There is one essential experience missing from your bucket list. If you live in Western Colorado and don't have this on your itinerary, please add it immediately.
I enjoyed the wonders of yet another sleepless night. What does one do in a situation such as that? Climb Mt. Garfield. By now I'm sure you're tired of my constantly talking about this hike. As repetitive as I am, though, it is an awesome experience. This most recent hike, though, made it all the more special.
What's the big deal about hiking Mt. Garfield. For starters, we have it. It's all ours. In addition, it's fairly simple, easily accessible, and free to climb. No parks pass needed.
What was so special about this last hike? I hit the trail right about 5 in the morning. I've hiked it early, but not that early. For the record, I'm not recommending hiking Mt. Garfield in the dark (even though I just did.) It can be very dangerous, even with a flashlight. The sunrise, however, was awesome.
The photos above were taken with my dumb-phone, the kind you get free with the purchase of a new activation. The view from 2,000 above the valley floor is always awesome. This, however, was special.
The hike to the summit of Mt. Garfield is almost exactly two miles. About halfway up you reach a plateau. It was at this point the first rays of sunlight began to appear. By the time I reached the summit, the sun was well over the top of the Grand Mesa.
I had the mountain entirely to myself. Not another car in the parking lot, and not another person on the Bookcliffs. The flag was waving, and the temperature was just right.
The peace and quiet alone made the hike worthwhile. Again, this was a freebie. It's open to anyone. Take advantage of it. Please heed my warning about hiking in the dark. I made this same hike last Saturday after sunset. While hiking this trail by myself at night was not the dumbest thing I've ever done, it's definitely in the top 10.
Before days get any shorter and the temperature gets too cold, hike this trail. Try, if you can, to hit it in the early morning. Don't leave too early, though.
Put this on your bucket list, and then scratch it off as soon as possible. It seems most peoples' bucket list items involve cost, travel, and expense. This one doesn't. It's easy to add, and equally easy to complete.

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