s/y Nine of Cups
Around & About Denver, Colorado...the Mile High City
June 2012
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More National Parks & Monuments ?

American Odyssey -Part I
(Las Vegas to Denver)

American Odyssey - Part II
(Denver to Boston)

American Odyssey...Part III?
(Boston to Vegas)

Roadside Americana?

Birds of North America?

Wildflowers of North America?
Why the Mile High City?
Because the average elevation in
Denver is ~ 5,280' above sea
level...a mile high in the sky.
They say you can never come home
again, but, of course, you can. It's
just that everything changes while
you're gone.  With a metro
population of about 2.7 million,
Denver is a vibrant city and there's
always something new to explore  in
and around the city.

We had some business to take care
of here, lots of friends and relatives to
visit and general catching up for
having been on the road for the past
month. Beyond that, we planned an
itinerary which would take us to some
new places and re-visit some familiar
places we hadn't seen in awhile.  
Denver Facts and Trivia...
  • There were originally three separate towns, with three
    separate names, where Denver now stands. In 1859, the other
    names were dropped in return for a barrel of whiskey to be
    shared by all. Fittingly enough, the first permanent structure in
    Denver was a saloon.
  • Denver is one of the few cities in history that was not built on a
    road, railroad, lake, navigable river or body of water when it
    was founded. It just happened to be where the first few flakes
    of gold were found in 1858.
  • Denver lays claim to the invention of the cheeseburger. The
    trademark for the name Cheeseburger was awarded in 1935
    to Louis Ballast.
  • The tallest building in Colorado is in Denver: the Republic
    Plaza at 57 stories high.
  • Every year Denver host the worlds largest Rodeo, the
    National Western Stock Show.
  • Denver has the largest city park system in the USA with 205
    parks in city limits and 20,000 acres of parks in the nearby
The thirteenth step at the front of the Capitol  
is one mile above sea level.
We're always in search of interesting, free things to see and do. Our first activity in Denver was a tour of Denver's gold-domed Capitol building. Begun in 1886, the building took 22
years to complete at a cost of $3million. The dome is covered in real gold plate and the interior of the building, fashioned after the national Capitol in Washington, is carved marble and
granite. As you would expect, the Colorado legislature meets here. Far right is the Senate chambers.
Rare rose onyx marble from Beulah, CO is
used as wainscoting throughout the building.
This coloration of marble has never been
found anywhere else in the world.
Mount Evans Auto Road
At 14,264', Mount Evans is one of Colorado's 54 peaks above 14,000' and one of two that
have road access to the top...the other is Pike's Peak.
The Mount Evans Auto Road is the highest paved road in North America. The 28-mile road twists and turns its way to the just below the summit where a cold scramble over boulders allows
visitors to ascend to the top of the world. The local mountain goats have no problem with the altitude and seem to thrive on the snow and minerals.
The National Geological Survey marker
at the summit parking lot - 14,130'
The views from the top were stupendous. Summit Lake Park (12,830') is the highest park in the Denver Mountain Park System and the lake
was still frozen. A couple of yellow-bellied marmots sunned themselves on rocks.
A stop at the Mt. Goliath Natural Area (11,540') on the way back down the mountain netted us a  look at some bristlecone pines thought to be nearly
1,000 years old. A close-up of the pine cone clearly shows the reason they're called 'bristlecones'. Wildflowers were just beginning to bloom in this area
at timberline. Goldflowers aka angelita daisies and brilliant blue skypilots lent lots of color to the mountainside.
Denver citizens contribute more public funding for the arts per capita than any other US city.
Lookout, Buffalo Bill and Dinosaurs
Finding fun things to do around Denver
isn't hard at all. One day, David, Taylor
and I decided to drive a portion of the
Lariat Loop to see what we could see.
One of the first historic byways in the
country, the Lariat Loop Scenic and
Historic Byway has provided access to
foothills scenery and western
experiences since 1912-1914, when
the City and County of Denver built
roads to bring residents and tourists to
its new Denver Mountain Parks
system. The 36-mile route loops
through Golden, Evergreen and
Our first stop was at a Lookout
Mountain park for a picnic lunch and a
chance for Taylor to try out his skill with
his new boomerang.
Buffalo Bill's gravesite
William F. "Buffalo Bill" Cody
(1846 –1917) was an American
soldier, bison hunter and
showman. He was born in the
LeClaire, Iowa Terrirtory,  but
lived several years in Canada
before his family moved to the
Kansas Territory. Buffalo Bill
received the Medal of Honor in
1872 for service to the US Army
as a scout. One of the most
colorful figures of the American
Old West, Buffalo Bill became
famous for the shows he
organized with cowboy themes,
which he toured in Great Britain
and Europe as well as the United
(from Wikipedia)
The Buffalo Bill Museum on Lookout Mountain in Golden illustrates the life, times and legend of
William F. Cody. It includes exhibits about Buffalo Bill's life and the Wild West shows, Indian artifacts
and firearms including Sitting Bull's bow and arrows, Buffalo Bill's show outfits, Frederick Remington's
"Portrait of a Ranch Hand," and many other objects from the Old West.
One exhibit allowed the "cowboys" to mount a horse, dress in cowboy gear (including chaps) and try to lasso a calf. Looks cool from a
distance, but as you'll note in the third photo, the horse was rather "short".
Buffalo Bill and Annie Oakley....
Dinosaur Ridge in Morrison, CO was designated the Morrison Fossil Area National
Natural Landmark in 1973, in recognition of its uniqueness and its historical and scientific
significance. The interpretive trail has hundreds of dinosaur tracks, a quarry of dinosaur
bones and interesting geologic features.
Tea, Tornadoes and Tastings
Celestial Seasonings had its humble
beginnings in 1969 in Aspen, CO when
19-year-old Mo Siegel gathered wild
herbs in the forests and canyons of the
Rocky Mountains and made them into
infusions (teas).  Today Celestial
Seasonings offers more than 100 products
and produces some 8 million tea bags...per
day! Unfortunately, we were not allowed
any cameras for the 45-minute factory
tour. The highlight was visiting the very
intense "peppermint room" which really
cleared our sinuses!
Besides the factory tour, we sampled teas ... lots of them. We got a chance to meet
their mascot "Sleepytime Bear". Note even the streets in the Celestial complex are
named after their best selling products.
NCAR is a scientific research lab. Their mission is to understand the behavior of the atmosphere
and related systems and to share this knowledge. This is a free admission facility and its three
floors of interactive weather, climate, solar and technology-focused exhibits are wonderful.
Nestled at the foot of the Flatirons, the NCAR facility is outstanding. We learned about sunspots
and global warming. We created lightning and whipped up a tornado. What an afternoon!
Denver's public art is wonderful. We drove around one day just trying to take it all in. Above a highlight (from left) "The Yearling" in
front of the Public Library; the big blue bear (2 stories high) peeks into the Convention Center window; and "The Dancers" grace the
lawn of the Denver Center for the Performing Arts.
Pagliacci, an Italian opera by Ruggero
Leoncavallo, is anything but a sad clown
when it comes to our favorite, romantic,
Italian restaurant in Denver. We
celebrated "something" with a special
dinner night out. Fantastico!
Getting campy...
We hadn't camped out for years, but when our youngest son, Brad, suggested we camp out with the grandkids for a weekend, we thought it was a grand idea. We joined Brad, his
wife, Catrina, their three kids Jacob, Kaileah and Danielle plus another grandson, Coleman,  at Red Feathers Camping area for a weekend camp-out. Despite sore backs and bones,
we really enjoyed our time in the great outdoors and in fact, decided we'd camp out for several nights on our way to Boston. Above from left, Brad and David start pitching the tents
(we had 4 of them); the guys really didn't have much time to fish themselves because the four kids kept them busy rigging, baiting and de-tangling lines. Our youngest granddaughter,
Danielle, was very serious about her fishing. The great outdoors had some surprises for us...like a moose (and then 3 more) sharing our campground.
As always, our time went way too quickly. We began prepping for Part II of
our American Odyssey which would take us (slowly) from Denver to Boston.
The route would be circuitous as usual. We had a rather aggressive itinerary
planned including visits to several national parks and monuments, lots of "off
the beaten path" type venues and of course, visits with friends along the way.
Come with us...it's guaranteed to please.