I’ve said before (and will likely say again) how much it irks me when travel photographers rest on the exotic to create compelling images and refuse to turn their camera homeward bound. Even the very global Ami Vitale turns her lens back to the US sometimes, and not even always during conflict or times of strife as she is often wont to do overseas.
So back on to more of my personal/travel work, me and the hubby scooted on over to Colorado last month and had a great time enjoying the wonderful scenery with a wonderful group of folks. This is of course after his legs surprisingly did not fall off running the Pike’s Peak Marathon. Just to clarify, this marathon is exactly what it sounds like: you run up to the top of Pike’s Peak, then run back down. Yes, this tops out at some 14 thousand and something feet, a little high up for those of us that live near sea level. Regardless, he finished in a swift 6.5 hours, and not even as bloody as some. (It’s for all purposes a trail run; people fall and hurt themselves. One guy got a piece of his sunglasses embedded in his chin after taking a spill and went on to finish the race. Bunch of crazies, these people.)
While the hubs was running the marathon, I had a wonderful day to myself visiting the Garden of the Gods. Sometimes national parks are really cheesy, and sometimes they are not. This is definitely one of the better ones I’ve been to, given how close it is to civilization, how well maintained the grounds are, how it wasn’t too overcrowded (which I’m sure depends on timing, but I went on a weekend morning in the summer time), the fact that it’s free and of course considering the scope of its beauty. If you’re ever in the Colorado Springs area, it’s definitely worth it even if you don’t get out of the car and just take the 20 minute or so drive around.
I also spent some time walking around the little town of Manitou Springs, which is adorbs, by the way, with its cute little shop-lined main street. It’s got this overall feeling of the Southwest, which always reminds me a little bit of the days of my earliest youth spent in El Paso.
After leaving Manitou Springs we headed north to the Silverthorne/Breckenridge area to check out a little bit of the US Pro Cycling tour (we were traveling with all of the hubby’s cycling buddies) and learn to fly fish. The highs in this part of the country at this time of year (August) were lower than the lows here at home (Dallas); needless to say the weather provided some much needed respite as our summer stretches on into almost everyone else’s fall. It’s also pretty much postcard perfect everywhere you turn, with some mountain and some source of water practically 360 degrees around. Even the dogs here are more relaxed.
Learning to fly fish was definitely one of the highlights for me, even though it wasn’t without a little trial and error. They don’t, after all, call it “catching.” There is a lot to know about fly fishing, like what flies the fish are biting and what to change to when the clouds come in, and how to tie all the fishing knots and even how to reel the damn thing in once you’ve caught it (here’s a hint: you’re not supposed to reel it out of the water. Oops!). Regardless, I found it very cathartic and found myself wondering why there really aren’t a lot of women that fly fish. It’s not like it requires any kind of superior upper body strength or anything. If anything, fly fishing requires more of a finesse that it seems like women would be better at. You know, kind of like shuffleboard. At any rate, we will definitely be doing more fly fishing.
One of the other things I really enjoyed doing was an activity I didn’t even really know existed: driving on Jeep trails. This of course requires an appropriate vehicle, namely a 4×4 of sorts. (Thanks again Jeff for being our driver!) Yet again I find myself learning the delicate art of being shaken, not stirred, and also not wanting to die but at the same time enjoying just a little bit that I’m not 100% sure I’m going to live. Enter the jeep trail: basically a few ruts and rocks that definitely qualify as the road less traveled parts of the mountain. One misstep, though, and you start rolling down the side of a mountain. The best part, though, is that you get to see parts of the countryside that is oft not visited because the only way to get there is in a 4×4 or with a very long hike. Probably the coolest thing we saw was a mountain goat. We went up to a more popular peak on one of the easier jeep trails and when we got there, well I’ll be gal-damned there was a mountain goat standing right next to the American flag! Unfortunately I’m a little slow on the ascent, so he had started to come down before I could snag a decent photo of him next to the flag. Luckily they are extremely tame so we could get pretty close. I was able to inch my way closer and closer without scaring him to get a better photo. (Cut to me hanging off the side of a mountain and not even noticing because I’m too busy taking pictures.) We were also losing light by the second and I had left my camera bag in the car so I just had the one lens with me, but alas; sometimes you just have to do the best with what you have.