It’s amazing how many things go all zoomorphic when I’m out with the dogs. Usually they look like loose dogs. Broken fences are big in this area, but a bush in the right light can turn into a cattle dog (Bear’s Nemesis). When I see one of these animals, I focus tightly on it, approach slowly, tighten the leash. So far it’s always been a trick of the light and pretty soon the broken fence or the bush return to their original forms. I try to save face in front of myself at that point, “Oh I knew it was a fence,” but the truth is that, for a few minutes, I wasn’t sure.
The clouds move around a lot out there, changing the light constantly, and I have been out there when loose farm dogs were having a romp so I’m not completely (only partially) out of my mind. I’m not making any claims about the percentage I’m out of my mind, but I feel pretty safe with “not completely.”
After foundering about a grand tour of some distant place and struggling with the combined problems involved, I got inspired. There’s an 11 mile bike trail — paved — The Mineral Belt Trail — that goes all around the town of Leadville, CO. Yes, I know it’s not Pompeii or the temple at Delphi but it’s only two hours away from Monte Vista (advantage #1) and there are really beautiful Airbnbs up there for very reasonable prices. Leadville is an old mining town with a very colorful history. One of the first “grown up” books I read as a kid was The Golden Fury.
The Golden Fury is a historical novel, absolutely NOT great art, but I’ve since read worse. It’s set in Leadville during the hey-day of silver mining with wonderful descriptions of the town during those late 19th century days.
Leadville sits at 10,000 feet/3000 m. When silver crashed, the town crashed. Some of those stories are great. I’ve been there; it’s not an unknown place to me. It’s a beautiful town that clearly had a lot of money back in its day with lovely 19th century buildings everywhere.
It’s surrounded by the highest mountains in Colorado. Surrounding the town are old mines, some of which have good stories, most famous is the Matchless Mine. Anyway, this bike trail goes past a lot of this stuff with signs that give the history.
The elevation change on the trail is only 200 feet. Since I live at 7600 feet it would be a little bit of a challenge, but not like going there from San Diego or even Denver. And, I figure, I don’t have to do the whole thing. I can follow the advice of the mullah in the film Lawrence of Arabia, who told Lawrence to recite only so much of the Koran as came easily to him. I have the advantage, too (don’t tell me if it’s not an advantage. I need advantages right now, ha ha) of “training” on a stationary bike. You can’t “coast” on those things. You ALWAYS pedal.
Not far from Leadville is Camp Hale where the 10th Mountain Division trained for WW II. They fought in Italy in the Italian mountains, crossing into Austria. Many of those soldiers returned and started the ski “industry” in Colorado. Their story is fascinating.
Anyway it’s a goal, something to work toward (unless I can go to CH) and think about in these very strange and often lonely times. The town newspaper has gone totally “red” which indicates that emotions are running higher in this otherwise slow and placid little burg. This week featured a full page “Op Ed” that stopped short of pushing Q-Anon theories. All because two weeks ago a woman wrote a letter to the editor asking people to support President Biden and mentioned all the things he’s (as if he were the government) gotten right. That turned the spigot of right-wing BS wide open. I cancelled my subscription and wrote a letter explaining why (which I didn’t send).
It’s not that I think people should all think like I do; it’s that I think it’s important to get along with our neighbors. Our only REAL voice is at the ballot box, meantime we have more in common than we have things that set us apart. WHAT we focus on makes a huge difference in the quality of our daily lives and our communities, but I know that I am still (and will always be) “That woman who moved here from California.” And California? We won’t even mention the Commie evils practiced in that place.