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Many Adventures of a Nomadic Poet A young poet with Asperger's makes travel his passion, and away he goes...

Rockies in a day

USA | Monday, 24 June 2013 | Views [609]

On my seemingly endless travel quest, the only time I'd ever seen the Rocky Mountains was out the 12" by 8" window of an airplane...until today. Jace and I have been having a blast in Fort Collins but today it was Anna's turn to spend time with me. She was nice enough to drive down from Cheyenne, Wyoming to take me to Rocky Mountain National Park, and she even had a bottle of water ready for me. Before I rave on about the day, let me tell you a little about Anna. Along with Jace, she volunteered with us last year in the Dominican Republic. She has a gentle demeanor, works very well with children (she's a preschool teacher) and is an avid photographer with a professional-style camera. When I saw her last she had reddish, curly hair but today she has short bleached blonde hair. We were working our hearts out in the D.R. one year ago today! And now here we are! We left Fort Collins behind and then turned off at Loveland where things got rugged! Geographically, there are two completely different Colorados: Flat Colorado (eastern half) and Rugged Colorado (western half). Fort Collins is right on edge of "Flat Colorado." As we headed toward Rocky Mountain National Park, we were suddenly driving through a narrow gorge and I spotted all these interesting shops along the way, including an odd-looking coffee shop and a cherry shop. As we pulled up to the Fall River Entrance Station (elev. 8,242 feet) Anna paid the $20 fee. That was very nice of her since I'm very low on money at the moment. The fee is good for seven days so I suggested she could come back with a friend later this week. The national park unveiled its beauty immediately after driving in! Vast panoramas, stunning peaks, and beautiful lakes fill this magnificent park. The Rockies stretch all the way from northern British Columbia all the way to southern New Mexico, also passing through Montana and Wyoming, but Colorado is where they're highest and most famous. 54 of the 57 highest points in the Rockies are in Colorado, and a popular term in Colorado is "Fourteener." All of the 14,000+ ft. peaks of the Rockies are in Colorado, and these are known as Fourteeners. Anna and I drove to the most impressive lookout! As I snapped a panoramic photo, Anna managed to sneak into the majestic nature of my photo.

Rocky Mountain panorama

A visitor with a Florida license plate snapped this photo of us.

I noted that I could understand why he'd want to get out of Florida since it's so flat and so hot. I'd go nuts not seeing any mountains in addition to the humidity. He told us he lives here for half the year and in Florida the other half of the year. My genius self figured something out today! You may notice in pictures from Ethiopia and other trips that there's a small black dot on the lens, but I figured out that if I hold the camera upside-down when I shoot landscape photos I don't have to worry about it. Why didn't I think of that sooner? A couple of months ago we were possibly planning a camping trip but we expected more people to come, but the Rockies in a day is great anyway! Anna was born in Indiana but has spent most of her life in Wyoming, and she shared something interesting with me. Wyoming was the first state to grant women the right to vote and is known as the Equality State, but what I didn't know is that Wyoming couldn't have been a state since there wouldn't have been enough voters if only men voted. Wyoming is still the least-populated state in the Union. Already with spectacular scenery we wanted more! Horseshoe Falls would be up next, and it's only a minute or so from the road.

Horseshoe Falls

Waterfalls like this are often well-hidden and well off the road, often taking hours or days to get to. Anna toyed with her new camera and I snapped photos and gazed at this majestic waterfall. My my, I wish I could stay longer! At the visitor centre I wanted something quirky: a stamp in my passport from the park. Last week I stamped White Sands into in my passport, so now I wanted Rocky Mountain. Anna and I only had a couple of hours in America's most magnificent mountain range, but someday I would love to come again and do a multiday trek or perhaps go snowboarding. There are many areas of the Rockies to explore, and the national park is an extremely small percentage of the land area of the mountain range. When I picked up a postcard I nearly forgot my camera! That would've been bad! What I love my friends to do is write something nice and send me a postcard, so I asked Anna if she'd do that. With a smile she said she'd do that and mail it to me. As we drove back into Fort Collins I had Anna drop me at the Wild Boar Cafe so I could write and reminisce on the Rockies today. Like many other places in town, the Wild Boar, as they call it, is an an old house. Smack in front of my was a wild boar crafted out of scrap metal, so that immediately made me think of Mr. Schickman: a former teacher and sort of a "Renaissance Man" who's an artist, teacher, painter, welder, pottery maker, farmer, computer expert, and traveller. Did I miss something? I called him up and we chatted for awhile and told him what inspired me to call him. When I was his student years ago I fondly remember trips of his to Egypt, India, China, and various other places. Mr. Schickman is one of my travel heroes and one of my "10 Most Influential People." When I travel I feel like I sometimes just ramble on about my day, but I love that. And I also love describing the people in my life both on and off my travels. In the past couple of days I've described Anna, Jace, Sonja, and Mr. Schickman. I'm always describing people I've met. I ordered a cup of coffee where I could try a few different kinds, including Harar coffee. Ahhhh, this brings back memories of old walls, colourful walkways, and salivating hyenas. When I found someone's wallet I turned it in and they gave me a chip for a free drink! I couldn't decide what I wanted so I thought I'd come back tomorrow. Although Fort Collins is a very bike-friendly city, it's a somewhat lengthy walk from anywhere to anywhere. That didn't deter me from walking all the way back to Jace' apartment. As I stopped for a bottle of sauvignon blanc I chatted with a nice girl from Orange County who moved to Colorado because she loves it out here. I love it too! The scenery and plethora of landscapes and outdoor activities would definitely draw me to live here. The clouds were impressive tonight, as majestic as the Rockies today.

I saw the Rockies in a day, and I promise I'll be back for more!

Tags: mountains


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