Discover Colorado’s State Parks: A Local’s Perspective

Discover Colorado’s State Parks: A Local’s Perspective

Guest blog by Monika McCarter

With an enormous variety of landscapes, Colorado boasts some of the most impressive and gorgeous scenery in the country, but one does not have to travel to the high country to enjoy some the state’s finest views.

Being located relatively close to the greater Denver metro area, there are a number of parks and hiking destinations that are especially charming and attractive to all. These destinations are ideal for tourists, and even elderly visitors need not embark on any strenuous hikes or long car rides to get a taste of Colorado’s beautiful scenery.

Our first destination brings us to Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument in Florissant.

Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument in Florissant

The easiest way to get there is by taking I-25 South to Colorado Springs, then proceeding to Highway 24 West towards Woodland Park, and from there, continuing to the town of Florissant.

Photo credit: https://www.nps.gov/

 

The monument is the site of rich and extremely diverse fossil deposits along with a variety of petrified redwood tree stumps. The visitor center is a great starting point to get an overview of the site before heading out to explore.

Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument offers beautiful, sweeping views of the surrounding countryside and mountains, with a number of trails to choose from. The petrified forest loop is a short, easy-to-walk hike, where one will have the opportunity to stand in the presence of ancient tree stumps from Earth’s past. This hike leads through a meadow, which millions of years ago was a large lake, and offers a beautiful and quaint stroll for visitors. Should any visitor be curious about the site’s history and geology, trails are equipped with signs that provide additional information about each site.

Being particularly beautiful in early summer when local wildflowers are in full bloom, Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument is assuredly a gorgeous destination to enjoy easy hikes. It is suggested that visitors bring and enjoy lunch on the available picknick tables along the trails.

 

Next as a must-see destination is Roxborough State Park, which is located roughly 20 miles south of Denver.

Roxborough State Park

The best way to get there is by taking C-470 to the Wadsworth Boulevard exit and heading west for about 7 miles.

 

 Picture credit: Wikipedia

 

Roxborough State Park is a magnificent location where Colorado’s golden plains meet the awe-inspiring majesty of the Rocky Mountains. The dramatic, red sandstone formations offer breathtaking views, especially against the backdrop of a true blue, cloudless, Colorado day. It’s visitor center also screens a film on the history of the park for visitors and offers all sorts of hands-on information.

For the hikers among us, Roxborough State Park has a number of trails ranging from easy to moderate with some elevation gain, with the highest point in the park reaching an altitude of roughly 7,300ft. The park is of course home to all sorts of wildlife such as coyotes, elk, deer, bear, and mountain lions. On a hot summer day, one might even catch a glimpse of a rattle snake, which also calls the park home.

Another interesting feature of the park is the historic Waterhouse Homestead, which gives one an idea about life in this part of Colorado many years ago.

As an additional benefit, Roxborough State Park does not favor a particular season, as Fall, Winter, Spring, and Summer each offer a unique beauty any visitor is sure to enjoy, no matter what time of year.

 

The last park on our list brings us to Staunton State Park, located close to the town of Conifer.

 

Staunton State Park

To get there from Denver, simply take Highway 285 south about 6 miles past the town of Conifer.

Staunton State park opened its gates in 2013, and was donated to the state by Frances Staunton, to whom the original homestead and now park belonged.

The granite rock and boulder formations at Staunton are truly stunning and are nestled among meadows and forested trails. The elevation in the park ranges from about 8,000ft to approximately 10,000ft.

Staunton State Park is home to variety of trails which boast beautiful views of high meadows covered with wildflowers in early summer, and impressive mountain views year-round.

Elk Falls Trail, a favorite destination in the park, leads to a beautiful waterfall, but is only accessible via a 12-mile hiking trail. Of a more moderate caliber is the historic cabin trail, where one can get a glimpse of Frances Staunton’s original homestead cabins.

There are plenty if spots for a picnic lunch amidst the mountainous setting. Staunton State Park also includes plenty of spots to stop and enjoy a picnic lunch amongst awe-inspiring mountain views.

Although Staunton State Park is somewhat further away from the Denver metro area, it is well worth the drive to explore the numerous trails and rugged environment of this park.

Photo credit: Go Hike Colorado

 

 

 

From Austria to Colorado

From Austria to Colorado*

Guest Blog from Mark Laurencik

America, the land of opportunity and where dreams come true. Now ask yourself, what is it like for an Austrian citizen to pursue the “American dream”? Coming from Austria there are many cultural differences you may face but the similarities are maybe more present than you might expect. Throughout this blog I will be focusing more on the state of Colorado since this is where I spent some time recently.

Never-ending landscape

To start off with, I would like to share some general facts about North America. The United States has a population of 328.2 million citizens, making it one of the biggest countries in the world (compared to 446 million in the European Union). The United States spans 2,800 miles (~4,506 km) from east to west. Measuring from Maine to Hawaii, it’ a distance of 5,100 miles (~8,207 km). The US has 12,383 miles (~19,928 km) of coastline. Therefore, be prepared for long-distance drives through various landscapes such as deserts, mountains, forests and coastline in case you want to do a road trip.

Nutrition/Gastronomy in the United States

Furthermore, food is a big dissimilarity. One thing to expect is to be served large portions which will not always be finished. For example, a medium sized soda is mostly comparable to a large one in the USA. In fact, the amount of sugar and fat per capita consumed in America is almost three times more as compared to Austria. Nevertheless, the United States is moving more and more towards organic nutrition, Organic food sales in the United States rose 5.9% in 2018 to reach $47.9 billion according to the 2019 Organic Industry Survey done by the Organic Trade Association. Organic food sales made up 5.7% of overall U.S. food sales, which rose 2.3% in 2018. Additionally, due to the fact that the US is closer to South America it is far more common to get exotic foods in comparison to e.g. Austria. When it comes to grocery shopping in the States, don’t be surprised if an employee walks up to you and asks how you are. For a European this might be a little surprising since there is no strong customer – employee relationship in Austria. However, conducting small talk in the grocery store becomes a regularity in the United States. This is a common part in the everyday life in the US which proves the kindness and generosity of the people living in smaller cities in the United States. Tips are taken very seriously in the States since waiters are depended of them. In Europe, a decent tip is considered about 5%, whereas in the States they expect a minimum of 15% to 20%, depending on the restaurant.

 

Mountains and Temperature in Colorado

Colorado is known for its beautiful landscape of mountains, canyons, plateaus and rivers. Furthermore, it has the highest elevation of any states in the US. With more than 1000 Rocky Mountain peaks over 10,000 ft high it offers various outdoor activities. Many argue that Colorado has the best suited snow for winter sports. In fact, Colorado’s snow is one of the best I have ever experienced. Given this, an Austrian citizen traveling through the city of Denver looking at the Rocky Mountains could very well feel like home. The highest mountain in Colorado is Mount Elbert and it’s about 14,440 feet high, whereas the highest peak in Austria the (Großglockner) is 1246,63 feet high. In fact, Colorado has 58 mountain peaks exceeding 14,000 feet (known as “fourteeners” or “14ers” locally) — the most of any state.

Another interesting fact about Colorado is its weather circumstances. You never know what to expect. One could be lucky and enjoy a 70-degree sunny day, and this could turn into a 30-degree nightmare in the afternoon with snow flakes and unpleasant winds. but truth be told, Colorado has almost as many sunny days as Miami, Florida! No matter what season, be prepared since living in Colorado requires all kinds clothing!

Mountains and Temperature in Colorado

Colorado is known for its beautiful landscape of mountains, canyons, plateaus and rivers. Furthermore, it has the highest elevation of any states in the US. With more than 1000 Rocky Mountain peaks over 10,000 ft high it offers various outdoor activities. Many argue that Colorado has the best suited snow for winter sports. In fact, Colorado’s snow is one of the best I have ever experienced. Given this, an Austrian citizen traveling through the city of Denver looking at the Rocky Mountains could very well feel like home. The highest mountain in Colorado is Mount Elbert and it’s about 14,440 feet high, whereas the highest peak in Austria the (Großglockner) is 1246,63 feet high. In fact, Colorado has 58 mountain peaks exceeding 14,000 feet (known as “fourteeners” or “14ers” locally) — the most of any state.

Another interesting fact about Colorado is its weather circumstances. You never know what to expect. One could be lucky and enjoy a 70-degree sunny day, and this could turn into a 30-degree nightmare in the afternoon with snow flakes and unpleasant winds. but truth be told, Colorado has almost as many sunny days as Miami, Florida! No matter what season, be prepared since living in Colorado requires all kinds clothing!

Public Transportation

Compared to Europe, the United States are not known well for their public transportation. Outside of the big cities such as New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, Boston, Washington D.C and San Francisco there are not many available Subway infrastructures. If we take Denver as an example, there has been some improvements. The light rail which is a suburban train has 8 rails with 53 stations around the city of Denver. However, in comparison with most cities in Austria this is a tiny number.

In conclusion, when looking at Austria and Colorado from a big picture standpoint, it is safe to say that there are many differences that could cause a cultural shock at first. But after living in Colorado for longer than a month, I highly recommend visiting this beautiful place.

-Mark Laurencik

*This is a guest blog provided by Mark Laurencik, a business student visiting Colorado for a month in 2019.

Image credits: Matt Inden/Miles, Denise Chambers/Miles

Dr. Sabine Ladstätter (ÖAI) presents Ephesos: City, Harbor, Hinterland

Dr. Sabine Ladstätter of the Österreichischen Archäologischen Institut (ÖAI)/Austrian Academy of Sciences will examine Ephesos, the capital city of the Roman province of Asia, both the seat of the regional administration and an important transportation hub between the Aegean and Anatolia. Its lifeline was without doubt the harbor, which received a monumental structural framework. Local élites were comprised of wealthy shipowners and merchants, who profited from the exceptional position of the city and who embellished it via endowments. The sanctuary of Artemis of Ephesos also contributed to the commercial power of the region and served as a secure bank for deposits and a site of business transactions. The basic conditions were therefore precisely favourable for the advancement of Ephesos to one of the largest metropoleis of the ancient world.

Title: Ephesos: City, Harbor, Hinterland

Date: Thursday, 2. April 2020 7PM

Location: University of Colorado, Boulder (USA), Eaton Humanities, 150,
1610 Pleasant Street, Boulder, CO 80309

Co-sponsored by the Archaeological Institute of America (AIA), Department of Classics and CU Museum.

 

Photo credit: OeAW/Daniel Hinterramskogler

Sabine Ladstätter studied Classical Archaeology, Prehistory, Protohistory and Ancient History at the Universities of Graz and Vienna with a Doctoral degree at the University of Vienna in 1997. Between 1997-2007 she held the position of Research Assistant at the Institute for the Cultural History of Antiquity at the Austrian Academy of Sciences. After her Habilitation at the University of Vienna in 2007 she moved to the Austrian Archaeological Institute, where she became the director in 2009. Awards for Scientist of the Year in 2011 in Austria, and for the best popular scientific book in Austria in 2014, are proof of her engagement in the areas of scientific communication and public outreach. She is a member of the German Archaeological Institute, the Archaeological Institute of America and the Archaeological Institute of Bulgaria. Guest professorships at the Ecole Normale Superieur de Paris (2016) and Stanford University (2019) underscore her engagement in the fields of education and teaching, also attested by her supervision of academic degrees at a variety of European universities. Sustained by an interdisciplinary research approach, she is involved with economic- and landscape archaeology, as well as with the documentation and preservation of archaeological cultural heritage.

Chronic Stress & The Importance of Self-Care

Moving to a new country, starting a new job and integrating into a new culture can be very stressful. Everyone experiences stress at different points in their lives and that is absolutely normal. However, when left unmanaged chronic stress poses a serious health risk. Scientists have known for a long time that chronic stress can lead to weight gain, heart disease, trouble sleeping and concentrating. Stress does not only affect your body, but also your performance at work. Some of the warning signs of chronic stress include low energy, frequent cold and infections, headaches, upset stomach and/or changes in appetite and eating habits, and trouble falling or staying asleep or sleeping more than usual.

If you feel exhausted and overwhelmed more than usual, try some of the following activities to reduce your stress hormone levels.

1. Regular physical activity
2. Mindfulness and Meditation
3. Smiling and laughing
4. Spending time with friends and family
5. Listening to calming, relaxing music.

Most people are aware that chronic stress is detrimental to their health, yet they find it challenging to incorporate healthier routines into their daily lives. It’s easy to stay in our comfort zone and stick to old habits. However, we can’t expect different results by doing the same thing over and over again.
Becoming clear on our motivation to incorporate healthy habits and reduce stress is a first important step. This could be an imminent health concern, being more productive at work, or being around longer and in better health for our family and loved ones. Once we know what our true motivation is, it is much easier to stick to a new routine.

Reducing stress and implementing a daily self-care routine is vital for maintaining your overall health. It can increase your mood and energy, boost your immune function, promote longevity and make you more effective at work.

Start now and give yourself the gift of releasing chronic stress. If you like to get support, send an email to coaching@martinafelderman.com for a FREE consultation and goal setting session.

I offer an additional 60 min session for all Austrians who moved to the US or Americans who moved to Austria at no cost. Reach out to me and let’s talk how I can support you!

Election for the European Parliament on May 26th 2019

Information concerning the Election for the European Parliament on May 26th  2019 can be found here:

https://www.bmeia.gv.at/reise-aufenthalt/leben-im-ausland/wahlen/europawahl-2019/

https://www.bmi.gv.at/412/Europawahlen/

Please note that all Austrians abroad need to be registered in the “Wählerevidenz” until 12th of March 2019 unless they have a valid subscription for a “Wahlkartenabo”, which ensures an automatic mailing of the Wahlkarte for 10 years.

Please be advised that a proof of your identity has to be given (for example: attach a copy of passport or identification document).

For more information, download this document “Wahlinformationsschreiben”.

 

History is on Stage at Schweiger Ranch

One of the more unexpected cultural gems of Lone Tree, Colorado is the restored historic treasure, Schweiger Ranch. this revived homestead and living history museum was envisioned and completed by the nonprofit Schweiger Ranch Foundation. the Ranch is nestled on 38 acres in RidgeGate, southeast of I-25 and RidgeGate Parkway and is open seasonally for guided and self-guided tours. It’s the only historic property in Lone Tree and is protected as a Historic Landmark in Douglas County.

In the long shadows of the late day sun, you can almost see the Austrian Schweiger brothers who founded this ranch in 1874. John, Joseph and Jacob Schweiger worked this land, overcame immense hardship, and thrived in this bucolic setting. The original farmhouse has been restored to pristine condition. The restoration has also brought new life to the barn and silo, granary, chicken coop,machine shed, and cistern house. As you walk the property and encounter the apple orchard, cows, and abundant wildlife, you can sense the magic and the beauty that drew those pioneers here over a century ago.

 

Schweiger Ranch is a unique cultural destination for families and presents many activitis and events throughout the year. The City of Lone Tree’s Annual fall Festival is happening on October 6 from 10am-2pm. The second annual Austrian Christmas and Christkindl market is on December 1 from 1-6pm. Schweiger Ranch can be rented for private events, community activities and festivals.

Find about more about events, volunteer opportunities, tours, and facility rentals at Schweigerranch.org.