Saturday, August 20, 2005

Golden, CO

They sure do make you feel welcome in this small town just west of Denver. It still carries that Old West feel to the town itself and some of its people. I actually met a gold prospector! No kidding. I've seen several now panning for gold in Clear Creek. This town was a big mining town years ago. There's even a School of Mines downtown. And a big "M" is painted on the side of the mountain above town which is lit up at night.

Several years ago the city made some changes to Clear Creek and created a whitewater park. It is now very active with white-water kayakers, tubers, kids jumping off the banks into pools, or people just soaking in the sun on the banks. A series of pathways that spiderwebs throughout town attracts runners, bikers, and walkers. Our campground is right on the Creek and one of these pathways. It is wonderful to walk downtown for shopping or restaurants. I used it this morning to visit the Farmer's Market and walk the Golden Fine Arts Festival. The pathways are also dotted with wonderful bronze statues (maybe every 50 yards or so). Some animals, some children playing, some with Western themes, but all are so detailed and capture a mood, like this one with the two kids reading. Of course, one of my personal favorites were these large butterflies resting along the sides of the paths.

Andy had stayed behind in Philly for an extra week to be with his mom. So while he was away, I tried to see a little more of the area. One afternoon I drove up to the top of Lookout Mountain which rises above Golden. The road was one of those that is cut out of the side of the mountain. It wasn't a sheer drop-off, but more of a steep slope. It still isn't a road for those with a fear of heights. One part of the road was like a snake with about 5 hairpin turns all stacked on top of eachother. The picture shows a view to the west. To the east you could see Denver's skyline, which is about 20 miles(?) east of Golden.
On another day I drove to Golden Gate Canyon State Park to go for a hike. Now to understand why this disastrous hike was so comical, I'll have to share a private joke. Andy always says that I can't do anything without him because something will go wrong, or something will happen to me, or blah blah blah. Well he jinxes me! That's my excuse and I'm sticking with it. Anyway...I start out on this 4.5 mile hike to Windy Peak, and eventhough it's in the afternoon there was no report of rain. I saw some dark clouds, but they appear to be heading to a different mountaintop, and not all clouds in Colorado produce rain, not even a drop. Needless to say, I'm several miles up the trail and believe I'm close to the summit when I hear the first crack of thunder. Directly over my head. Within minutes the wind picks up (never a good sign), lightning strikes, and the rain comes. Lots of it. Thankfully I had my pack with my rain gear in it, but my hike was aborted. Of course, by the time I was back at the car it was sunny again. Thanks Andy!
Since the weather changed I decided to drive up to Panorama Point to get the views I was hoping to get at Windy Peak. From Panorama Point there is a wonderful view of the Continental Divide.

Clear Creek RV Park normally only allows a 14-day stay maximum. They were kind enough to extend our stay considering our circumstances, but when Andy returned we needed to head out. We decided just to head back to Ft Collins for awhile.

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