I returned last week from a wonderful vacation in Colorado. A small group of friends and I traveled to the Rocky Mountains for a week of camping, hiking, and rollerblading in the famously crisp and oxygen-sparse Centennial State. Whether we were jumping 30 feet into the frigid waters of the Devil's Punchbowl or making our fourth stop of the day at the outdoor goods store, I don't remember one moment when I wasn't smiling. It was a much needed respite from the chaos of everyday life during the COVID-19 pandemic.*
We arrived at Denver International airport on Wednesday morning, then drove west through the capital toward our camp site. For the next six days, we drove throughout the foothills to skate parks, hiking trails, river rapids, and eerily abandoned out-of-season ski slopes. Some of my favorite memories were foraging in the cold for fire wood at 6am and eating fat MLT sandwiches (that's mushroom-lettuce-tomato for the uninitiated). The one experience that I didn't particularly enjoy was finding tiny leeches on my arms and legs after swimming in one of the rivers behind one of the skate parks. I readily exhausted my supply of baby wipes to address the issue, and so far I haven't seen any lasting damage.
This was my fourth year in a row attending this particular camping trip, and I hope that life circumstances permit me to go again next year.
Anyway, it's time to get back to work! I start my new job at Princeton very soon.
*I received a brain swab before and after this trip and tested negative for COVID-19 both times.