You have to own your style
I’ve learned that camping doesn’t have to be a big production in Colorado. It’s more a matter of getting in the car and going every weekend. I like to take a book and a beer on my hikes and take as many breaks as I want. Others bring a crowd and party. S’more lovers prioritize fire-safe camping areas. And then there are those people who camp specifically to get up at 5am and climb a 14er before breakfast.
The great thing about camping here is that every time I go, I learn something. The more campers I meet, the more “secret spots” I hear about, efficient shortcuts I learn, and the more confidence I gain. From people I met on the Colorado River, I learned Green Mountain Reservoir is quieter than Grand Lake for camping (pro-tip!). From a trip to Grand Junction, I learned to set up my tent after the afternoon rain washes across the plateaus.
Eventually, my goal is to be the Coloradan with the closet full of camping gear to share. I’m proud of having a trunk full of extra water, jackets, headlamps, and camp sandals. In Colorado, this is normal. And although I may never be a true Colorado native, I’ll always be a true camper.