This is a special guest post by BioLite beta testers, Nash & Kim.
There are only a few places in the world that take our breath away. Who would have thought this small interpretive state park in Colorado would be one of them?
We arrived at the Paint Mines right after nightfall. The wind was calm, the coyotes yipped in the background and the stars twinkled brightly above our bus, so we bundled up and stargazed until we couldn’t hold up our eyes any longer.
We had no problem overnighting it in the parking lot. No one seems to check the lot during this time of year and there is a little vault toilet at the beginning of the trail, so all and all we were home! We woke up to a beautiful sunny morning without a trace of wind. I guess to appreciate this weather I have to mention that there was an insane snowstorm the day before, closing the highway from Colorado Springs to the Painted Mines, so let’s just say we were surprised to wake up to sunshine.
We packed up some twigs we collected a couple days before, our Mizu bottles, milk, hot chocolate, water, and our favorite travel companion the BioLite CampStove 2 for preparing our late afternoon snacks.
There are two trails within the park — the Northern Loop (1.5 miles) & the Southern Loop (2 miles) — it doesn’t matter which one you choose as they will eventually intersect. The trail was covered in snow as we made our way into the mines. We followed the Northern Loop until we truly didn’t know where our path even was anymore. It was muddy and snowy so we just ended up exploring every rock formation that caught our attention.
Though the hoodoos and other formations look solid from a distance they are pretty fragile when wet, and will rub off on your fingers and leave colorful clay smears. This place wouldn’t be so fascinating if it wasn’t for the unusual colors that harmonize with the scenery so beautifully.
Jumping from one hoodoo to the next was probably the most exciting part of our adventure until we found a little secret spot and decided it was time to warm our frigid fingers with the CampStove 2. It cooled down pretty quickly once the sun disappeared behind the horizon, so you can imagine how excited we were to have packed our stove and hot chocolate.
After our snack, we explored a little bit further. Not too far from the first parking lot there is an overlook of the formations, which will surely blow your mind. Watching the spectacular view from above made us realize how tiny we really are in this vibrant world of ours; people roamed below as if they were part of one of nature’s greatest living paintings. We can’t wait for you to come across the rose colored walls, yellow and blue overhangs and the tall orange hoodoos.