|Colorado is an absolutely beautiful state. We boast the most 14ers in the nation, some of the
cleanest mountain water, and views that are to die for....literally. If you are from out of state and
visiting, there are a couple of things that you need to remember when playing here. Especially if
you are off the beaten path (which is the best way to enjoy the state).
Drink lots of water! The humidity level in the mountains is often lower than that of Phoenix, AZ. Keep water with you
at all times, even if you are just driving around. Getting dehydrated sucks, and will ruin your trip.
Make sure you always have at least a half of a tank of gas in your car. There are many places in the state where it
is 70 miles or so to the next gas station, not including the hundreds of miles of forest road that you can get lost on
(and your cell phone may not be working).
There is no cure for altitude sickness! The sickness usually sets in after 24 hours of exposure to high altitude. You
make get it one visit and not the next. It can happen to anyone regardless of their level of physical fitness (or lack
thereof). It has no rhyme or reason, and the only cure is to go home. Altitude sickness causes your brain to swell,
and while drinking caffeine to constrict the blood vessels can alleviate some of the symptoms, there is no actual
cure. Your body will usually acclimatize at some point, but this is not the time to push yourself. If you do get sick,
take it easy.
You must always have some equipment with you, even if you are just tooling around in your car. Snow storms can
happen in July, and unless you spend your entire trip on the Front Range....you should always be prepared.
In your car (in additional to the normal crap you have in there)
Emergency Medical Kit (Base Camp)
In your backpack (even if it is just a day hike)
Emergency Bag (this $5 little mylar covering will save your life)
Light Rain jacket/pants
Emergency medical kit (dayhiker)
There are many good resources that you should also have with you.............
The first item you should purchase is the Colorado Atlas and have this in your car the whole time. It contains all of
the USGS grids for the state and most of the dirt roads are marked well. If you get lost and have an out of state
tags, there is a chance that the person you ask for directions will consider you a tourist and mess with you. Don't
get upset, the locals have given up a lot to live here full time and massive amounts of people in the state for three
months out of the year does a little damage. It's the locals that have to clean the mess up. Some are nice, some
are not, and some have been living the life for a while and are not aware of what's going on outside of the county
they live in.
The second item you should have is a good guide book for whatever you play. There are guide books for hiking,
fishing, climbing, biking, and just about everything you can imagine. You can get most of these at Amazon (ad
below), and should have them before you hit the state. Keep in mind that the books are general to the state of
Colorado, you still need to visit the local shops (usually listed in the guidebook) for more detailed information.
What to wear.........
This is very important if you intend to spend any time outside. Layer, layer, layer. In the winter....no cotton. The
goal here is to contain the heat you produce. Cotton is the worst insulator, and a disaster if it becomes wet.
You should always have three layers with you at all times. A base layer, a mid layer, and an outer layer. The base
layer should always be poly or wool (merino is the softest). This wicks moisture from your skin without dispersing
heat inefficiently. The mid layer should just be a fleece piece to add extra warmth, and the outer layer should be a
water proof shell if you are engaging in an activity. A down jacket is the best if you are just hanging out. All outer
layers have rip stop nylon, the difference between water proof and water resistant is the taping of the seams.
Anything that has a finish prayed on during manufacturing will not work.
Socks and boots are also extremely important. The socks should contain the same material as your base layer,
and the boots should be of a high quality (with Gore Tex). There is a lot of substandard clothing out there, pay
close attention to what something is made out of...not the brand. One or two good pieces makes the difference
between having a great time, and having a miserable experience. The typical rule is "pay now, pay later". Pick your