Friday, 14 October 2011

Denver: Mountain high

Colorado is gorgeous.

If you catch my slightly incredulous tone, it's because no one ever told me that. In fact, most guide books seem to dedicate about four pages total to the parts of Colorado (Denver, Boulder, and the Rocky Mountains National Park) that I visited. Maybe it is just a really well-kept secret. In any case, I'm really glad I decided to visit my friends in Denver as part of my US trip and discover this really lovely place.

I spent my first day in Colorado wandering the rather quaint streets of Boulder, a red-brick university town, and admiring the flatirons - a series of steep granite outcrops that the sporty people of Boulder like to rock-climb (when they're not mountain-biking up sharp inclines).

(scenery near Boulder)

We'd made plans to hike in the Rocky Mountains National Park the next day, but the weather forecast didn't look great - cold weather and possible rain. We kept our fingers crossed, put on a couple of extra layers and headed out the next morning. The sky was grey and as we got closer to the mountains, a low-lying fog prevented me from seeing all but the lower peaks.

The air was cold and crisp as we exited the car and started walking on the trail to Bear Lake.

As we climbed higher and higher, the scenery became more enveloped in fog. We would pause at scenic spots, where my friends would assure me, regretfully, that 'if it wasn't for the fog, this would be an amazing view of granite peaks'.

I assured my friends that I didn't mind. The pines and fir trees, coupled with the lakes and fog, had me enchanted. In fact, some of the scenery reminded me of the haunting images captured by Swedish photographer, Denise Grunstein. You don't get this kind of scenery in Australia, and so on some level I didn't really think it existed until I saw it with my own eyes.

I don't feel that my photos have done the scenery justification, but I can assure you that it was beautiful. And while I haven't now decided to become a landscape artist, I loved the ideas that this scenery inspired. I hope they inspire you as well. At the very least, visit Colorado! It's gorgeous.

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