Just back from an awesome trip to Colorado. Flew into Denver and spent the day wandering the city which was very nice and had some great restaurants. They managed to save all their old factories and have turned them into terrific looking loft apartments and bars and restaurants. In the middle of the city is the baseball stadium which looks great and really gives a city a nice vibrancy. Sorry ours isn't located in our downtown area. The next day we drove an hour away to Colorado Springs. Toured the air force academy which was really beautiful and huge. The cadets do their line up at lunch which was great fun to watch. There they were marching in perfect precision on two sides of a field when suddenly they starting screaming and running madly toward each other, flags and bayonets in hand. It looked like a scene from Braveheart or Robin Hood and we thought they had all gone mad and we were about to witness a carnage. However someone explained to us that the next day was the opening football game and this was their version of a pep rally. Then off to tour the Olympic training facility which was a bit dull unless you are an Olympic geek like me who gets ecstatic looking at the pool Michal Phelps swam in and the weights Apollo Ono lifted. Finished the day at the Garden of the Gods, a beautiful area of red rocks.
Left the next day at 9am for Rocky Mountain National Park,and spent till after 6pm that night driving and exploring. The park is amazing, mountains, trees, wildflowers, lakes. Denver is a mile high, 5280 feet above sea level and we went to over 12,000 feet in the park. At that level you are officially in the tundra eco system ( remember 5th grade?), above the treeline and the temp dropped to about 55 degrees. The road we took through the park is one of those winding edge of the cliff things and for some unfathomable reason has no guard rails. Not sure they would have helped with a 10,000 foot drop but still...I spent much of the ride leaning towards Ken as if my weight shift would prevent the car from crashing over the edge. We survived.
Near the end of the day we pulled over where some people were standing and wound up no more than an arm length away from a mother and baby moose. The were so close you could see how soft and velvety their fur was and look right into their eyes. It's easy to see how people forget and reach out and try to touch them. Not a good idea as a female is usually around 700 pounds. Then we all spotted the Dad maybe about 15 feet away laying down in the woods with an enormous set of antlers. ( Insert 'what a rack' joke here) We waited,along with 20 of our new friends and got the treat of a life time. He stood up and wandered into a clearing incredibly close to us where he proceeded to eat, scratch his massive antlers against a tree and make the most bizarre noises for over 30 minutes. I can't believe how lucky we were. Ken of course has it all on photo and video.
The next day we were headed back to Denver for 2 nights and decided to stop in Boulder along the way. We took a walking tour with a Univ of Boulder sociology professor who was so terrific and so enthusiastic that by the end we can cancelled our hotel in Denver and had hotel and dinner reservations in Boulder. We loved Boulder. It is really special place. An incredibly beautiful and walkable 'downtown' all perfectly maintained where no building is over 3 stories so you see the very blue sky and breathtaking mountains no matter where you go. Of course everyone is into hiking and biking and is very environmentally and health conscious which we kind of expected. The city is full of attractive and fit people. What we didn't expect was that the combination of the university and several federal research facilities has made Boulder a center of entrepreneurial activity and bought in amazing wealth in search of start up companies. The restaurants are expensive, with innovative and amazing food and 20 page wine lists and were filed with the kind of well dressed, sophisticated looking crowd you expect to find more on the east coast. Except everyone is wonderfully nice and friendly! The town has it all. We went to a farmers market, saw the Univ of Colorado stampede (a pep rally that marches through town before the big football game), took a walk along the foothills of the mountains, and shopped and ate! Did I forget to mention that Colorado has medical marijuana and Boulder seems to be its center? It's fascinating socially and legally and I'll put that in another post. But all good things must end, so we said our goodbyes to the mountains and the moose and headed home.