Compass American Guides: Colorado, 6th edition
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Colorado is a sprawling western state whose Rocky Mountain spine of towering snowcapped peaks is bracketed by a vast prairie on the east and a dry, windswept desert on the west. To the south, mystery reigns.
All of Colorado provides postcard images. If a picture is worth a thousand words, pictures of many Colorado scenes are worth a thesaurus. And even that can't describe the beauty, tranquility, and almost spiritual feel that can overtake mere mortals when escaping into the millions of acres of Colorado plains, mountains, and deserts.
Whether it's the stability of small town life on the plains, brightly clad skiers busting through piles of "champagne powder," or a sunrise splashing color across a desert moonscape, nature can provide visitors to Colorado more than enough goosebumps.
Goosebumps aside, there's more than postcard images in Colorado. There is also the Oil Shale Capital of the World, the world's highest town (railroad, paved road, and suspension bridge), enough natural hot springs to soak away half the world's fatigue, the world's biggest underground hole filled with military brass (and we're not talking ammo dump), and the sweetest peaches this side of paradise.
Although this book can't reproduce the taste of those peaches, it can give you a taste of and feel for the parts that make Colorado a unique whole, while pointing out each area's sights, scenes, and history. As with any story, there are characters, and Colorado is full of them, from the first optimistic gold miners and silver barons to the current crop of peach growers on the Western Slope.
Before most people get to the Rocky Mountains, they cross or fly over Colorado's eastern plains. Running right up to the mountains, the plains are flat as a pancake, and full of wheat, tractors, and tornados. (If Dorothy and Toto had flown back from Oz and wakened in eastern Colorado, they'd have thought they'd landed in Kansas.)
The string of cities along the Front Range of the Rockies popped to life to supply the booming gold and silver towns deeper into the mountains. Once the gold and silver boom busted, the Front Range cities worked to become bastions of civilization in an untamed land, and then found themselves in the right spot at the right time to become the federal government's western hub.
The Colorado mountains remain the state's biggest draw and biggest bragging point. The mountains first beckoned the mountain men and fur trappers who truly explored the rugged backcountry. Next came the gold and silver miners who scattered throughout the state, from Boulder to Durango, in search of the minerals of which Victorian dreams were made.
Today, millions of acres of national forest, national parks and recreation areas, and public land draw visitors from around the globe. Whether it's to fish, backpack, bike, camp, hunt, or just try to get back in touch with land that has not been scarred or trampled by civilization, Colorado is more than accommodating.
The same is true for the state's famed mountain resorts. Entire communities have been created from scratch to satisfy the urge to ski. Mining towns down on their ore learned how to mine powder or historic charm instead of minerals. The transformation has been dazzling. Formerly dilapidated Victorian downtowns now boast everything from living history to the latest fashions.
Traveling toward the western side of the Rocky Mountains, it's possible, within a couple of hours, to drive from a 10,000-foot mountain pass down to sprawling farm and ranch land where the myth of the West with its fiercely independent farmers and ranchers is still alive and well. From there it's on into a hot western desert full of rattlesnakes and wind-carved rock formations.
Turning south, the traveler finds more subtle transformations, in mysteries of the past and mixtures of cultures. It was here that ancient Native American artisans created stunning cliff dwellings, and it was through this area that Spanish explorers traveled in the fifteenth century searching for the legendary Seven Cities of Gold. Later, a colonial Spanish/Hispanic culture, emanating from Santa Fe to the south, flourished and was eventually challenged by American settlers arriving from the east. Among other things, the Americans decided that southwestern Colorado was just the spot for the state's indigenous Ute Indians. As a result, the area is a true melting pot of people and heritage.
A common bond is shared by all Coloradoans: a reliance on natural resources and the surrounding environment for a livelihood. That, in turn, has created and is still creating another enduring Colorado feature: cycles of boom and bust. First it was gold, then silver, then coal, oil, oil shale, and uranium. Colorado still contains valuable minerals waiting to be mined, but today those hoping to recover them often find themselves in conflict with those whose livelihood depends on preservation of Colorado's environmental treasures. That the representatives of these two treasure troves collide on a regular basis keeps things interesting, if not downright exciting.
Thanks to its history and its people, Colorado is a state that is used to remaking itself whenever it has to. It is an amazing testament to the state's bountiful natural resources and resourceful citizens that it has been able to adjust and survive in an ever-changing world, while retaining its famous, almost magical reality.
Titolo: Compass American Guides: Colorado, 6th ...
Casa editrice: Compass America Guides
Data di pubblicazione: 2002
Condizione libro: very good
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Brooklyn, NY, U.S.A.
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