "know"...so now you do. The road is horrible, lined with potholes that could do some serious damage if you're not driving slow, and you may start to feel like you're lost. You're not. Several miles along this road you'll see a small brown sign indicating that you are near a National Park. Turn right at the sign onto an even worse dirt road. These roads may scare a less adventurous soul, but I ask that you be patient and just drive slow. All around you you will see willows lining a river dotted with waterfalls surrounded by mountain peaks dotted with snow. Soon you'll come to the National Park entrance that is marked with a very old red hut. The ranger may or may not be there--it's hit or miss. If he's there, you'll pay $6 for a day use pass. If not, it's free. From this point on, the road is paved and maintained.

This area is known for its wildlife---moose, bear, deer, fox. It's lush with vegetation and the drive is serene. Campgrounds and picnic areas line the river, all with a feeling of seculusion due to the thick forest. At the top of the road is Jefferson Lake--prepare to be awed.

little waterfall along the trail--steeper than it looks
No motorized boats are allowed on this high-altitude lake. You'll see fishermen on the shoreline and a few kayaks or canoes, but that is it. I've hiked here many times over the years and have never seen more than a dozen people at most, all scattered over the vast area. The hike is not for the faint of heart, though. You are near the summit and the lake itself is at 11,000 feet. There are times on the trail when you will be hiking through snow--even in the summer. The trail is not well-maintained and, at times, you will need to navigate fallen rocks and trees. There are also a few waterfalls you'll need to jump over and a shallow river to cross.

Snow on the trail--June 20, 2016
This is an easy day trip for Denver and the foothills, but go early to avoid the late afternoon thunderstorms that are so common at high altitude. After hiking or fishing or simply enjoying some peace, stop by the Moose Caboose or the local cafe in Jefferson for a late lunch or dinner, meet a few locals, and head back home. Traffic can be a killer on a Sunday when headed back to the city, so why rush it? Grab a bite to eat and take it easy. The environment invites a slower state-of-mind so give in to it.

Travel safe! Wishing you all green lights and friendly faces on your journey.

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Thursday, June 2, 2016

The Perks of Traveling Solo

You're going where? Alone? Aren't you afraid? Who will you share your memories with ten years from now? What if you're kidnapped...or murdered?! Oh, the questions just keep rolling in when I mention traveling solo.

But, I laugh them off because I have secret insights as to the many perks of traveling alone that my fearful acquaintances don't understand. Here are a few:

  1. I'm accountable to no one. If I want to sleep in to have breakfast in bed or if I want to sit on a beach watching the sunrise--it's my decision alone. I don't have to explain it to anyone. I am tied to no one's agenda but my own. Now that's freedom! 
  2. Easily meet new friends from all over the world. There's something about being solo on a trip that makes people want to include me in their conversations. Perhaps they find it odd that I'm alone or maybe I just have that non-threatening look about me that allows people to strike up an easy conversation. Whenever and wherever I travel, I'm not alone all the time. People at the bar or on excursions are quick to ask me to join them for dinner or meet them at the beach. The best thing about this is that I have connections from all over the globe--and I get to choose my company and how long I stay with them. I'm never 'stuck' in an uncomfortable situation. 
  3. Speaking of uncomfortable situations, have you ever traveled with a friend you thought would be fun on a trip only to realize once you're on vacation that they whine about everything? But you're stuck with them--trapped in the role of 'travel buddy' when all they want to do is complain about the food, the weather, the people, the heat, the cold--you know the type. As a solo traveler, you have the power to control your own experience at all times! If there is ever a situation where someone is making you uneasy, it's much easier to part ways with a stranger than with a friend you need to see back home. 
  4. Flexibility is another perk. If I'm disappointed about where I'm staying or the destination itself, it's much easier as a solo traveler to change plans on the fly. 
  5. But what about eating alone? (This seems to really freak some people out--I hear this question all the time) Umm...it's never once bothered me. Yes, depending on the country, there is a strange reaction to a woman showing up for dinner alone at times, but that's on them not me. If I am sitting in a coastal town with a table overlooking the ocean, believe me when I say I am fine with not needing to make small talk or entertain someone else. If this is an issue for you, grab take out and head to your room or find a place in a park somewhere to have an impromptu picnic. There are solutions to this relatively minor situation. 
Of course, as a single traveler, you do need to be smart. Check out the security of your hotel before you go--if anything creeps you out once you're there, change accommodations without feeling the need to apologize. Do what's best for you. Always pay attention to your surroundings and be savvy about protecting yourself. Let someone back home know what you're up to...just in case. Have your emergency contact info in your suitcase or in the safe of your hotel. These are things any traveler should do--whether you're in a group of ten or one.

Solo travel is empowering on many levels. Not only do you have the freedoms I mentioned above, but you come to connect with yourself on a much deeper level. You gain confidence about what you're able to do on your own, which only strengthens your independence.

Don't let being solo stop you from having the adventures you dream of. Even if you're not single but your significant other doesn't want to travel somewhere, go alone and embrace your individual power.

When I was only twenty-one, I headed out on my first solo travel adventure around the world. It scared me at first--perhaps intimidated would be a better word? But soon I learned some life lessons that have stayed with me for twenty years--people are innately good all over the globe whether we speak the same language or not and you get what you put out there so always be kind.

Go forth and have a good time. Life is short. Don't let a silly thing like being single ever stop you from enjoying this beautiful planet we call Earth.

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