Colorado

Heading Southwest to Wolf Creek Pass

I never really understood the appeal of wide expanses of flat open space until I made this trip through Colorado and New Mexico. The dearth of trees as soon as we left the Denver airport surprised me. By the time I got back to Broomfield, I too felt the love artists have for the “big sky.”

After driving through the wide valley that grew more and more arid, we turned west to ascend the continental divide at Wolf Creek Pass.

Cliff Chipmunk thought that he might get a snack from me, but scurried back into hiding when a hawk came swooping down for her snack.

Colorado, Go west

Go West, Middle-aged Couple!

We made the decision to take three days to drive across Colorado to Mesa Verde National Park and back to Broomfield. There was a little bit of concern about the high altitude, but both of us handled it fine except for a little bit of short-breathedness in Leadville, the highest incorporated city in the United States at 10,152 feet. I was especially interested in visiting Leadville since I just finished reading Angle of Repose by Wallace Stegner, an account of an Eastern woman’s life with a mining engineer in the late 19th century which was based on Mary Hallock Foote’s diaries and letters.

Early Leadville was a place that many characters from the Wild West visited. We were surprised to find a connection from Leadville to Skagway, Alaska, a town that we visited last year. It turns out that “Soapy” Smith, a con man who met his demise by gunfight by a fed-up townsman in Skagway, had fled there after being kicked out of Leadville.

There was still snow on the ground in the area around Leadville, and beautiful high mountain views. From there we drove south through the Arkansas River Valley.

Colorado, Family

Boulder, Colorado

I am retroactively blogging my trip because we squeezed every moment to get all the juiciness when we were there. It was one of the best vacations evah. I am still uploading photos to Flickr.

Last Monday afternoon, we went to play in Boulder, which was only a few miles up the road. Pearl Street is the funky shopping district around the courthouse. We began in a used bookstore (you know we can’t pass a used bookstore) where I bought a copy of “Teach Yourself Welsh.” I’d never seen the Welsh language and since I’m about half Welsh I thought that it would be interesting. It ended up being a wildflower press for the trip.

The bookstore owner recommended L’Atelier, the restaurant next door, for lunch. The food was exquisite and very reasonably priced for such an elegant place. Our waitress (and I think the chef) was Czech. My aunt, who is going to Prague in a couple of weeks, asked her what her favorite Czech food was so that she could order it there. She said “sviĉkova.” Take note if you ever get the chance to travel there. We all had seafood of different kinds – I had the cioppino.

There were many wildlife sculptures and Sandy decided to take a photo of each one we came across.

We got silly at the hat kiosk in the middle of the pedestrian mall.


Later we had tea in the restaurant in the historic Hotel Boulderado while we waited out a thunderstorm. Sandy and I noticed on our trip that the West preserves its old hotels and motels while in North Carolina we tear them down to build Best Westerns. Go figure. I find this very sad. Look at this finely crafted lobby and stained glass ceiling.

After we returned to Broomfield we took a walk beside the prairie dog apartment complex. This brave one let me get extraordinarily close before he ducked into his hole.

Colorado, Family

Colorado!

Sandy and I have decided to take a road trip through the heart of Colorado to visit the southern National Parks, since the rains of the last week have caused a lot of flooding in the north and east. We are heading south through the Rocky Mountains, hanging a right at the Great Sand Dunes National Park, with our ultimate destination being Mesa Verde National Park. We have no real plans, other than finding a hotel somewhere along the way for two nights, and getting back to Broomfield Thursday evening. This should be a lot of fun, and I’m sure that between the both of us we will take a thousand photos. This marks off a bucket list item for Sandy.

Saturday night we danced and caroused at the Westwinds Tavern in Idaho Springs to my cousin’s husband’s band – Kenny Perkins and the Night Shift. I was amazed at how great they were. We were having so much fun that it was 1:00 before we knew it and we got to bed at about 2 a.m.! And I was worried about not being able to last the night.

Sunday we went to the Denver Art Museum and mainly spent time in the American Indian and Western American exhibits. I would love to go back to this museum and see some other exhibits. It is huge. King Tut is coming here right after we leave, dang it. We did get to see a few European modern artists’ work that I studied this past semester, such as Modigliani, Matisse, Archipenko, and Arp. This is a detail from a huge contemporary tapestry in the American Indian exhibit. I would have more photos from here, but our camera battery went dead.

Later we ate dinner at an excellent Indian restaurant.