Monday, August 4, 2014

Manifest Destiny

Day 2 started at dawn, heading west across southern Iowa and Nebraska and aiming for even bigger skies.

One day probably 180 years ago, about a month west of Omaha and two months west of Des Moines by covered wagon, someone pounded a stake into the ground and said "This is it.  This is the split between heading north-west and heading south-west."  And 180 years later, there is a highway interchange in the middle of nowhere, from which it's 149 miles to Cheyenne, WY (and Yellowstone and Grand Tetons) and 189 miles to Denver, CO (and Rocky Mountain National Park and the Grand Canyon).  Choose wisely.

Classic Microsoft Windows Default Background Pictures, Eastern CO

I know that the unique not-flat flatness of the Bread Basket is beautiful in it's own way, but it has been the terrain of my residence most of my life.  Every single time I confront the Front Range "coming from a god-damn long way off" (name that movie) I am astounded, after first being confused.  My brain always *always* first assumes that the gray haze on the horizon is fog or a storm, because 99% of the time (when you don't live near mountains) that's exactly what it is.  But the haze keeps get taller and taller and the fact that they are mountains will not be denied and I am impressed all over again, every time.  I suppose that it's their abruptness that even allows for this sensation: visually they stand in stark relief to the plain of eastern Colorado and the change in elevation when you reach the base of the foot hills in Boulder is swift.  By comparison, the Himalayas sneak up on you across long distances until you can no longer breath normally.

The first sighting, 56 miles outside Denver

Straight through Boulder and up Flagstaff
Mountain town = mountain meets town

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