How Climate Change May Impact Your Colorado Vacation

How Global Warming May Impact Your Next Colorado Vacation

For the past 5 years I was beginning to notice more and more that the summer vacation season in Colorado kind of sucked. Specifically during the months of July and August. The heat had become relentless for Colorado. We were receiving frequent ozone danger warnings and the fire season never seemed to end. A deepening drought situation impacted Blue Mesa Reservoir and limited our ability to have fires when we went camping. And, real talk, if I heard another transplant talk about how great it was that it didn’t snow that much during the winter I was going to scream.

There was a clear disconnect in understanding how these weather conditions were not only impacting our day to day lives there is also a direct impact on the experience that visitors are having when they visit our beautiful state. In this episode I’m going to share how global warming may impact your next Colorado vacation and what to consider when planning your trip.

* In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. Please read my disclosure here.*

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Show Notes

I’m going to put it out there that I no longer advise visiting Colorado during the months of July and August. There are several reasons why:

  • Fire season-Even if Colorado isn’t experiencing a large fire, fires from other western states will likely impact your experience.
    • In the form of smoke, haze and high ozone. Enough where it’s difficult to see the mountains from the City of Denver. Or, where people are advised to stay indoors.
  • Even if you’re in the mountains, this smoke may impact your hike. There’s nothing like looking across the mountain range and seeing lingering smoke while trying to breathe during high altitude activities.
    • Or, your outdoor events such as Rockies’ games, concerts at outdoor venues such as Levitt Pavilion or Red Rocks
  • Flooding on burn scars-Burn scars are the areas left behind after a fire. They are vulnerable to flooding activity during rain events. I-70 one of, if not, the busiest road in the state was shut down several times during the summer of 2021 due to flash flood events and massive amounts of debris that trapped people on the road. Visitors and citizens of the state then had their routes diverted around the state. Those diverted routes added a crazy amount of hours to people’s trips, they spent extra on gas and it pretty much sucked. Other mountain towns were also overwhelmed by the huge uptick in business.
  • If the smoke is bad enough, it may impact visibility flying into DIA (Denver International Airport) and your flight might get cancelled, delayed or diverted. In fact, I flew in from a trip to Nashville on August 7, 2021 when Denver had the unwelcome distinction of having the worst air in the entire world and visibility was so poor flying into the airport that day that flights were impacted coming into Denver.
  • Drought and lack of water-Earlier this year I drove down to the fabulous town of Telluride. What shocked me during the drive was how low the Blue Mesa Reservoir reserve was. For residents that low water line impacts the water we’re able to use for drinking, watering the lawns, etc. But, for tourists, that lack of water impacts water related activities that they may engage in such as boating, water skiing and stand up paddle boarding.
  • During the winter if there’s not enough snow, that lack of snow impacts ski season. Who wants to fly to Colorado to ski on icy runs? In fact, buying a ski pass became a crap shoot for a couple of years because I couldn’t figure out which ski resorts would have constant fresh powder and a deep enough base for the season.

What to Do

Fortunately, global warming is a topic that is frequently in the news and it’s not a situation that is unique to Colorado. In fact, the week that Denver and the state of Colorado had the worst air in the world, so did Utah. In fact, a lot of the problems that Colorado is being challenged by-so are other Western states.

  • If possible I would strongly advise avoiding visiting Colorado during the months of July and August. That is when the impact of fire season is felt the most.
  • Visit between the months of September-June those are the best times to visit in terms of weather and the crowds ease up as well.
  • Use car shares or the light rail when in Denver to minimize car related pollution
  • Obsessively follow the weather. Depending on the time of year you’re looking at the following reports:
    • Fire activity
    • Snow reports
  • Check CDOT for road closures and other activities that may impact a road trip
  • Be patient with businesses and staff as they navigate through supply chain impacts from disruptions caused by these unforeseen situations.
  • It’s likely that many of your favorite travel locations will (hopefully) begin issuing similar guidance in order to help travelers plan vacations that avoid as much as possible being directly impacted by global warming.

Adrian Miller

Adrian Miller

Adrian and I spoke sometime in 2020. It’s hard for me to wrap my head around the fact that I felt like reaching out to him while the sky was falling around us. I’m sure that I was still in deep denial about how long COVID would be around. I’d watched his work with a lot of interest. As a foodie, I paid attention to his work and finally after seeing Adrian on the show Somewhere South, I knew it was time for a conversation. In listening to the episode I wish I would have asked questions like: How do you think the pandemic is impacting the experience of food? And what will our food story be coming out of this time? Luckily, Adrian ended up on a new show that captured my imagination and touched on those questions. You can see him as a historical expert on “High on the Hog” a 4 part series on Netflix about the African-American contribution to American food. It’s a must watch.

* In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. Please read my disclosure here.*

Thinking About Starting a Travel Website?

It’s pretty simple to do and cheap! Start with Siteground and WordPress.org. With this winning combination you’ll own your own website by the end of the day. And, Siteground has easy to follow tutorials to help you with setting up your site.

Show Resource

Are you planning your next Colorado road trip? Or, are you looking to support Colorado local businesses and want to stay within budget? Qube Money is a digital envelope app that is FDIC insured and pairs with a debit card. For the past 4 months I’ve tested out Qube Money and have become a huge fan of it. If you’re trying to keep your money organized, Qube Money is a great resource to use.

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Show Notes

  • Colorado native Adrian Miller “The Soul Food Scholar” Dropping Knowledge Like Hot Biscuits!
  • His side-hustle is writing books about food.
  • How on earth did Adrian become a self-taught food scholar especially coming from Colorado that didn’t have an innovative food culture.
  • His parents were a part of the great migration of African-Americans moving out of the South to other parts of the US. That influenced his food experience.
  • John Egerton’s comment about never having seen a preeminent book on the history of Black food
  • I ask about how he’s experienced the changing food scene in Colorado.
  • Difficulty growing and cultivating food may have been a barrier to establishing a Colorado food scene.
  • Denver Food Security Council here in Denver and we’re becoming a lot more conscious about the conversation around advocating for folks and keeping them feed.
  • I ask the quintessential Colorado question for people who grew up here.
  • Adrian shares what it’s like to go out in the world as a Black Coloradan
  • 1860’s a group of Black men fought for the right to vote in Colorado
  • Gentrification in Denver is an issue for Colorado cultural identity
  • Black people are everywhere LOL!
  • Robert Smith, the Billionaire is from Denver.
  • Pueblo Chili vs. Hatch Chili-Why doesn’t the Pueblo Chili get as much love. Pueblo does host the Pueblo Chili and Frijoles Festival and it’s happening September 24-26, 2021
  • I ask Adrian the following question in two different ways.
    • What would you tell someone who is looking to move here?
    • What would you tell a POC who is looking to move here?
  • We talk about the City of Aurora-it has an incredible food scene. You can get almost any type of food that you can think of.
  • What Adrian’s top 3 bbq places in Denver right now (do you agree)
    • Owl Bear
    • Boney’s
    • Roaming Buffalo

Follow Adrian

Crested Butte

A Conversation with Josh F. from Travel Crested Butte

More often than not, when people think of Colorado mountain towns they immediately think of Vail or Aspen. Towns like Crested Butte, Leadville, and Ouray rarely make the list. Not because they aren’t amazing, but because these towns are often overlooked because they aren’t on rich girl TikTok. It’s probably a good thing. Crested Butte is my favorite mountain and in this episode I speak with Josh Fetterman, founder, Travel Crested Butte.

* In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. Please read my disclosure here.*

Thinking About Starting a Travel Website?

It’s pretty simple to do and cheap! Start with Siteground and WordPress.org. With this winning combination you’ll own your own website by the end of the day. And, Siteground has easy to follow tutorials to help you with setting up your site.

Listen to the Episode

Show Notes

  • My favorite mountain is Crested Butte, a diamond in the rough.
  • Josh Fetterman introduces himself founder of Travel Crested Butte
  • He shares how he ended up in Crested Butte and how he started his company.
  • His first visit started a lifelong love of the town.
  • 2013 was the turning point in his journey to living in CB full-time
  • I wonder how he noticed the “gap” in online content on Crested Butte. Basically, how did he start his business and recognize the opportunity to build his business.
  • What makes Crested Butte unique?
    • Locally run businesses
    • No national retailers
    • Nature and nice people
  • Travel Crested Butte leads with the visitor in mind
  • I share briefly how I experienced CB while hanging out at Camp 4 Coffee.
  • What exactly does Travel Crested Butte do?
    • They do not book trips or anything like that.
  • The influence of Instagram on travel and increased tourism
  • How is Crested Butte different than other CO mountain towns? Why choose CB vs. the other?
    • Recommendation: spend at least 1 week there due to location
  • Wildflower capital of Colorado

Related Posts

Travel Crested Butte (cont.)

  • How has COVID impacted visiting Crested Butte? What should we be aware of?
  • Crested Butte was one of the first places in the US to have a spike in cases. Likely due to international and intrastate travel to the town.
  • Josh shares how the town worked to protect the town’s citizens.
  • Vaccination rollout and mask ordinances. July 1st (ish) should be when most restrictions to capacity will be lifted
  • What should POC anticipate about visiting this town?
  • I share my experience with Josh
  • He shares some tips for those of you who would like to visit during the summer season.
  • Josh recommends visiting during early June and late August/September outside of high season.
  • Sustainability focus and watch your poo

Travel Crested Butte

Blackpackers Founder Patricia Cameron

Blackpackers with Patricia Cameron

It may surprise you but there is a large segment of Coloradans who don’t enjoy the outdoors on a regular basis. In fact, there is a large number of people (including myself) who learned how to ski as adults because they couldn’t afford to learn to ski as kids. For families of color, in particular, not only is access to the outdoors a frustrating mix of safety concerns and transportation challenges. There’s also the often forgotten conversation related to the cost of equipment needed to enjoy a majority of activities outdoors. If you want to camp, thruhike, climb you need good equipment in order to enjoy these activities. The following conversation discusses this issue and my hope is that it broadens your awareness of the ongoing issues related to accessibility and the outdoors.

* In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. Please read my disclosure here.*

Thinking About Starting a Travel Website?

It’s pretty simple to do and cheap! Start with Siteground and WordPress.org. With this winning combination you’ll own your own website by the end of the day. And, Siteground has easy to follow tutorials to help you with setting up your site.

Listen to the Show

Show Notes

  • Patricia Cameron the founder and Executive Director of Blackpackers introduces herself
  • What is Blackpackers and the mission?
  • The impact of finances on access to outdoor spaces. How Blackpackers is working through barriers to entry
  • Patricia shares a hilarious 1st time backpacking story and every time I think about it I laugh. What wasn’t funny is the fact that she had to work overtime in order to afford the equipment.
  • I wonder why backpacking called to Patricia as an activity to enjoy.
  • I ask about what was scary about backpacking for the first time.
  • What about backpacking continued to attract her after the hilarious first trip?
  • She shares the amazing “buy in” to her non-profit. If you build it they will come.
  • How can we support Blackpackers?
    • Money!
    • Spread the word
  • If I’m looking to use Blackpackers, how does it work?
    • Sign up for the email list or join the Facebook group
  • I wonder if it’s possible to access the gear outside of the regular events?
  • Patricia was preparing to do the Colorado Trail at the time that we recorded this interview. I ask why she’s decided to do it? She shares her love of the state in her comments.
  • Suburus and Chacos (Sweet Jesus)
  • Why is it important for people of color to experience the outdoors?
    • Generational trauma and the connection to the Outdoors. Why it’s so important to have this conversation.
  • POC and the fear of being in outdoor spaces. This is an important conversation.
    • This is why Blackpackers events are done in community.
  • What is the worst and best thing about living in Colorado?
  • I distract us and share that I’m heading to Salida, Colorado for a staycation.
  • Social media and the normalization of POC faces in outdoors spaces. But, bias during outdoor interactions is still a huge issue. Btw, Patricia hates Instagram.
    • She mentions the Christian Cooper and Amy Cooper case in her comments and the Ahmad Arbery murder while jogging.
  • We talk about her Colorado Trail trip and Patricia talks about a previous outdoor experience and making connections while on the trail.
  • Fellowship vs. gatekeeping of outdoor experiences
  • What’s the worst and best thing about living in Colorado as a person of color.

In Case You’re Wondering

Patricia did complete the entire Colorado Trail during the summer of 2020 while COVID raged on around us. It has taken me almost a year to publish this and a number of other episodes that I recorded last year. At the time that we had this conversation we didn’t know how crazy things would get moving forward. I decided that now was a great time to finally release this episode because it’s almost summer. There are a number of incredible communities connecting Black/Brown and other marginalized communities with outdoor spaces often with allied support.

Nature has been the space where I clear my mind, connect with my most creative ideas and meet new people. A couple of weeks after that conversation I went on a backpacking trip with a local hiking group. It was incredible. I was the slowest person in the group. But, I just kept putting one foot in front of the other. At first, I felt badly about being so slow. Then I realized that we all move at our own pace. Because I was the slowest in the group myself and two other hikers got to see two bull mooses (meese?) 500 feet from the end of the trail. I loved reading about Patricia’s experiences on the trail and watching the television coverage of her amazing experience.

For the parents out there I highly recommend reaching out to day camps and other programs to see if they have scholarships available for you to apply for. I would not have had the experiences that I did outdoors if my mom didn’t apply for those scholarships for me. Fewer people than you think are applying for available scholarships. Just make applying for scholarship funds a part of your regular routine. Sooner or later your kids will likely be awarded one.

Related Episodes

  • The Digital Green Book

Follow Patricia and Blackpackers

Mentioned in the Episode

Outdoor Resources

Finally, if you’re looking to enjoy the outdoors and are looking for community here are a few groups to check out. They may have chapters in your neck of the woods.

Buy Me a Coffee

If you enjoyed this content, please Buy Me a Coffee. It costs money to run a website and podcast. Also, I love to create my content while at the coffee shop.

Visit Colorado Tool Kit

Digital Green Book

Digital Green Book

I’m a huge fan of the show Lovecraft Country. The show is set in the 1950’s and the family at the center of the show publishes a Travel book. This book is specifically to assist Black motorists driving around the part of the United States that the family lives in. This exploration is key to the events that occur during the show. What does this have to do with today’s conversation? It’s the genesis of everything that my two guests are in the process of creating. I love this episode and I hope you leave with a deeper understanding of the project, why it’s still relevant and hopefully support the project in some sort of way.

* In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. Please read my disclosure here.*

Thinking About Starting a Travel Website?

It’s pretty simple to do and cheap! Start with Siteground and WordPress.org. With this winning combination you’ll own your own website by the end of the day. And, Siteground has easy to follow tutorials to help you with setting up your site.

Listen to the Show

Show Notes

  • The dynamic duo shares how they met. It’s hilarious.
    • The 6 degrees of separation in CO is really 1 degree
  • What are sundown towns? Unfortunately, they still exist.
  • The Negro Motorist Greenbook published from 1936-1960
  • Crystal came up with an updated idea
  • They discuss the issue of unconscious bias and interactions
  • Parker and Crystal bring up an idea that I found incredibly intriguing. The business case for inclusion.
  • The ladies share how the Digital Green Book differs from the original resource.
  • The Yelp for Inclusivity
  • The Digital Greenbook has one of the stated goals of quantifying the lived experiences of discomfort of visible identities.
  • Crystal shares an intensely personal experience of preparing to avoid problems in new spaces.
  • And Crystal shares her unique experience of hunting as a person of color and how it amplified anxieties related to her personal safety in unknown interactions in primarily white spaces.
    • Is it really your 2nd Amendment Right?
  • We laugh about how people are surprised to find that people of color are in Colorado
  • What type of demographic data are the ladies looking to collect in order to make a substantive business case for diversity and inclusion.
  • I wonder about what the response has been.
  • The economic reality of launching a platform like this. It’s not cheap.
  • Pondering the experience of otherness
  • We end the show with a hilarious TMI moment

Related Episodes

  • Blackpackers with Patricia Cameron-To be released 5/19/2021

Mentioned During the Show

The Epic Guide to Moving to Colorado

Connect with Parker and Crystal

If you would like to support and share the Digital Green Book project or just follow what the ladies are up to check out the links below.

  • Beta Launch City: Denver, CO June 19, 2021 (Juneteenth) Sign up to support and participate in the launch.

Media Mentions on the Topic

Buy Me a Coffee

I love Colorado local coffee shops for so many reasons. Besides brewing great coffee and community they were the only places that I could work from for the past year (for the most part). The various patios around town were a welcome space to work on Square State and my other online projects. Please support this work with a one time or ongoing donation. Buy Me a Coffee today and I’ll share your name and which coffee shop I enjoyed on you! Also, the donations go towards my time and the cost of running the show.