Veedauwoo climbing autumn larch

Vanlife diaries #30: Wind RIvers & Denver, Colorado

Moving at a much slower pace due to my broken toe, I spent most of this week working to finish a large consulting project related to my research while Dan hiked in the Wind Rivers. By the weekend, though, we were in Colorado’s colourful capital hopping between some of the best breweries in the country. Hardly a better way to recover from an injury!

What we’ve been up to this week

After exploring the “hippie pool” (free hot spring) at Granite Falls last weekend with our friends, Dan and I started off the week by checking out the paid Granite Hot Springs nearby— and were treated to a pretty luxurious soak amidst the changing aspen trees for a crisp $8.

I’ve been increasingly restless without all my usual hiking, but if there’s one thing that never fails to relax me (or Dan), it’s hot springs. It’s hard to be tense in 100F water!

Finally leaving this beautiful area behind, we spent the next couple days hanging around Pinedale, Wyoming, the access point for most of the hikes in the Wind Rivers. While Dan hit the trail (in admittedly gloomy weather), at least I had a mountain of research work to keep me busy in the van before we finally headed onwards towards the stateline.

It was pretty frustrating to be leaving Wyoming behind with so many trails untouched, but it only means we’ll have to revisit under better circumstances in the future— for now, we are just focussed on getting me to Colorado with a functional toe. Which, annoyingly, meant walking around Veedauwoo instead of climbing, the final insult to this pesky injury.

Grand Teton National Park Wyoming Granite Hot Springs vanlife camping
Chill time at our camp near Granite Hot Springs
Veedauwoo climbing autumn larch vanlife
Checking out Veedauwoo climbing area

By the end of the week, we excitedly crossed the border into Colorado— and promptly launched into a full-scale brewery tour that would continue for the next several weeks.

Denver, as Dan loves to say to every bartender we meet, is “a real beer mecca”, and therefore we had our work cut out for us. But before we even reached the capital, we had some of our favourites in the otherwise uneventful town of Greeley and the van was fully stocked with Wiley Roots and WeldWerks.

The next few days were a flurry of activity as we chatted with all the locals about all the beer, visited no fewer than 7 breweries, checked out some local live music, and indulged in a slew of delightful food.

It was only a start to the list of breweries Dan’s been eyeing further afield in Boulder, Fort Collins, and even southern Colorado, but we had an awesome time and can’t wait to check out more of this beautiful state (and all its amazing beer) in the coming month!

Where we stayed this week

We spent the first half of the week camping among the golden aspen and the second half staying in Denver, the perfect blend of nature and city buzz!

  • Boondocking on Forest Service land near Pinedale, WY (free; 27-28 Sept)
  • Boondocking on Forest Service land near Saratoga Springs, WY (free; 29 Sept)
  • Boondocking on Forest Service land near Laramie, WY (free; 30 Sept)
  • Boondocking out front of Wiley Roots in Greeley, CO (free; 1 Oct)
  • Boondocking in Denver, CO (free; 2 Oct)
  • Quality Inn near the Denver Airport ($32 after reward points; 3 Oct)
Grand Teton National Park Wyoming Granite Hot Springs vanlife camping
Driving to Granite Hot Springs