When we arose on Day Three, the sky remained cloudy and scary throughout the morning. As we headed west from our Aurora hotel through Denver, eventually we were privileged to cast our eyes at long last on the grandeur of the Rocky Mountains. Even with overcast weather, we were still in awe. Please enjoy the first of several clickable photos, uploaded in higher resolution than previous entries for extra mountainous goodness:
Our first of many stops that Monday was at Red Rocks Amphitheater near/above the town of Morrison. This 70-year-old venue was carved into a mountainside for the sake of natural acoustics rarely encountered in today’s venues. It’s located in Red Rocks Park, which comprises numerous formations and visual delights beyond the mere amphitheatre itself.
If you’re too cheap to pay for concert tickets (or simply have scheduling concerns, as we did), you can visit in the daytime free of charge. Joggers flock there daily for workouts, traversing it row-by-row in the thin mountain air.
During our visit, roadies were in the process of tearing down the Colorado Symphony’s set from the night before and preparing for the next evening’s arrival of the Beach Boys’ 50th anniversary tour. (I apologize sincerely for the error in the original Road Trip Notes, in which I misstated that they were playing this same evening.)
Bonus trivia: the live video for U2’s “Sunday, Bloody Sunday” was shot at Red Rocks. Even 20+ years later, you can see some of the same formations looming behind all that jittery, non-HD cinematography.
Even the stairs that lead you to and from the sixty-odd rows of mountainside seating are engrossing nature walks in and of themselves, necessary trashcans notwithstanding.
These, unfortunately, are the stairs where my wife began to suffer the ill effects of altitude sickness. Red Rocks is over 6000 feet above sea level, an additional 1000+ feet higher than Denver. Driving up from Denver up Red Rocks Park, quickly descending the stairs, then attempting to ascend the stairs just as quickly produced uncomfortable side effects. It passed after much water was consumed and much taking-it-easy was enforced.
I call this one “Red Rocks Refreshments in Repose”. The serene absurdity strikes me oddly.
Not just a deserted area, Morrison and Red Rocks are home to more than a few Coloradoans. Coloradans. Coloradites. Coloradoians. Coloradoers. Collies. Colorists. Coloradtasticks. Whatever.
One question bugged me all week long, as a lifelong resident of a state bereft of mountains: do people who live in or near such scenery appreciate that natural wonder every day of their lives? My general mindset during our Colorado stay was, “HEY WOW MOUNTAINS!” It’s hard for me to imagine waking up in the morning, having something like this sitting right in my backyard, taking it for granted, ignoring it altogether, and instead spending my day muttering about the stupidity of Congress. I’m not sure how I could live with all that majesty going to waste.
To be continued!
[Link enclosed here to handy checklist for previous and future chapters, and for our complete road trip history to date. Thanks for reading!]