Monday, August 6, 2012

Fort Collins, Colorado

To those of you who are not familiar with Spanish this state is named for the color red. Starting at Red Rock Park a little north Denver there’s a line of enormous red rock right down the foothills on the eastern edge of the Rockies ending at the Garden of the Gods outside Colorado Springs. Like Utah and Arizona the earth is very red and with lots red rocks.

The more we travel the more we love it. There are so many reasons to follow our dreams, most pertinently while we both enjoy good health – a great blessing! Our continuing wonder as we travel is this earth we inhabit; especially now that we are back at the edge of the Rockies - so old, spectacular and majestic. We appreciate and understand the American Indian philosophy that you cannot own the land, the air, the skies or the water – they are gifted for our enjoyment and use by the Great Spirit (God) - there were so many buffalo, deer, bear and goats to hunt while the soil is good for growing crops.
As we travel along we have a better understanding of the fact that the US was not always comprised of geographically divided states; rather it was a number of different territories owned and controlled by English, French, Spanish and yes, the Native American peoples. All spoke different languages and had different traditions - more like Europe – where if you travel a hundred miles you encounter national and language differences. We also have a better appreciation of the American Indian, we used to think they all lived in Tipi’s and ran around in animal skins, now we know that they had a highly developed society, were skilled builders (especially here in Colorado, in New Mexico and Arizona an advanced system of government with far seeing laws; for example woman was equal in all respects with man.

Every evening we look forward to a call, text or photo from Cearull giving us the news on little Sairsha and Leslie. TG for technology, it is so hard to be far away especially on Adele who is learning humility and patience. Really!
Traveling through Colorado seeing mountains and feeling rain was a real luxury after the heat; the weather is cooler here at a mile and more above sea level. Colorado is a beautiful part of the US. We drove down the I-25 corridor with the Rockies to our right and plains to our left. Our first stop was in Loveland near Fort Collins where Jeanette and Dan Hoffman now live and like all of the other Newcomers we’ve visited have moved into an even bigger house which is situated in a gorgeous area outside Fort Collins. The basements are fully finished with guest bedrooms, a craft room and a big living area. We meet Jeanette and Dan for dinner the night we arrived in Henry's in the center of Loveland and had a great meal as we caught up on each other’s news. They did offer their driveway to us to park the RV but, while appreciating the offer, we thought that their neighbors might not have been too happy.  Jeanette advised that we should drive to the nearby Rocky Mountain National Park and Estes Park. We drove through three ecosystems to get to the National Park high up in the mountains. Adele felt the effects of the altitude so we took a slow 90 minute hike, then drove along the Trail Ridge Road which was an ancient Indian Pass. The highest mountain Long's Peak stands at 14,259 feet and still has visible glaciers on the higher points. We then drove back to Estes Park a cute ski village 3 miles from the eastern gate, had a coffee and did a little shopping for our little Sairsha Alice who as we write is two weeks old, doing well putting on weight (3lbs today) and looking healthy for such a tiny baby. We can now relax a little! We had a lovely day in the high Rockies with spectacular views at every turn.

Next day we strolled around Benson Sculpture Gardens in Loveland - another recommendation by Jeanette and a great one. This is a local park whose land was donated to the city by a farmer. The city encouraged the local sculpture association to hold annual competitions and display the statues in the park. On our stroll we went from one sculpture to another admiring every one, they were mostly cast in bronze; the subjects were both modern and traditional. All were beautifully made, clever, inspirational, and displayed in a lovely setting. It started to rain as we walked around but we just put up our umbrella and strolled on. Well worth a visit but surprisingly not on the tourist list of things to do. We went back to the RV had afternoon tea after which Adele said she was going for a walk and snuck off to the big Shopping Center next to the RV Park and returned much later with the telltale store bags. That evening we went to dinner in Jeanette and Dan's, had a lovely home cooked meal (a treat for us) all four of us tried not to watch the Olympic Opening Ceremony, eventually we heeded Oscar Wilde’s advice “the best way to overcome temptation is to give in to it” and watched a most entertaining spectacular. We did not get to visit Fort Collins, sorry Jeanette. We cannot see everything on the trip - perhaps next time around!
It was great to see Jeanette and Dan but we were sorry to miss Kim by a few days. She is now finished college and it would have been nice to see her as she looks forward to the rest of her life. Many of you will remember Kim who contributed significantly to everyone’s enjoyment by playing the Irish harp at our St Patrick’s Day parties.

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