Mount Elbert left me headachey with somewhat bloody nose (also continuing, like my leg damage over a week later … should I see a doctor?) and both of us sore and a little hesitant about hiking ever again. So we decided a city day or two was in order and headed to Denver. We'd asked several people from Denver what we should do there, and the general response was more what could done within a day trip of Denver, so we didn't hold much hope. We tried fruitlessly to find second hand bikes, and decided after a full day of trying to give up for now. We did leave Denver however with a Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 (for those of you not up with the latest technology, it's basically an iPad2 for the man who is anti-Apple, but superior (according to Brad). An exact quote of Brad's words as he took it out of the box: It's like the best piece of gadgetry I've seen in my life! Surprisingly I am not yet widowed by it. We also picked up a few craft supplies (for me of course), a nifty camera bag (the camera outgrew the old one) which makes me look like a serious hiker and a couple of clothing items (look out for new additions to Brad's t-shirt collection). Having found that at this point in time we are far happier out of cities and in the wilderness we started our drive to Rocky Mountain National Park.
We arrived in Boulder in the late afternoon when our radio was promptly taken over with the broadcast of a warning of a thunderstorm complete with winds in excess 125 kms which had already caused damage in other towns. Driving towards/into said storm in Gil (isolated wind gusts alone can be interesting) was not appealing and so we called it a day and weathered the edge of the storm with grocery shopping followed by a VERY good Vietnamese meal (how we miss the food at home).
Rocky Mountain National Park itself pretty, and as crowded with family groups as you would expect on a holiday weekend. It also seemed to be being visited by a lot of whiny people, with grouchy family dynamics. After some hesitation we overcame our new dread of hiking and the thought of trail mix making us feel ill, and completed a couple of hikes. Somewhere along the way, it seems that any walk less that 10km has become short.
A few random bits of Colorado worth a mention before we move onto Wyoming:
Telluride, a small ski town a few hours from Denver, was the first town I can imagine living in, complete with gorgeous houses... for sale. This may have been helped by the glorious weather, or a tasty lunch, but Brad pointed out there'd be six months of snow, and I doubt I could cope with that, though maybe with a pair of skis..... Leaving Telluride we travelled along Interstate 70, an interesting road for us for two reasons:
1) There were large pull outs to the side of the road forbidding parking but allowing a 30 minute stop to “chain up”
2) There were more semi-trailers on the side of the road leaking large amounts of fluid, with the bonnets open or receiving roadside assistance than actually on the road itself. Gil proved to be mechanically superior and made it up without event.
Somewhere in Colorado, we started seeing the first of what we've termed “crazy cyclists”, cyclists (obviously) with a fair amount of gear in tow – some quite literally have trailers – slogging up and down the mountains seems to be the done thing in these parts. We did meet a guy cycling from New York to San Franciso, after 35 days straight he'd made it to Telluride and was having a rest. His clothes looked as if he wasn't lying about how long he'd spent on the road.
Also, Colorado has a love for Pearl Jam. We haven't heard Jeremy played on the radio so much since the '90s. Colorado also seems to be also holding a candle for Alanis Morrisette and Hootie and the Blowfish. And before you explain this occurrence by our listening to a classics or alternate radio station, indeed we were not.
Finally, we saw a “big ticket” piece of wildlife, but you'll have to wait for our animal update to find out who it was.