There is a rapture on the lonely shore;
There is society, where none intrudes.
By the deep sea, and music in its roar:
I love not man the less, but Nature more...

-Lord Byron

Definition of Walkabout :

a short period of wandering as an occasional interruption of regular work
Showing posts with label Colorado. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Colorado. Show all posts

12 August 2017

Bear Creek Falls

A Muslim, a Buddhist, a Hindu and a Christian all call water by different names, but it's all still just water.
These words echo in my head as I start the early morning hike up to Bear Creek Falls in Telluride, Colorado.

No more than ten minutes on the trail before I realize that my bear spray is still on my bed. I laugh uncomfortably to myself, say a pray for safety, and continue on. I have my intuition that will protect me.
For a Saturday morning, the trail is unbelievably empty. I see only a few other hikers as they pass me quickly and are gone from my view. I have this place to myself as I make the 2.5 mile journey to the Falls. I arrive as the sun starts to peak over the mountaintop.

I bathe in the waterfall spray.
No one intrudes my meditation principles up here. I rejuvenate in the clean air and forested beauty of the Rocky Mountains. Clouds start to form on my way back down, changing the landscape in dramatic fashion so that it feels like a new hike on the descent.
I knock out a 5 mile roundtrip hike before most people eat breakfast on a Saturday.

25 July 2017

The high country around Cortez

Dirty and disheveled, the lone wanderer makes his way along the scenic backroads through the high country of the Navajo Nation on his way to Cortez, Colorado.

Lone crows call out his name like psychotic girlfriends from prior lives. The sun paints haunting images in the sky.
He finds a place called Negro road that is the loneliest place he can recall being in for the longest time. A single tree seems out of place amongst the tall weeds that sway gently in the breeze. He feels like resting his back against the tree trunk and letting his body die.

It wouldn't be a bad place to go.
A semi appears out of nowhere and rumbles him back to reality. He shakes off the dire thought of death and focuses of the peacefulness of this place.

Peace, not death, instead of peace from death.

18 July 2017

A Night in the Village


The night before, Trevor Hall had a show at Red Rocks with Michael Franti and Spearhead to 10,000 joyous fans. To come from that experience to a solo acoustic show with a crowd of maybe 200 people total was quite a shift for a musician.

Yet it was the opening night of Trevor's "A Night in the Village" where he was playing songs he wrote from his experiences in India, and telling the stories behind his lyrics and some of his life changing events that happened while over there.
It was an intimate show that I can not yet fully express, as I'm still wrapping my head around it.

I will say though that my own experiences in Kenya came back like a flood.

But I need to get something out there, so here it is, my memories of unity during a night in the Village with Trevor Hall at the Sheridan Opera House in Telluride, Colorado.


Trevor tells the story of his first trip to India, and how he travelled far up into the mountains to a sacred and beautiful temple. Just outside the temple was a lone beggar. He had learned in the cities not to give to beggars as it creates a mob that one becomes surrounded by, but out here the man was by himself. Trevor wanted to feel good, do good, and so he went up to the man and offered him a banana that he had.

But that man only held out his hands in the air, but wouldn't take the banana. Trevor didn't understand, he was trying to help, why was this beggar refusing his gift?

The wise men that were with him saw what was happening, and came up to Trevor and whispered in his ear....

"he's blind"

13 July 2017

Mesa Verde

Sometimes a road trip can alleviate all your stresses and worries that come from every day life.
I leave Phoenix at mid-day on a Friday and head to the remote town of Chinle, arriving as the sun sets. In the morning I make it the rest of the way to my destination, Mesa Verde. My last time here was in 1997, traveling with a potential girlfriend to a wedding in New Mexico. We didn't do much exploring as it was November.

This time around was much different, and more my style of exploration.
If you can just imagine yourself as an Anasazi Indian, living in the adobe cliff side dwelling, you can get a real sense of the lifestyle here a few hundred years ago.
The park lets you wander and explore the rooms found here, which is a rare treat for such precious artifacts. Be careful, take your time, and explore the wonders of Mesa Verde National Park in the four corners area of colorful Colorado.

20 April 2017

The Durango Railroad

Trains are my favorite way to see the world. You get the old world nostalgia seeing the steam rise from the locomotive. Walking past the connected cars as you look for the stairs that will lead you to your seat.

Hearing that final "All Aboard!" call as The Durango & Silverton narrow gauge railroad gets ready to leave the station.
The cars jostle rhythmically back and forth as we make our way up the mountains. Town fades into the distance, farms roll past my window, the ground starts to show the snow from winter.

I get lost in thought as the conductor tells stories of Durango's past.
Higher and higher we rise, and you can open the window to feel the cold slap your skin as you look down the at the sheer cliff's edge. We make hairpin turns as we carve through the mountainside. It's awe inspiring.
We come to the half way point and exit the train so that the engineer can maneuver the train in reverse to turn us around. As we walk in the snow along the river bank, you notice the greenish brown color of the water.

We learn it is from the mines that are still in the canyon, leeching out the toxic remains into the water. It's a sad reminder of the environmental cost of mining.
The train is finally ready for us to head on back. I take one last look at the mighty engine, it's robust machinery and strong back metal frame.
Train 473 is ready to ride the rails once again, bringing safe passage to it's occupants back to the city of Durango.

15 February 2017

Leadville Colorado & Southern Railroad

The train depot, built in 1896, is where I pick up my ticket before getting ready to board the train that will take me on the second highest tracks in the USA.

The Leadville Colorado railroad train, already at an elevation of 12,500 feet, will rise another 1,000 feet on this train ride.

That's high my friends.
As I board, I find that I have my own seat in the caboose, all to myself. I sit back in the chair, open the window, and let the Rocky Mountain air cool my skin as the whistle blows.
The beauty of the Arkansas river valley below is stretched out before me as the train makes a wide turn that shows off her power. Two of Colorado's highest peaks, Mt. Ebert and Mt. Massive, create a spectacular view. A female deer and her young doe stare at me for a moment before hopping the tracks and disappearing into the trees.
After a bit we come to an old water tower, marking the mid-way point of our ride. You can see the Climax Molybdenum mine and Fremont Pass from here. I feel like I can see the entire State from this vantage point. A light rain starts to fall.
I head to the dining car to get a snack and see the other train cars. I walk drunkenly along the rickety cars, loving the side to side motion as the train rolls along.
The rains passes almost as quickly as it arrives. The air feels even fresher, if that was possible. My smile is not contrived, but a true reflection of how happy I find myself in this moment.
So, if you ever have the chance to ride a train, any train, I highly recommend it. The sweet sounds of "All Aboard!" may be just the ticket you are looking for.

13 February 2017

Snowmobiling in the San Juans

As the train slows to a stop in the mountain town of Rockwood, I spot the white van in the sparsely filled parking lot. I exit and start to make my way towards a tall, lanky young gent.

"Are you the one that wants to snowmobile?"

"Oh yeah. Am I the only one?"

It turns out that I was the only one, but that didn't seem to bother him. He introduces himself as Dion as we head up the road to the top of the San Juan mountains.

He is easily twenty years my younger, but surprisingly the conversation flows without effort. This is his last snowmobile tour, as he is moving to Springdale, Utah, in two days to be a rock climbing guide.

He is trying to get his life together, a story I know all too well. We arrive at the trailhead, an elevation at a little over 11,000 feet. The skies are growing darker, and a light snow starts to fall. I tell him it's been about 20 years since I last rode a sled.

A quick refresher course and we are off, just the two of us. The scenery is truly epic.
We race up the mountain side, the snow coming down faster and harder the higher we go. Quickly our visibility goes to almost zero. Dion checks in with me to see if I want to brave it, and we keep climbing.

I feel so alive.

We come across another group, and after talking to them we finally decide to turn around. It's a total white out, and I'm not even sure where the trail is.

I just don't want to get stuck, or worse, dump the machine over.

We take a break on the edge, overlooking the valley below. Dion tells me about the summer he traveled to Patagonia, with stories of climbing and world adventure.

I smile and relay some stories of my own.
So I find a kindred spirit up in the mountains of San Juan as we cascade through the snow, fly up and down hills, weave in and out of trees, and just live in this moment.

21 December 2016

Hot Sulphur Springs

The lone cowboy is most at home between the majestic peaks of the Rocky Mountains. Twisting and turning his iron horse along the mountain passes, letting time stand still. Last night's snow brings a fresh disposition to his weary spirit.
The mineral waters of Hot Sulphur Springs appear before him. History reminds him that the Ute Indians believed in the healing powers in these waters, calling them "big medicine" and "magic waters".

It's just what he needs.
He feels the blessings of the Native Indians as his skin soaks in the minerals, absorbing the power of the earth deep into his pores, his mind, his very essence of being.


Ready to rise up and face another day.

28 November 2016

going to church along the Timberline

The morning temperature was slightly above freezing, and the cracking of ice could be heard along the stream's edge. The trail to my church was just ahead.
The initial goal was to climb a peak that would summit above 15,000 feet. The morning rain quickly washed away that plan. I would not let that deter my spirit however, and let the beauty of the timberline lead me to an unknown sermon.

The rains dissipated quickly, and I reached my pew upon the lake shore. I stood in humble silence as the clouds passed by on the autumn breeze.
I find no church more comforting than the one found in the bounty of Nature.

20 November 2016

the Life Aquatic with Seu Jorge

I think I was fifteen when I first saw the movie "The Breakfast Club". I had no idea who David Bowie was as the lyrics to "Changes" appeared in the opening movie credits. I just knew they were some of the most powerful words I'd ever read.

"And these children that you spit on
as they try to change their worlds
Are immune to your consultations
They're quite aware of what they are going through."

As the years passed, Bowie's music took a stronger hold on me musically. When Wes Anderson's movie "The Life Aquatic" was released in 2004, the soundtrack sung by Brazilian musician Seu Jorge blew me away. Acoustic David Bowie sung in Portuguese?

Sadly, as I'm sure you know, David Bowie passed away earlier this year from cancer. Seu Jorge, in wanting to do a fitting tribute to this amazing artist, as well as to recognize the film that so many of us loved, decide to put together a tribute tour.
This dream all came together in beautiful harmony on a chilly Friday night in Denver.
Red beanies were seemingly everywhere. As Seu came onto the stage, he skillfully wove amazing stories about the film, the actors and director in between songs.
I was so captivated that I didn't want to break the magical spell by pulling out my phone to record, but then I realized I needed more than just my memory of this night.

Here are just some clips of the evening.
Yet I can't leave it at that. Here is his rendition of Space Oddity, probably one of my favorites songs of the evening.
and of course, the song that started it all. Changes.

28 October 2016

The haunted and creepy Delaware

I step out of the car, and walk a little unsteady as I cross the street. 10,430 feet above sea level tends to have a tipsy effect on me. Entering the Delaware Hotel sobers me upright though, as I'm drawn into the front lobby that is stuffed with vintage artifacts.

Heads of moose and deer, strange dolls with dead eyes, the creepiest Santa Claus I've ever seen.
Welcome to the haunted Delaware.

I settle into my small room, unpack, and pull the chain on the lamp so I can read about the history of this place.

The lamp starts to flicker, then abruptly turns off. I fumble in the dark to find the chain to turn the lamp back.
I continue reading, and come to the story of the Coffey's, a couple that lived in the Delaware Hotel back in 1899 (known as the Delaware Block back then). Their rocky marriage ended when Jerry shot Mary twice in the back.

She was paralyzed from the waist down, dying three days later. Her ghost has been seen several times over the years, reported as a "lady in white, visible only from the waist up...."

She is believed to have been shot in room 107. I look down at my room key and see the inscription "107" for a brief moment before the light flickers on and off again before going dark.
I pull the bed covers up tight around my neck, and prepare for a long night.

29 September 2016

Two mile high city

Last winter I found myself driving through the wildness of Colorado's Rocky Mountains, and came across a small town called Leadville.

I made a mental note of the name, as the desire inside me to return was undeniable. The beauty and charm here needed to be felt more completely.
Nicknamed "two mile high city" due to being a mile higher in elevation than Denver, you could feel the impressive height while sipping a dark libation, or even just walking around exploring.

The hiking I did pushed my body to it's limits, and I reveled in that.

Weather in the high country is predictably unpredictable, with rain, snow and sunshine all making an appearance. As long as you are prepared for anything, you'll survive, just as the locals here have done for years.

Back alley charm, street food trucks, cowboys and hippies.

Leadville has it all.

26 September 2016

railroad tracks and a turquoise view...

Although the altitude should have been the reason for his labored breathing, truth be told it was the beauty that stole the air from his lungs.

"Let Nature rob me of my senses everyday."
He wasn't looking for Turquoise Lake, yet the break in the tree line along the trail showed him exactly that. So he stopped for an infinite amount of time to watch the clouds race across the skyline.

Railroad tracks carrying promises and dreams of yesteryear. He touches the steel that is warm in the summer sun, then sits and meditates in the wilderness.
The quiet of his surroundings stirs a call deep within. He rises, turns one hundred and eighty degrees, and starts walking.
The withering heights and railroad ties seems to be in control now. He unwinds like yarn from a spool.

29 August 2016

Greensky Bluegrass 2016

Banjos and steel cut guitars.
Bad ass beards, long hair and redneck trucker hats.

It must be time for Greensky Bluegrass.
With this being my second time seeing them, I'm fully prepared for the awesome sounds, or so I thought.

The night was full of surprises, however. It's the thing I enjoy the most about a live concert, you never know what to expect.
Case in point would be when the band opened up to a killer jam of a Pink Floyd classic. It was undoubtedly one of the greatest six minutes of my musical experience.

Enjoy it, won't you? 

26 August 2016

Leftover Salmon

My seemingly annual return trip to Red Rocks in Morrison, Colorado happened last July.

This time around it was to see the local band Greensky Bluegrass. Yet I was pleasantly surprised to find that Leftover Salmon was opening.
I settle into my front row and center seat.
Take a sip, grab a small bite, and enjoy the antics of the opening act.

17 August 2016

Space truckin' in RMNP

Two days he had, that was all. The gas mask is securely fitted, the truck is put into drive and up the mountain road he climbs, to elevations above 12,000 feet.

Rocky Mountain National Park becomes his sanctuary.
He finds a dirt road that doesn't look well traveled. A perfect place to find that open vista so he can sit and cloudburst the heavens in his mind.
Traveling on, he finds the bluest of glacial lakes, with snow still clinging to the waters edge. Marmots are playfully sliding in the snow, unaware or perhaps not caring about the strangers watching them.

"A marmot is not a bad choice for my spirit animal in the next life."
A trail takes his burning lungs to new heights. Up here all willpower and self control is gone, but he has no worries and relinquishes all control to the Great Mother.
A rocky outcrop seems to call out danger, yet it is a call he can not ignore. Carefully stepping upon loose stone, he makes his way out to the cliffs edge, and watches the afternoon thunderstorm roll across the valley.
Herds of mighty elk graze on the tops of the majestic mountains. He sits on the edge of the great expanse, and breathes in the fresh air, letting it heal the toxicity that has permeated old cellular tissue and wasted muscle, renewing the soul for another day.

10 April 2016

The Incline

Completed in 1907, the Manitou Incline went from being used as a means to complete a hydroelectric plant to a tourist attraction.
For years people would ride the sixteen minute tram up to Manitou park to enjoy miles of hiking trails, and stunning views of the Rocky Mountains.
Rock slides in the area though made this a continual failing operation, and in 1990, the tram was closed. They didn't want to deal with the hassle and expense of removing the timber tracks that remain, and so it was re-purposed as an intense hike for joggers, runners, and enthusiasts of pain.

Which is where I enter the story...
I first heard about this hike from a friend of mine in Colorado, and knew immediately it was something I needed to try. Yet I don't work out or train routinely so that my body is ready for such feats.

I never worked out when I was younger, and that never stopped me from adventure, so why start now? Of course, with the Incline being a route that gains 2,000 feet in elevation in a little under a mile, perhaps I was re-thinking my philosophy.
Within minutes my legs were burning, my lungs on fire, and sweat was pouring off my back. Slow and steady was the only approach, ladled with frequent stops to re-hydrate and turn around for the views below.
Halfway up, my feet were slipping, and my brain was shutting down from mental exhaustion. The Barr trail is an alternate route to the top, and I knew if I wanted to complete the climb, I would need to take this path.
Climbing higher, I find a quiet alcove of rocks where one can rest. I snack on apples and water, and breathe satisfactorily in my accomplishments thus far.

But I've not reached my goal yet. I want to summit the mountain.
Eventually, my steps take me to the peak, and it is worth all the pain endured.
After yet another long rest, I surmise to tackle the descent by heading straight down the Incline. This task is almost as difficult as the ascent. You are weary, it's steep and slippery, and your legs are like chewed taffy and melted rubber.

But what you gain in accomplishment far outweighs all of that. Not to mention the amazing support and words of encouragement from everyone else on the trail.
The Manitou Incline pushed my body and mind further than I though possible. It truly is a test of will, strength and determination. Certainly a test I was glad to have passed.

At the airport later, I sat down at my favorite pub, as I was ravishing. The waiter asked how my day was, and when I told him about where I'd been, he brought me a local beer flight on the house.
"Dude, you pushed it, you pushed it real good!"

I suppose I did.