I couldn’t live here, but I can see why people write songs about the place.
Yesterday, Mary had to work (attending the conference) so I meandered around the city of Boulder for a while, and found that quite pleasant, even though the temperatures were soaring. On returning to my car, I drove up Canyon Road into the canyon that gives it its name. Boulder canyon did, in fact, get a mention in John Denver’s “I guess he’d rather be in Colorado”.
Whatever you think of John Denver’s shortcomings, musically or personally, no one could doubt his love of this spectacular state. Boulder Canyon is one of Earth’s magic places. Tumbling waters, steep shattered rock walls, clean clear air … it is truly beautiful.
I got to the town at the top of the canyon. The origin of its name is a bit of a mystery, or some kind of local joke. Its 1,700 or so occupants live 8,228 feet ASL. The highest point in the country from which its name is borrowed is 1,059 feet ASL.
On the way back down the canyon, I picked up a hitchhiker. He was the stereotype of every old cowboy I ever saw. Though probably no older than me, he had that “rock of ages” look … lean, grey-bearded, hat, boots, denim, and slowest, deepest drawl I have ever heard. He was some sort of mineralogist and told me a lot about the structure of the canyon, and the health of its river and forest. And he has a daughter-in-law from Christchurch, and knew all about our earthquakes. He was a pleasure to ride with.
My final scenic spot of the day was Table Mesa and the National Center for Atmospheric Research (thanks for the tip Neil Gordon). It is situated high on the hill overlooking the town, and as I neared the NCAR premises I was getting more excited about the view. Unfortunately there is little or no view from the publicly accessible part of the place because of pine trees grow up to block it off. So I trudged around one of the many walkways until at last I came to a clear space.
Why could I not live here? Well, as beautiful as the place is, and as friendly as most people are, the cultural disconnect is just too unsettling.