Posts Tagged 'Denver'

Update #1: Colorado

Hi everyone,

I’m in Flagstaff at the moment, but I owe you guys some news!

The morning after we saw the concert, Rhysatti, his girlfriend and I set off for Colorado. The drive north to Denver was long, but interesting. We followed the route through grassy plains, forests of bristling pine, winding mountain roads and small towns covered in dust. Some of them probably had less than a hundred people living there, or not much more. It was profoundly strange going through them, like stepping back in time. England doesn’t really have much to compare, bunched up on our tiny island as we are.

But it really is beautiful. One road saw us coasting through a low-lying valley with a small, rapid river weaving alongside us; another opened up onto a massive grassy mesa with no warning at all. Rocky outcrops peppered the mountains that rose up around us, and in the distance on the megalithic rocks there was a light dusting of snow.

In Denver, we went to the CafĂ© Rialto, which was really very good – probably the best quality food I’ve had in America since I started out, and I highly recommend it. We met the sous-chef afterwards, a young fellow with a clear passion for food. He actually gave us some of the recipes for the dishes we had, because hey. Place is classy.

The following day we visited the museum of Nature and Science, which was pretty good for what it was. Lots of opportunities for kids to get involved, too, which was cool. We overheard one cry somewhat dismally, in a heavy Mexican accent, ‘oh man, so much to learn!’ Denver was a big silver town too, on the off chance you’re unfamiliar with its history, and so the gem and mineral exhibit was really pretty great. With so much rock being blasted around, it was inevitable that a lot of cool discoveries would be made, and many are kept right there in the museum.

After this we lunched at a neat independent place called Snooze, then made our way to Red Rocks. It’s a stunning natural area with, as you may have guessed, gigantic red rocks. It’s also used as a music venue, drawing some fairly big names. I guess the limitations in terms of capacity are overruled by the fact you’re playing to the backdrop of some really big rocks. I did, however, nearly come a cropper here. We scaled some of the outlying boulders – to use a term that doesn’t really do justice to their size – and to start with it was quite easy. However, although I have pretty good grip on the shoes that I acquired just before coming over here, I had reckoned without lichen. We were at the top of a long, high-gradient rock that had previously been fairly pedestrian due to just how much grip there is available, but the last stretch was covered in this greeny lichen. I was halfway across it, about 20 meters up, when all of a sudden my foot slipped, my balance shifted, my hand scrabbled briefly at nothing and then I managed to fling my weight forward. All my body was resting on the pressure points of my toes. My hands had no grip, my shirt would just be slippery, and if I put my feet flat then the increase in surface area would have meant the pressure pinning me in place would have given way, and I would be slipping, sliding and rolling down the perilously short distance to a 12 foot drop, onto another sharply sloped rock. The lichen crackled slightly beneath my toes as it shifted.

It was pretty tense.

After an eternity in a heartbeat, I felt my poise return and I was able to roll into a sitting position and shift crabwise back down. But still, scary scary stuff. Sorry mum.

After Red Rocks we headed southeast to a little village called Durango, where a friend of my hosts had a place we could stay. The roads were still as beautiful and I stared out of the window until nightfall. And then the meteors came.

If you missed in, the meteor shower was wonderful – flickering starlit streaks sparking through the sky. Words can’t really do it credit – make sure you catch it next time.

We rolled into Durango late, got up early, and headed home. Sadly we didn’t get to do everything we had wanted to, but I do have a bunch of pictures which I will upload in another post tomorrow evening.

From Alburquerque, I traveled on to Flagstaff.

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