Quarantine Adventure

a simple Idea to use that PTO!

Danielle Steffens | Dani's Drive
By Danielle Steffens

I love adventure and if you’re reading this, I bet you do too! Submersing yourself in new places or trying new activities is exhilarating but boy, has 2020 sure put a damper on it. 

The three week Peruvian excursion I had lined up for May? Cancelled. The result? Unaccounted for PTO and travel budget! With international trips off the table, I’ve been looking at options within the US. My first thought was to spend some time at a few National Parks (I even booked flights to Acadia). However, the rest of the country seemed to have the same idea (there’s nothing like the peaceful sound of 70 tourists’ camera shutters all going off at once) and travel restrictions are still a bit iffy when you cross state lines (two weeks of self-quarantine before I can stay at your campground? No thanks.).

So, with Acadia plans scratched, how am I going to get my dose of adventure for the year and use that PTO?

The Plan

I booked a five week airbnb rental in Montrose, CO and I. Am. Stoked. 

As a Colorado resident, I’ve had the opportunity to visit the southwest corner of Colorado a few times and it never disappoints! 

Durango-Silverton Steam Trail | Dani's Drive
Dani on the Durgango-Silverton steam train. PC: William Archbold

The San Juan mountain range is home to endless hiking with stunning scenery and a plethora of options for adventure. However, the long drive from Denver makes it a destination that requires more than a standard weekend. Enter the airbnb plan!

I’m very fortunate that my company is still employing me full time in a work-from-home capacity. After a seven week stay working from my parents’ place in Minnesota, I’m confident I can work from anywhere so in August, I’ll be packing up and living in Montrose!

The perks of an airbnb over some of the other rental options are that WiFi and utilities are already set up and built into the cost. The place is furnished and the kitchen is stocked with just about all the cooking utilities I’ll need. The owner was also kind enough to allow me to bring my rabbit, Harley, so he’s in for the adventure too! Quarantine can’t hold us down.

Activities in the San Juans

Here are some of the activities I plan to do while I’m in the San Juans (spoiler alert: a lot of them are 14ers):

  1. Hike San Luis Peak
  2. Hike Wetterhorn Peak
  3. Explore Black Canyon of the Gunnison (DONE! Read about it here.)
  4. Hike Mt. Sneffels (DONE! Read the trip report.)
  5. Hike Uncompahgre Peak (DONE! Read the trip report.)
  6. Go canyoneering
  7. Hike Blue Lakes (DONE! Read the trip report.)
  8. Hike Handies Peak (DONE! Read the trip report.)
  9. Hike Columbine Lake (DONE! Read the trip report.)
  10. Climb the Via Feratta

You can learn more about these adventures here.

Island Lake | Dani's Drive
Dani at Island Lake

I’ll also take advantage of the cute mountain towns nearby and do some exploring in Telluride (DONE! Read about it here), Ouray, and Crested Butte (DONE! Read about it here). I hope they have some delicious brunch spots! I’ve been compiling a list of places to try here.

You can do something like this anywhere you live. Find a town within driving distance that has a variety of activities to do and go experience what it’s like to live in another city for a month! It could be a town with good parks, hiking, running trails, fall foliage, or maybe a lake with boat or kayak rentals. If you’re a foodie, pick a city with great restaurants you’ve been wanting to try (just make sure they’re open)!

Whatever interests you or whatever you’ve always wanted to try—now is the time! Especially if you’re like me and have some extra PTO and travel budget due to trip cancellations. You can bet I’ll be taking some weekdays off to really take advantage of the location and squeeze in as much adventure as possible.

Who knows, maybe I’ll do something similar in a ski town this winter!

Unsure what to pack for a month long quarantine adventure? Check out my tips for creating a travel capsule wardrobe and my 14er packing list!

How are you getting creative with adventure during quarantine? Leave a comment below!

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Quarantine Adventure | Ideas to use that PTO! | Dani's Drive



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