Hello. I started 11 months ago; you can see my choices in my signature block. I too live in a high Rocky Mtn valley! For some reason, super-experienced observers want everyone to start with a manual dob and then go equatorial, or go tiny aperture equatorial. Rubbish I say! (They might be right, but not solely right.) I researched for months and ended up with a great rig for me, in my location, for my preferences.
If you are OK with the money, a Celestron NexStar Evolution EdgeHD with StarSense is the best all-around package. The mount has an internal battery, integrated WiFi (not great previously but wonderful in the last 6 months of upgrades and experience), plenty of clearance at the back for viewing high-angle targets and lots of Aux ports for accessories. The Go To is spot-on and tracking is automatic. Alt/Az is the standard, but if you really want to image in future years there are many options like a wedge, focal reducer or HyperStar. Additionally, the Evo has manual release clutches which is a huge improvement over the SE mount.
The EdgeHD will be awesome if you choose one day to image (future-proof), includes ventilation areas for better cooling, has wonderful StarBright coatings and a 2" SCT-thread output for 2" diagonals. Stock EPs are good for quite a bit (I upgraded to use Dioptrx) and the accessories are manyfold. They are also Fastar compatible to allow for any future/additional wants.
Don't know if you are into photography; I never have been. But, the "slow/fast" focal length is a photography holdover and references exposure times. The SCT was developed for "best-of-all-worlds" application, not as a master of 1 thing. This a wonderful tool to have in the bag. Additionally, they allow for high magnification with less drama. And, I have never collimated it once. I know folks who never have, or haven't for years and years. Travel might make it more likely, but not if careful. The weight can be heavy if you want to go big, but my entire 8in rig is less than 50lbs, with three pieces (tripod, mount, OTA) all very manageable, even for this guy in a wheelchair with wires in my spine! Lots like to go smaller (6" is cheaper and lighter) and lots like bigger too. But most have an 8in.
Software updates are easy, scope-control software choices abound (Android, iOS, Windows PC, etc.) and very little previous experience is needed. StarSense and SkySync are truly set-up for newbies; no having to point at such and such star or aim here and click x and and then move it. I turn it on, go get my chair and ep case and it is ready to go.
As for EPs, I really liked the Baader Mark-IV 8-24mm Zoom with 2.25x Barlow combo. That with the stock Kellner (my kit came with an E-Lux 32mm) cover almost everything. Not the best EPs, but miles cheaper than the Naglers I moved to for Dioptrx compatability.
The one real stinker is the worthless StarPointer Pro the kit comes with. I upgraded to the Baader SkySurf V and love it. But, with StarSense it isn't nearly as important and lots of Celestron owners are OK with it. Mine was crap out of the box, the vendor replaced it and that one was crap too. However, once you calibrate StarSense (a 1 time, 2 button process) you might not care about a Finder!
I did upgrade the stock 2" Celestron diagonal with a Baader Maxbright ClickLock. It is much more secure and much easier to use than those dumb tiny thumb screws. The 8 Evo comes with a decent tripod; sturdy, solid and well built, but nothing to write home about. I did buy TEMPest ventilation fans and I am still not sure about their necessity in a visual-only rig. Additionally I bought a Telegizmos 365 cover so I can leave it outside; folks in high-humidity locations freak when I say that, but the low humidity in my location; less than 50% in the rain and zero dew, single digits in our longer winters when views are awesome!
That's it! Easy peasey, but not super cheap. I would never recommend starting with all this crap, I just though it unfair to not mention how easy it is to build around, and what I felt the need to upgrade. You should see how you do - Celestron is good at providing a usable product out of the box. And if I ever want to destroy my sanity with AP I can image at native f/10, use a focal reducer at .7, or best, get F/2 with HyperStar! If you want images at Hubble-quality, ask elsewhere. For all-target visual-only viewing it really is a wonderful product! Good Luck!