October 8, 2021
Once again I am at an airport heading back to Ozark, MO. I was in Colorado Springs visiting life long friends Mike and Brenda. Colorado was bigger and better than I expected and I experienced a number of interesting paradoxes.
We spent most days driving through mountain ranges that were breath taking. I think my hosts said there were 49 mountains. It doesn’t matter there were a lot. Pretty much wherever you were you could see a mountain, all day everyday.
The first destination was the Garden of the Gods park. It is easy to see how it got its name. It looks like giants once lived in the land. Instead of Lincoln Logs they gave their children red rocks and boulders to play with. So the baby giants stood them up, some in rows so that they would have a track for their baby dinosaurs to run on. When they got tired of that they balanced some on top of each other just for play.
I went to the Centennial state to see the changing colors of the leaves and I got my moneys worth. Tall deep green forest pines would stand on the side of the mountain protecting stands of golden Aspens. Only a few weeks ago they would have been hidden by their summer green attire but on these fall days they changed to a gown that quaked in the breeze with a stunning golden glitter.
I decided there were 2 ways to deal with a mountain. You stand back and admire it or conquer it. We did both. My apologizes to Kit Carson and Jim Bridger, we cheated on the conquering part as we were traveling in a comfortable climate controlled all wheel drive vehicle. I don’t know how the settlers got over those mountains without dual temperature controls and heated seats.
The mountains were higher, the boulders bigger and the views were more majestic than I imagined. There were a lot of things that were quite puzzling. One boulder would be sitting on another at an angle that looked like it should fall over but it just stood there. The temperature might be 55 degrees but you are so close to the sun it would feel 20 degrees warmer.
We drove up and down the dirt mountain road to the top of Mount Herman. On the ascent I would look at the enormous boulders hanging on the hill out my window wondering what if they would slip down and smash my puny being. On the descent I would look at the few inches between me and the diving cliff thinking I hope Mike is keeping his eyes on the road. It would have been scary had I had any strings holding me to this gorgeous planet.
We drove to tiny Leadville Colorado which at an elevation of over 10,000 feet makes it the highest incorporated city in our country. We had dinner at Quincys restaurant which has been in business since the late 1800s. The only thing on the menu was steak and baked potato. They brought out a beautiful 9 ounce filet mignon that I ordered medium rare that was medium well. They told me I could wait 20 minutes for them to cook me another one or shut up and eat my dinner. Lol.
We then went over to the Silver Dollar Saloon which was touted to be the best Wild West Saloon in America. So I pulled up my britches threw back my shoulders and bellied up to the bar. I thought I would order a shot of whisky like Clint Eastwood. I was all prepared to shout in the lowest voice I could muster “Whiskey Bartender”. I stood there for a long time but nobody even said hello, we finally just left. I guess tenderfeet are invisible there.
Then we went down to the 2 Mile Brewing Co that looked like it was formerly a gas station with only two employees. Sweet Susan the bartender delighted us with attentive service and friendly conversation. She poured a generous sample of their home brews. I chose a delicious dark that I sipped as we sat on the patio savoring the mountain that waited outside their door. So in a town almost 150 years old our best experience came from one of the newest businesses in the city.
I met a group of teenagers while hiking a trail that were on a school outing. The were quite friendly and even called me sir. I was impressed how many actually took time to say hello.
I watched a small mountain high school soccer team beat a much larger Colorado Springs school and then after the game heard their coach chewing the kids out for not playing better. I guess no one informed him that they had won the game.
I climbed to the top of the continental divide with a perfect stranger. We became great friends yet will most likely never meet again. It was comforting to know that if you did slip there was someone there to give an eye witness report to the local news. Thanks for the company Caroline.
I was told that if you poured out a bucket of water on the continental divide half would end up in the Pacific Ocean and the other half in the Atlantic. So I stood behind a bush
on the top and broke water. You folks on the two coasts be watching for me!