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Rediscovering Balance: A Spontaneous Autumn Escape in Colorado

In the midst of my hectic corporate life with its constant hustle and grind, the walls of my office left me with a profound craving for wide-open spaces and a slower pace. Throughout my career, I wasn't always the best at taking time to recharge. Part of it was my genuine excitement for my work. But, an underlying fear of missing out was also present. Ignoring my need for a break often left me feeling drained and far from my best. It was September a few years ago when I finally hit my limit. Desperate for an escape, I took a spontaneous road trip. The road led me to Colorado where I spent weeks exploring rugged mountain ranges, ski towns, and ghost towns.

On one unforgettable part of my journey, I encountered the Million Dollar Highway between Silverton and Ouray. Recognized as one of the world’s deadliest highways, the terrifying 25 miles were the most challenging I've ever faced, even more so than experiencing an emergency plane landing! With no guardrails and drops of hundreds of feet, it’s a roadway where on average seven people each year meet their end. Unaware of this beforehand and with no place to escape or turn back, I found myself holding my breathe, tightly gripping the steering wheel and praying. Honestly, you couldn't pay me a million dollars to revisit that route.

World's Scariest Drives
Million Dollar Highway, Colorado

Over 85 percent of Colorado’s residents live in the more urban corridor or the “front range” of the Rocky mountains stretching from Casper, Wyoming and Pueblo, Colorado. The remainder of the population is scattered throughout the mountain towns and often lonely backroads at less forgiving altitudes. Ghost towns scattered throughout the state remind me of the bravery it took for settlers to establish their lives in the wild west. The challenges they faced, put my life and small worries into perspective.

I've now visited Colorado many times and during every season. The crisp nights and vivid yellows of the changing Aspen trees beckon me back to this enchanting place each autumn. The summer crowds have dissipated, replaced by a serenity unique to this time of year. The sound of the breeze through the Aspens has a special charm, lingering in my memory long after I've gone. Nights on the back range of Colorado can be darker than one would imagine and I find myself rejoicing in the stillness that such darkness creates.

It's challenging to predict exactly when the changing leaves will be at their peak. The transformation starts at higher altitudes, and my visits in late September have never disappointed me.

Small mountain towns and quite roads provide the space to reflect and recharge.

Whichever route you choose and whether you break away for 3 days or longer, a journey through Colorado in September might just provide a fresh perspective and reminder of the importance of balance.

For my favorite fall road trips, visit

Tip: Before venturing out to the back ranges of Colorado, a tip for fellow adventurers: Remember the days before we had maps on our phones? There are still many places in Colorado where you may unexpectedly find yourself off the grid. It's wise to carry a paper map, especially when exploring more remote locations.


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