Gabe and Kelly Thexton purchased a 2011 Colorado State Parks Annual Pass to take advantage of Colorado’s great outdoors, little did they know what kind of adventure was in store! After their first hike in Golden Gate Canyon State Park, Gabe noticed the number “42” printed on the pass and soon discovered the Colorado State Parks Passport Program. A few months later, the couple received the final stamp in their Colorado State Parks Passport after visiting all 42 state parks, making them Passport Champions!
The Thextons began their ambitious trek through Colorado's state parks in June of 2011 with several trips along the Front Range. Eventually, these weekend warriors ventured north, south, east, and west, visiting up to six parks in one weekend. Equipped with their annual pass, car, tent, faithful canine companion and camera, the Thextons made memories sure to last a lifetime.
Among their favorite memories are arriving at Rifle Falls after a record snow melt with the falls thundering in the mist, discovering Sylvan Lake on a beautiful fall weekend, and seeing the varied landscapes from the parks of the eastern plains to the northern mountains.
“The passport program offers an exciting goal that opens doors to all the wonderful things to be had in our state,” said Gabe of his experience.
When asked what advice he would offer others hoping to complete their Colorado State Parks Passport, Gabe suggested grouping park visits by location or recreation type. He also noted that the fun is sometimes in the adventure of discovering something new in your own state and taking time to enjoy what each park has to offer.