Six days in Colorado and my step count soared. The contrast with Kansas was astounding once I made it through the High Plains of Eastern Colorado to Denver. From that point on the mountains rose above my head – often seeming to swallow the sun as the highway cut through narrow passes. As with Kansas, I took advantage of brew pubs to revive my energy and alternated between ski towns and more rustic accommodations in towns overlooked by the hordes heading to the slopes.
Thanks to AirBnB I found a cozy cabin in Eagle Colorado where I immersed in the small town and recharged. The PIRGs (Public Interest Research Groups) were kind enough to invite me to spend time in Aspen at their annual staff and alumni retreat. While the snow was sparse for skiing I was able to get in some great hikes and luxuriated in the celebration of this network’s accomplishments over the decades.
At the end of that week, Linda flew in and we started the next stage of our adventure. We spent a lovely night in an old lodge in Redstone with fascinating history. It was the brainchild of a turn-of-the century entrepreneur that built a coal mining empire and constructed the Inn to house bachelor workers as part of his welfare capitalism approach to break unionizing efforts.
The next day we were off to Mesa Verde, which took our breath away. This national treasure has more than 600 cliff dwellings dating from 600 to 1300 AD.
As startling was the abject poverty in the valleys we drove through on the way to Cortez, Colorado where mobile homes in severe disrepair littered the landscape. The contrast of the wealth in Aspen, Telluride and Vail with these hamlets was hard to reconcile.
Next is Monument Valley, the Grand Canyon, Hoover Dam and Las Vegas . . .
Things not to miss:
- Enjoy hometown favorites at La Casita de Cortez and Beny’s Diner in Cortez.
- Escape to a rustic turn of the century Rocky Mountain resort in Redstone.
- Explore cliff dwellings throughout Mesa Verde National Park.
- Follow in the footsteps of Diner’s Drive-Ins and Dives at Tocabe: An American Indian Eatery in Denver. You won’t regret it.
- Scramble around Dinosaur Ridge and Red Rocks Ampitheater (I have to get back to see a concert in this breathtakingly beautiful venue) before leaving Denver.
- Lift a pint with locals (and their dogs) at Bonfire Brewing or a cup of joe at Yeti’s Grind in Eagle.
- Take a hike with the Aspen Center for Environmental Studies.