All of us in Boulder — from the homeless man playing the ukulele for quarters on Pearl Street, to my secret and sickly brother Samuel, who I keep in a storage unit on 33rd Street (and who hasn't seen the light of day since early 2009) — share a common reason for being here:

We're all nervous about living too far away from Samuel, because if his health takes a bad turn and there's no one there for him, we're all gonna feel like shit.

Honestly, though, as much as we all love Sam and want the best for him, it would be nice to have some free will, and maybe check out some other parts of the country.

Maybe when he dies.


But for now, as long as we've got to stick it out in Boulder, we might as well revel in some of the perks — including a new Trader Joe's, world-class orthodontists and stunning, relentless, endlessly fascinating natural beauty.

Obviously, given that Samuel's situation is so fluid, it's best if the majority of us stick around within cell service most of the time. But, hey, we all need breaks now and then, and it's hard to find a nicer place than Boulder to get lost for a couple hours, before returning home and checking the citywide WhatsApp thread just to see if anything has gone wrong, God forbid, on the Sam front.

The hiking! The biking! The cross-country skiing! The regular, not boring-as-fuck kind of skiing! Man, the options are many. Lucky us.


I mean, there really aren't many people in this country who can say that they wake up to sunny skies an average of six days a week, with delicious, ubiquitous mountain views and immediate access to virtually any outdoor thrill one might seek.

And how many people can live in a city that offers nearly all of the urban conveniences one might ever desire, plus crisp mountain air and clear views of shimmering stars, almost entirely unmarred by light pollution?

Wow. Lucky, lucky us.

This is a state of transplants, and that's a particularly strong theme in Boulder, where some 31,000 students from all over are fortunate enough to get an education from a great university.

I know it might sound cheesy, but I just wanna say I think it's awesome that we get to share this beautiful place, and everything it has to offer. The Flatirons. Boulder Creek. Miles and miles of trails. Mmmmmm.

Look, I know this isn't the only beautiful place in the world but it's our beautiful place.

And you now what I think? I think the pull of our gorgeous natural playground is strong enough that many of you would want to live here even if you weren't morally shackled by the whole Samuel thing.

Of course, you are. And so am I. So let's go hiking sometime.

Alex Burness: