Rocks and More Rocks

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Last year I went on an auto trip to the state of Colorado. After crossing the flat nothingness of Kansas, we had our first glimpse of the Rocky Mountains, which seemed to spring up out of the plains like a blue mirage. Honey, who had never been west before, was so excited by the vision that he tried to take pictures and drive at the same time, running off the edge of the road onto the safety warning strip, which didn’t go over too well with me or the other passengers.

Arriving in Colorado Springs, Honey wanted to drive to the top of Pikes Peak. But I’ve done that before and I promised God that if I got down alive I would never go again, one promise I intend to keep. My sister felt the same way as sudden changes in altitude made her sick. So Honey decided to drive up by himself and leave us chickens behind to stew in the motel’s hot tub. This was fine with me as in my book no view is worth risking the  dangerous mountain roads and sharp drop-offs — and I’m happy to be a chicken instead of an eagle.

I always thought Tennessee was “Old Rocky Top,” but Colorado has outdone us. We saw rocks and more rocks. One gigantic drive-through rock garden near Colorado Springs was called Garden of the Gods. We didn’t see any Gods there, only large red rocks with unusual shapes and long geological explanations. Different formations had different descriptive names, such as, Three Graces and Sleeping Giant. I liked the one called Kissing Camels. It took a little imagination, but if you squinted enough, it did almost look like two camels.

We saw many mountain bikers, hikers, rock climbers, and old people galore. I was wandering around on a trail taking pictures of various rocks and probably appeared lost. An old guy who looked about 90 was hiking with a group and stopped to ask me if I needed help. I must look older than I thought as the old man looked to me as if he should be the one needing help.

The next morning we went to Royal Gorge, which is a deep rock canyon made by the Arkansas River. It was something like the Grand Canyon except not as large. Like many scenic attractions, it has been commercialized. We rode a gondola over it, which was not too scary as it was all enclosed. There was also long suspension bridge across it which was 1250 feet high, the highest bridge in the U.S. It was rather long to walk across, so my crazy sister rented a golf cart and drove us across. “Woman at the wheel. Watch out,” we laughed. The most recent claim to fame for this particular amusement was that the entire place had burned down in a wildfire, everything burned except the bridge.

Later in the trip we visited another canyon called Black Canyon of the Gunnison, 2250 feet deep, no bridge. It was similar to Royal Gorge, except the rocks were gray. It too was rocky and deep with a river at the bottom. The road was along the canyon rim, not too close to the edge. It was interesting but very wild and remote. Unlike Royal Gorge, it is a National Park and has not (yet) been commercialized.

Now for the rant. Too many scenic places have been fenced off, made into commercial attractions, and admission is charged to see them. It seems to me that natural resources should belong to everyone and should not be developed as private property. Any charge should not exceed the reasonable cost of maintenance.

I have no idea how this can be accomplished as even our National Parks are threatened by entrepreneurs, greed and over development. Guess this is another one to write my congressman about.

Copyright 2016 Sheila Moss
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About Sheila Moss

My stories are about daily life and the funny things that happen to all of us. My columns have been published in numerous newspapers, magazines, anthologies, and websites.
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8 Responses to Rocks and More Rocks

  1. I’ve always wanted to head out there for fossil hunt.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. davidbeem says:

    I did a similar trip many years ago when a friend was taking a job in Denver. We drove out from Bloomington, IN, and have the same memory you describe about the change of landscape after Kansas. Stopped at Garden of the Gods on the way home and I fell on the rocks and blacked out. Not recommended. Also not recommended: having a nurse scrub all your cuts and scrapes to remove embedded gravel! I remember she told us the last guy she’d had to do that for had punched her. Talk about your tough jobs!

    Thanks for sharing your experiences! It really takes me back!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Sheila Moss says:

      Glad you were able to do it. Sorry about the accident. We left the rock climbing to others. I was satisfied with driving and looking and a few short hikes. I had been there before, but it was a long time ago. I was surprised how much I remembered and also how much I had forgotten.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. stomperdad says:

    Sounds like it was an awesome trip! I would have gone up Pikes Peak. I totally agree with you… nature should be free. I understand that many places many people want to see it. I can understand a small fee for upkeep. I cannot understand a big fee for profit.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sheila Moss says:

      I would have probably done it if I had not done it before. Pikes Peak is a hair-raising experience. I believe there is a tram, but you need to reserve ahead, which we did not. It is so beautiful and different out there. I hope you are able to take your boys when they are old enough to appreciate it. I took my kids when they were younger and they still remember it.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. energywriter says:

    Another exciting travel adventure. How fortunate you are to have these opportunities.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Sheila Moss says:

    Yes, now that we are both retired, we have time to travel. Last year we went to Colorado with my sister and brother-in-law.

    Like

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