Colorado to Florida

Which state has the highest mean elevation?

And which is the flattest?

I visited both of these states back-to-back this holiday season from snowboarding in Colorado to scuba diving in Florida. When I descended into the tiny airport of Durango, Colorado, the view of snow-covered mountains provided enough exhilaration to keep me warm despite the cold. This trip involved 6 straight days of snowboarding at Purgatory and Telluride Mountain Resorts.

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Purgatory

Purgatory wins points for its affordability and proximity to Durango with enough runs to amaze an east coast native like myself. Telluride was a much bigger game with its high speed gondolas and incredible views.

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On the lift with my brother at Telluride
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Don’t worry its warm! This hot spring kept us warm with a water temperature of 100 F

Departing Durango was a reminder of its small town nature, these TSA representatives were happy to chat with all on coming passengers, but do not expect to move through quickly. Efficiency never seemed high on the priority list. Florida seems to be the most popular destination for Durango airport passengers.

One day later I was driving into Williston, Florida, a small town outside of Gainesville and gearing up to dive Blue Grotto.

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This underwater bell has air pumped in from above water so diver’s can take out their regulator and talk to each other while swimming at 30ft depth.
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Blue Grotto is also home to a very friendly soft-shell turtle.

Next we took a short drive to across the road to Devil’s Den. An opening from above allows light to stream into this huge cavern, which features multiple swim-thrus.

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Devil’s Den

Our final stop on this Florida Springs scuba trip was Ginnie Springs which had multiple dive sites with caves, crevasses, and river eddies to explore.

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Ginnie Springs

Although Colorado’s below freezing weather was a major change from the 80 degree days we scored in Florida, carving down the mountain on a snowboard was enough work to keep me warm. Scuba diving in 72 F water may sound warm, but water can remove body heat 20xs faster than air and I was happy to have my 5mil wetsuit and 7mil hood for insulation.

Crystal clear spring water, light streaming into a dark cavern, carving a fresh powder line down a mountain slope or going swimming with snow-covered mountains at your back…its hard to pick my favorite part of these trips. Filipinos were always surprised to hear I have never visited New York City, but with so many incredible places in the USA some adventures are just higher on my list.

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