Colorado

Just outside of Colorado Springs, there’s a scenic drive up Pike’s Peak. At the top, the wind shook my car and forced me to park in another direction so that I could get my door open. I lasted about thirty seconds in the cold. The steep hill on the way down calls for a mandatory brake temperature check. I failed to heed the advice of the signs to drive in first gear, and nearly overheated my brakes on the way down. Whoops.

In Estes Park, north Colorado, is Stanley Hotel. Stephen King and wife stayed here once upon a time and it is said that the hotel was his inspiration for writing The Shining. Did you know King disapproved of Kubrick’s movie version and filmed his own miniseries at this actual hotel? I’m guessing it didn’t do too well when not many people have heard of it.

In Rocky Mountain National Park, I hiked to the top of Deer Mountain. A mere pimple compared to the Rockies in the distance. The altitude of 3052m and the semi-poor shape that I’m in had my heart threatening to pound out of my chest. There is always a bit of regret on the way up, but the view and the euphoric feeling on the way down are worth the effort. I had a snack at the top while chipmunks tried to steal my food. Admiring the vista, I thought I could fit one hundred of those coniferous trees in the palm of my hand, and enclose the chain of snow capped Rockies in a big bear hug. I drove the scenic route exiting the park, and at its highest point, ten feet of snow still lined both sides of the road.

Continuing west a few hours on Highway 70, alongside the Colorado River, then south on the San Juan Highway. Parts of the road hug the towering walls of Glenwood Canyon. Every twenty minutes the terrain changed. Rolling green hills, red rock, grey rock, winding roads with drop-off cliffs. Charcoal clouds at eye level and in the distance, show-off with the lightning storm I’m about to drive into.

In Mesa Verde National Park there is a series of cliff dwellings 800 years old. Neat to see, but the tour guide stretched out what could have been a ten-minute tour to an hour. There, I’m reminded to stick to the self-guided tours.

I’m sad that most of the scenic pictures I took do no justice to the beauty that is Colorado. I hope you can see it for yourself one day, if you haven’t already.

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