America 2017: Day Seventeen (6 November)

He was born in the summer of his 27th year, coming home to a place he’d never been before
He left yesterday behind him, you might say he was born again
You might say he found a key for every door
When he first came to the mountains, his life was far away on the road and hanging by a song
But the strings already broken and he doesn’t really care
It keeps changing fast, and it don’t last for long

And the Colorado Rocky Mountain high, I’ve seen it raining fire in the sky
The shadows from the starlight are softer than a lullaby
Rocky Mountain high, Colorado. Rocky Mountain high

– John Denver

Monday 6 November 2017

Denver, Colorado

Turns out, I should’ve gotten to sleep earlier than I did. The 4:00am wake-up call was a tough nut to crack, but at least we had a smooth run through check-in and security at Las Vegas’ McCarran International Airport.

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Our Southwest flight took us to Denver via a stopover in Salt Lake City. We arrived in the Mile High City just after midday, collected our hire car and drove to Golden, Colorado, a small city at the foot of the mountains. We ate Jimmy Johns for a late lunch – basically Subway, but tastier, and probably better for you – then headed up into the mountains.

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Visibility wasn’t great at Lookout Mountain.

From Golden, the Lariat Loop begins, a scenic drive of around 40 miles that winds it’s way through the mountains near Denver. We drove first to Buffalo Bill Cody’s grave, up on Lookout Mountain, and it was disappointing that the clouds had rolled in, extinguishing any glimpse of downtown Denver.

The temperature hovered on freezing on Lookout Mountain, so we had a warming hot chocolate before heading on to a buffalo preserve further along the Lariat Loop. We parked at a trail head in Gennessee Mountain Park, one of the biggest in Denver, and went for a walk that took us along the fence line of the buffalo preserve.

Try as we might, we couldn’t spot any buffalo, but the sunset was pretty spectacular, and it was nice to get out and have a good walk after so much of our day was spent sitting still on an aeroplane. It was an invigorating hour out in the fresh mountain air, even if the high altitude did affect us a little. It wasn’t until we were headed back down the mountain that we saw, in the distance, some grazing buffalo.

We are staying at Cherry Creek, about ten minutes from the centre of downtown Denver, and had dinner across the parking lot at Perkins, a family-oriented diner. I thoroughly enjoyed roast turkey (with a giant baked potato) and a slice of warm apple pie. Doesn’t get much better than that.

We’ll probably see some snowfall tomorrow here in the Denver area, and we’ll end tomorrow in Colorado Springs. Looking forward to a good night’s sleep tonight!


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