Wednesday, September 16, 2009

COLORADO: GETTING HIGH WITH MY HUBBY

There's just something about Colorado that makes me want to buy a John Denver CD. Seriously. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that almost everywhere you go in Colorado, from the airport to the grocery store, you see his music for sale and hear his mellow voice crooning songs that you're embarrassed to admit you know most of the words to.

Like all couples who have been married for thirty years, Bob and I celebrated by climbing a rather large mountain for our anniversary. In tribute to Bob and John Denver, I offer the following (You might want to listen to Johnny Boy himself while you're viewing):


"Thank God I'm a Country Boy"Bob in Georgetown, a scenic little town nestled in the mountains.

Leadville, Colorado, the epitome of a country town.
Beautiful flowers everywhere, in spite of near-freezing temperatures at night.

"Quaint" does not even begin to describe our bed and breakfast in Twin Lakes.
This rock was protruding from our bedroom wall. Apparently it was in the way when the basement addition was built, so they just left it and decorated it with mining miniatures. It's about the size of a big screen TV, but not quite as interesting. Didn't I tell ya it was quaint?
Snakes seem to follow Bob around. This dead one was on the Mt. Elbert trail.

Bob loves to be out in the mountains.

"Sunshine on My Shoulder"
The scenery around Leadville and Twin Lakes and on our Mt. Elbert hike was indescribable (but I'll try). The aspen had made the transition to a shimmering, fiery gold. The crisp, autumn air seemed to deepen the rosy pinks of dawn and the deep blues of evening. Rich red ground maples contrasted beautifully with the aspen, creating an unusual luminescence. It was Eden at its most mature.
"The morning breaks, the shadows flee."
This is the glorious dawn we experienced on our drive to the trailhead.

"Country Roads"
"Rocky Mountain High"
Bob and I agreed that Colorado in autumn is one of the most beautiful places we have ever been.
Heading up Mt. Elbert
Spectacular views
At about this point in our hike, we were wishing we had a magic pill that would give us that "Rocky Mountain High" 'cause all we were feeling was intense pain.
It's quite a feeling to be higher than anything you can see. Okay, we had the "Rocky Mountain High"--drug free! (Well, except for significant overdoses of Advil.) In fact, we thought we could hear John singing at this point, and we were humming along. Or were we moaning? I'm not sure. Come to think of it, perhaps it was oxygen deprivation rather than a Rocky Mountain high.

"[I'd Like to Be] Leaving On a Jet Plane"
Near the top of Mt. Elbert, we started to experience some hail, sleet and snow flurries. Here is a picture of some rock-hard hail. Not fun.
The summit marker. Each of the Fourteeners (53 in Colorado, 12 in California, and 2 in Washington State) have one of these U.S. Geological Survey markers pounded into the rock. They are about the diameter of a tennis ball. I think they should be about three feet across! Why didn't they ask me?

On top of Mt. Elbert, the tallest mountain in Colorado (14,443 feet) and the second tallest mountain in the contiguous United States (behind Mt. Whitney, 14,496 feet). Storm clouds were rollling in and we didn't want to be on top when the thunder and lightning began, so we only stayed up there for about 15 minutes. The only thing worse than going up a steep mountain is the descent. About half-way down, I was pretty sure both my knees were about to blow out and we would be paying for helicopter rescue. Bob never took my pleas for rescue seriously, and miraculously, I made it down, even though my knees felt like this:

Luckily, just a few days later I had recovered enough to negotiate these intense switchbacks leading up to Denver's Hammond Candy Factory:

Life with you is one adventure after another, Bob. Happy anniversary. Perhaps I could plan our next one?
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