Some travels: Colorado, Kansas and Overkill

After mentioning that I was travelling with my parents, I think I should point out the highlights of our trip. We flew west to spend some time in Colorado. We ended up seeing a lot of Colorado and some of Kansas as well.

We spent two days driving in the Rockies, with my personal highlight being the Independence Pass. It’s not all THAT high for the Rockies at 12 095 feet, but it was incredibly impressive and bleak nonetheless. (See below.) I also really enjoyed seeing Aspen, which was surprisingly gorgeous: it was really green and pretty. At the same time, though, it was clearly a playground for the wealthy. Not every small town in the Rockies can claim quite the same number of designer stores as Aspen, that much is certain.

From the Independence Pass:
Landscape

After Aspen, the next highlights were the Kebler Pass, which lies very close to Crested Butte, followed by the Monarch Pass. The western slopes of the Kebler Pass were spectacular. The vegetation and the landscape had me entranced. The pass was much lower, but the highlands leading up to the pass were something to behold.

En Route to the Kebler Pass:
Mountain Landscape

From the Monarch Pass:
Photographer in Action

After the Rockies, we descended to Colorado Springs, where we saw the Garden of the Gods. Again, I would suggest seeing the amazing sandstone formations if you can. The snow on Pike’s Peak in the background provides a wonderful contrast to the reds and whites of the rock formations. From Colorado Springs, we wended our way generally eastward across the plains as far as western Kansas. Some of the country south east of Colorado Springs was desolate and broken, but the real farming areas in eastern Colorado and western Kansas amazed both me and my parents. After seeing that small sliver of the plains, I get some idea of how much food is grown on the plains. It was literally unbelievable: there were simply miles upon miles of cultivated lands filled with good-looking crops.

It’s hard to capture the flatness and the expanse on camera, but here is my best attempt at doing just that:
Wheat on the Plains

Last, but not least, my parents and I ventured into some outdoor megastores near Denver. After seeing entire walls covered with rifles, cabinets upon cabinets filled with binoculars and spotting equipment, multilayered racks of fishing rods and almost every other kind of outdoor equipment you can imagine under one roof, I was at a loss for words. I don’t know how best to sum up the experience, but the words of one store assistant are probably better than anything I could string together: in his words, the stores are “candy stores for big boys”. I would go further and say the stores are wondrous places for most people, even if that wonder isn’t necessarily that of a child in a “candy store”. Needless to say, all three of us were absolutely exhausted by the experience.

The next time you have a few hours to spare, visit an outdoor megastore. (We went to Gander Mountain, Sportsman’s Warehouse and Outdoor World, and any of the three would be worth a visit.)

P.S. I am working on my photography and will actually be posting more of my photos to my Flickr account after I get back from South Africa. I hope you enjoy what I have, though.

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