After being away 18 years, I return to the Centennial State. The last time I was there I squandered a year in foolishness, but in this opportunity by the grace of God it was 4 days of redemption (kind of). The exploration began and ended in The Mile High City. The comparison from my recent trip to California is vast. A mystical element was very much present in the return to the land of my birth. This one was more compulsory in nature. The initial notion was to traverse the Blue Ridge Parkway starting in the nation’s capital. The cost of either trip were very similar, therefore I opted for the more dramatic and the continuation and completion of the “The Return” theme. The weather was a diminishing factor, but not an utter problem. It rained daily, but there were brief spaces of time that yielded great colors and contrast in the sky. This included the brightest and closest rainbow I had ever to witness. The major issue was poor lighting due to cloud cover – aesthetically speaking and in terms of video / photos. Overall this was a worthy venture that included dramatic scenery and interesting creatures. The other lack was in the way of wild life observation. My mission to glimpse the rare Energizer Bunny, Toucan Sam, Yogi the Bear and Tony the Tiger continues to elude me.
I loved the charm of the places I would search out and find each evening after I would check in my hotel. These were places not previously planned that turned out to be good surprises. The nature center in Pueblo that bordered the Arkansas River was a place I enjoyed for its wild flowers, clear running river views, colorful pebbles, rocky hill hiking, curious creatures and other cool features. There were only a hand full of visitors when I arrived and no one there during the last hour save rabbits, birds, chorus frogs and something that made an eerie screaming sound in the distance. The Great Sand Dunes is remotely located, but heavily visited. By late morning when I was leaving, the parking lot was full and cars parked on the side of the road for over ½ mile long directed by park workers. The dunes are at about 8k feet elevation and the tallest one raises 750 ft high from its base. This was the most challenging hike I have ever done due mostly in part to the thin air then the steep sometimes soft sand. Melano Creek I really liked for its 1 ft deep surging waters over the sand. It felt like one long beach coast line. In another noteworthy first for me was driving on one of America’s highest roads. At over 12k feet and beholding the surrounding snow covered peaks of 14k feet was the fitting finish to my triangular tour of colorful Colorado.