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Digital Nomad Life Month 72

Month Seventy Two was a fairly quiet one for me, spent entirely in Colorado and mostly between Golden and Boulder – two of my favorite mountain towns near Denver.

But just because it was quiet on the travel-front, doesn’t mean it wasn’t a great month. As I am not going to be in Colorado for most of the rest of the year, I really relished getting to spend the month here.

I fit in lots of friend and family time, I ate out at some new restaurants in Golden and Boulder, I hit up a number of breweries, and hiked a lot – it was fabulous.

The first three days of the month we spent roadtripping through Colorado on the way back to Denver from Phoenix.

We visited one of the least visited National Monuments in Colorado – Yucca House, popped in for lunch and a look around in Durango, soaked in the incredible hot springs in Pagosa Springs, and revisited two of my favorite mountain towns – Salida and Buena Vista for breweries, hikes, and awesome food.

Downtown Buena Vista

We also free camped for the two nights we spent on our mini Colorado road trip, finding great spots just outside of town in Pagosa Springs and Salida through Campendium – a website we will be using a lot on our upcoming road trip.

Once we got back into Denver, we had a couple of nights with family in Wheat Ridge then checked into our spot for the next 2.5 weeks at Clear Creek RV Park in Golden.

Although I was sick for a few days of our time there, I still really enjoyed being right in the heart of Golden and being able to walk everywhere. I was super productive with work and the blog during this time, as well as taking daily walks around town and along the river, or hiking in the mountains around town.

Downtown Golden Colorado

From Golden, we spent a couple of nights in Brighton with Toby’s Aunt and Uncle and it was awesome to see them and the cousins. 

Our last stop of the month was Boulder, where we are housesitting for 11 nights and looking after a sweet dog named Bear.

So far in Boulder I have done a few great hikes, have been shopping on Pearl Street, have eaten out at a couple of places I haven’t been to before as well as returning to a Boulder fave – The Yellow Deli, and I even did a three-day juice cleanse (I ended up lasting till 5 pm on the last day when I ate pizza – whoops).

We also did an afternoon road trip to Lyons, Estes Park, and Nederland and it was so nice to get further into the mountains.

All in all, it was a fun month with some much-needed stability and lots of exercise.

Lyons downtown, one of the mountain towns near Denver

Now onto the stats!

Countries Visited: USA

Places Visited:

  • Colorado: Durango, Pagosa Springs, Salida, Buena Vista, Denver, Golden, Boulder, Lyons, Nederland, Estes Park

Durango downtown

National and State Parks, Monuments, and UNESCO Sites: Yucca House National Monument

Islands Visited: No islands this month.

Best Meals: Crab cake sliders from Backcountry Gourmet at 11th Street Station in Durango; Chicken pie from Colorado Meat Pie Co. Food Truck in Golden; Vegetarian breakfast burrito from The Peak Deli in Pagosa Springs; Vegetarian Indian taco from Tocabe in Denver; Spinach and cheese hand pie from the Golden Farmers Market; Margherita pizza from Crosscut Pizzeria in Nederland.

Worst Meals: Raw chicken tenders from Trailhead Taphouse and Kitchen in Golden and the disgusting veggie burger with a moldy bun at the Pahaska Teepee Gift Shop and Café on Lookout Mountain in Golden.

Best Craft Beer: Green Chile Ale from Soulcraft Brewing in Salida, Mount Mojito Sour from New Terrain Brewing Co. in Golden.

Hikes/Walks:

  • River trail in Buena Vista, CO 5.3km/3.3 miles 
  • Clear Creek Trail in Wheat Ridge, CO 8km/5 miles
  • Clear Creek Trail in Golden, CO 6.4km/4 miles
  • Castle Rock and Golden town walk in Golden, CO 8.7km/5.4 miles
  • Berkeley Lake, Rocky Mountain Lake and Tennyson Street in Denver, CO walk 6.4km/4 miles
  • Golden river and Triceratops Trail in Golden, CO 7km/4.3 miles
  • South Table Mountain Loop Trail in Golden, CO 7.2km/4.5 miles
  • Chimney Gulch and Lookout Mountain Trails in Golden, CO 17km/10.5 miles
  • Nightbird Gulch and Mount Galbraith Loop trail in Golden, CO 8.9km/5.5 miles
  • Boulder Creek Canyon Trail in Boulder, CO 10.5km/6.5 miles
  • Mount Sanitas Loop Trail in Boulder, CO 8km/5 miles
  • Red Rocks Trail in Boulder, CO 3.2km/2 miles

View from the Olivine trail - one of my favorite Golden Hiking trails

Watching: Starstruck – I love Rose Matafeo! So good to see a kiwi (female, POC) doing so well abroad, Greenland – always a fan of a disaster movie and this is a great one.

Reading: The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin, Mr Mercedes by Stephen King, Educated by Tara Westover.

New Posts Published on The World on my Necklace This Month:

11 Mountain Towns Near Denver You Have To Visit (1 Hour or Less)

I love the mountain towns of Colorado and after writing about the best mountain towns in the whole state, I also wanted to write a post about the best mountain towns near Denver as most people don’t have loads of time to explore much past Denver.

Our Summer Great Lakes Road Trip Itinerary

This post is all about our plans for this summer – an epic road trip around the Great Lakes as well as some of the East Coast. Although I am sad to be leaving my beloved Colorado for 3-4 months, I am so excited to be going to some new-to-me states and National Parks!

Absolute Best Hikes in Golden To Work Up a Sweat

After spending 2.5 weeks in the Clear Creek RV Park in Golden (and many years housesitting there and visiting), I wanted to write a post about the best hikes in Golden.

These are some of the closest mountain hikes to Denver and they are a great way to get into the mountains if you are visiting Denver and don’t have a lot of time or access to a vehicle.

The Clear Creek Trail - one of the best Golden hikes

Highlights

Soaking at Pagosa Springs

I love hot springs, and The Springs Resort & Spa in Pagosa Springs is one of the best in Colorado. The last time I was in Pagosa Springs back in 2016, I was on a budget and entry is pricey so I visited the Overlook Hot Springs instead.

It was nice but I was kinda kicking myself that I didn’t splurge and go to The Springs Resort, so now that I finally revisited Pagosa Springs I made it my mission to visit.

Pagosa Hot Springs

Toby wasn’t keen so I went by myself and it was so worth it. There are twenty-four mineral pools of different temperatures in total, spread out on the river bank with some of the pools actually in the river (these were closed when I visited because of high water levels). There are also geysers and hot waterfalls so it’s a pretty incredible place.

I spent a few hours hopping around the different pools on a beautiful sunny day and it was magic. 

Staying at Clear Creek RV Park in Golden

Golden is a special place for me and ever since I first saw its excellent spot right on the river right by downtown, I have been wanting to stay at the Clear Creek RV Park. Now that we actually have an RV, not just a van, we were able to make it happen.

Clear creek in Golden

We booked 2.5 weeks there to really experience life in downtown Golden, and I loved being so close to everything and right by the mountains while still being close to Denver. It was such a peaceful spot and we will definitely stay there again. 

Life Getting Back To Normal

Wow, does it feel amazing for things to be opening up again, no more masks (pretty much), and just the feeling of normalcy again after so long.

I freaken’ love it and it makes me so much more excited for our summer road trip plans, and for a still undecided international trip at the end of the year.

Sunshine Meadows in Boulder

Family Hang Outs in Golden

After spending six weeks in California, it was fun to see Toby’s cousins, their kids, his Dad, brother, and sister-in-law down by the river in Golden – the first time a large group of us had hung out this year.

Toby’s cousin booked an RV spot just down from us for Memorial Day Weekend and it was great to see them and hang out with her boys, and Toby’s Dad just happened to be in town from New Mexico during this time too.

Clear Creek Trail in Golden

Housesitting in Boulder 

We have so enjoyed housesitting in Boulder the past week – having a larger space to hang out in, being within a short walk of downtown, the mountain views from the deck, and having hiking trails really close have all been great.

We really love the dog we are looking after too, Bear is such a sweet boy and an absolute joy. I have wanted to do a sit in Boulder for a while and I hope we get to come back again in the future.

Boulder hike while housesitting

Hiking in Golden and Boulder

I love how much hiking I got to do this past month in Golden and Boulder, and I’m feeling fitter already. I finally did the Chimney Gulch trail in Golden, I hiked South Mountain and the Clear Creek trail multiple times, and I did some new-to-me trails in Boulder.

I don’t know how much hiking I am going to be able to do around the Great Lakes due to the heat and humidity, so I’m getting in as much as I can now, and really soaking in all the Rocky Mountain beauty.

Olivine trail on South Table Mountain in Golden

Mountain Towns Mini Road Trip

On the last day of the month, we did a little mountain towns road trip from Boulder to Lyons, Estes Park, and Nederland to get some more photos for my Colorado guides and to just visit some Colorado favorites.

The drive itself was beautiful, with a lot of it being on the scenic Peak to Peak Byway. We browsed the shops, did a short hike around Barker Meadow Reservoir, and ate some of the best pizza in Colorado at Crosscut Pizzeria in Nederland. 

It was a great way to spend half a day.

Downtown Estes Park, one of the best mountain towns in Colorado

Lowlights

Rained Out Memorial Day Weekend

The first weekend we were staying in Golden was Memorial Day Weekend, and I was looking forward to a sunny and hot weekend by the river in Golden with family.

Unfortunately, the weather gods had a different plan, and it pretty much rained the whole weekend – very unusual for Colorado.

This probably added to me getting sick too, as with there being ten of us, we couldn’t all fit in one RV so we sat outside under a shelter in the cold while it pissed down around us.

Not ideal.

Getting Sick

So the first weekend that I was actually out and about without my mask on in busy public places, I ended up getting sick with a cold for the first time since the pandemic started – go figure #maskswork.

It started out with a sore throat for a couple of days but then I just felt terrible and spent a couple of days just resting in the RV – it felt like such a waste to be out of commission while we were staying in downtown Golden.

It ended up taking about a week till I felt normal again, and it was frustrating not being able to work as much or do as much in Golden as I had planned.

Wildflowers in Boulder

Spending

Total: USD$2140.50

It’s funny how the months that I stay still, I actually spend the most money. I spent more on accommodation this month than usual because the RV park was not cheap, and I also used this month of standing still to get some clothes I needed, and we had parts we had to get for Toby to fix Brownie (an ongoing project).

Accommodation $494

My paid accommodation for the past month consisted of 19 nights at the Clear Creek RV Park in an electricity-only spot.

My unpaid accommodation for the rest of the month included two nights free camping in Brownie the RV in Pagosa Springs and Salida, four nights with family in Denver and Brighton, and six nights housesitting in Boulder.

Downtown Boulder

Food and Drink $742

A bit on the high side but not too bad because we were eating out quite a lot this past month.

Clothing $195

  • 2 x pairs of hiking shorts $55
  • Platform sandals $52
  • Green velvet blazer $44
  • Hiking singlet $44

Transport $193.50

  • Gas $193.50

Activities $50

  • Entry to Pagosa Hot Springs $45
  • Buffalo Bill Museum $5

Other $313.50

  • Toiletries $21
  • Hulu $6.50
  • Phone plan US $40
  • Books $38
  • Patreon $5
  • Hiking Hydration water bladder $41.50
  • Hydro Flask $25
  • Travel Aeropress Coffee Maker $30
  • Three Day Juice Cleanse $90
  • Stickers $13
  • Tea Towel $3.50

Website Costs $12

  • Monthly payment for Keysearch $12

Van/RV Costs $140.50

  • Parts for Brownie $80.50
  • Second Battery for Brownie $60

Avanti rooftop view in Boulder

What’s in Store for Next Month

The first five nights of the month will be spent still housesitting in Boulder, looking after sweet Bear. The weather isn’t looking great but we have planned to do a Mystery Picnic, and I want to do the difficult Green Mountain hike and some brewery hopping while we are still here.

After leaving Boulder we will have a few days in Denver getting ready for our big road trip and seeing friends and family before we leave, and then we are hitting the road!

Our first stop is the cool college town of Lawrence, Kansas, where will be spending July 4th with friends, and then we’ll be working the Kansas City BBQ Festival for a few days.

From there, we will be heading up to Minneapolis for a few days via a night in Des Moines, Iowa. After that, we are planning to visit Voyageurs National Park, and hopefully Isle Royale National Park too (I still need to book the ferry – hopefully it won’t sell out).

I’m hoping we can spend 2-4 days on Isle Royale, camping and hiking, but I’m still trying to decide what trails we want to do and where we would camp – if you know Isle Royale I would love suggestions!

Then we will be heading around the shoreline of Lake Superior and then Lake Michigan for the rest of the month, hitting up Duluth, Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, and more.

It should be a good one!

To read additional Monthly Recaps, you can find them here

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