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Monday, June 20, 2011

Wild West Adventure, Days 1-2

It's June of the year 2011. Times are hard. In the United States where we live, a deep melancholy spirit prevails throughout our land due to disastrous economic upheavals. In nearly every city, every neighborhood, we've all seen and personally experienced the ravages of unemployment, foreclosures and economic suffering. Pundits cry out that the U.S. has lost its greatness...lost its way. Yet amidst all this foreboding economic turmoil, I began thinking about the astonishing beauty of America. Her richness of natural scenery and  breathtaking landscapes. World class wonders that many of us have never laid eyes on. And so we (my husband and I) decided to embark upon an adventure to experience the sumptuous natural splendor of the United States. Over the years, we've traveled to many regions of the country. This time we will rediscover the Western United States including the vast ranges of the Rocky Mountains, awe-inspiring  forests, unforgettable national parks, majestic canyons, blow-your-mind waterfalls, mysterious and amazing desert formations. All this in about two weeks. Let's get started.

DAYS 1-2: Our flight to Denver upon Thunder the Bison aka Frontier Airlines, is smooth and thankfully uneventful. We rent a car in Denver and head for the towering heights of the Great Rocky Mountains. Denver is known as the "mile high city" because it sits on a plateau elevated 5280 feet above sea level. To us, the city appeared relatively flat. I thought it would be very hilly if not downright mountainy. But once we had driven a few miles out of town, suddenly the highway ascended upward very quickly and those majestic snowcapped peaks of the Rockies appeared significantly closer.

About three hours later we arrived in Steamboat Springs....a world class ski village north of Denver with more medal-winning Olympic skiers living there than you can shake a ski pole at. Altitude in Steamboat and surrounding mountains scales from nearly 7000 feet to over 12,000 feet. Just a half day earlier, we had been in Michigan...altitude of 640 feet. Can you say "oxygen mask"? We are drinking tons of water to stave off altitude sickness.

This being the month of June, the mountains of Steamboat Springs are resplendent in vivid hues of lush emerald greens. The aspens have just started to leaf up. The tallest peaks are still blanketed in snow. High up, the graceful, curvaceous ski slopes meander down the alpine hillsides, like grassy wide ribbons.

For most months of the year, the Steamboat Springs area is blanketed in white...a skier's paradise. But now, the ski village, stores and thousands of seasonal condos at the base of the slopes in Steamboat are deserted. Locals here refer to summer as the off season. Yet summer time in the Rockies beckons with a pristine beauty, easy pace and glorious new awakening of natural wonders.

Oh did I mention that today is our 40th wedding anniversary. To celebrate, we enjoyed a happy, little picnic among the wildflowers atop a pristine, green alpine meadow high above Steamboat Springs. Cheese, crackers, strawberries, Little Debbie Swiss rolls for dessert. We toasted our years together with Gatorade. Simple, sweet and surrounded by nature. Lucky for us, the bears stayed away.

And that is why we came here. To witness the enthralling summer beauty of these magnificent mountains.

The snow capped peaks of the Rockies loom ever closer.

A secret mountain waterfall discovered on a late afternoon hike.

Foamy clouds graze the snowy peaks around Steamboat Springs.

Majestic mountain ranges overshadow a peaceful meadow.

The ferocious power of Fish Creek Falls rages from spring snowmelt.

The might beauty of Fish Creek Falls is an awesome sight.
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Susan Anderson said...

Just gorgeous! Too bad I have so much trouble above 6,000 feet these days. We used to spend a lot of time in those high mountains. At least I can still do Yosemite!


Oklahoma Granny said...

Thank you for sharing your trip with us. Gorgeous photos! Happy Anniversary to both of you.

ReformingGeek said...

How pretty! I love Colorado. I haven't been to Steamboat is the summer but spring skiing there one year was gorgeous!

Tom said...

What a great way to celebrate your 40th anniversary! Thanks for sharing your experiences and your pics.

Anonymous said...

We loved Colorado lived there for about 5 1/2 years, it is pristine and lots to get out and do..Happy 40th Anniversary, we just celebrated our 37th and we lived in Colorado when we got married in may 1974..loved, loved Colorado only state that one can hike, bike and walk outside 365 24/7..healthiest toooo..enjoy your wild west adventure, it is a wonderful blog you have missy, mjs & es in the 'couv, vancouver (usa) washington state!!!!!!!!!!!!

J.P. Travis said...

So, you're heading my way, right? Is Reno on your itinerary? 'Cause my wife and I might be persuaded to show you around a little if you're real polite and ask nicely.

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