Taking A Break…

It has been a crazy week. Kathy’s sister and brother in law are in town for the week. David is a thinker like yours truly and the conversations at 6:30 AM have gotten weighty. At 9:00 PM we are talked out and ready for some recharging. No, we don’t go out drinking like days of old but head for the sack.

I haven’t missed my daily dose of news and interviews and there were two special ones this last week with Tom Colburn, senator from Oklahoma and Jeb Bush. Neither are running for office and of course without the reelection pressures they spoke freely and made absolute sense. We have serious problems ahead. You know it. They know it and Washington knows it but they think somehow if they don‘t bring it up somehow the Lord will provide. My Georgetown Logic 101 didn’t teach me to see it that way.

My son rode his bike Sunday morning some 40-45 miles. His wife came in third in a biathlon on Saturday. My son in law is participating this week in Ride the Rockies which is an endurance battle to cover some 480 miles in 6 days going up and down a gazillion passes. And they think this is fun. We are taking to the car.

We cruised out of Denver this morning at a leisurely pace to head north. Boulder gave way to Lyons and a great backroad ride through small towns placed us at the entrance of Rocky Mountain National Park at Estes Park. These are not the lights of Broadway.

It of course was a gorgeous Colorado day but the horizon quickly turned a dark and murky color. There is a huge out of control fire burning football field sized swathes through dense forests in a matter of moments. It is estimated the fire can travel at speeds of up to 30-40 miles an hour. The humidity has been in the high teens and gusty winds have fed this insatiable monster. Homes are engulfed in minutes and a life of striving somehow goes for naught. It is nature at its best and worst. Thank your stars.

As you enter the park the vastness is everywhere. We begin the climb up Trail Ridge Road which will launch us from an altitude of 8,000 feet at liftoff to 14,700 in the next 45 minutes. The park is about 450 square miles with still snow capped peaks standing sentry everywhere. If you have an ego, come here. You will get over it. The combination of size and eons of geologic history do make you feel somewhat insignificant.

You tip your hat to Teddy Roosevelt. Before and during his presidency he spent a fair amount of time in the West. It was his unrelenting pressure that produced places like this, Yellowstone and Yosemite. Congress could have cared less at the time. Funny how their short term thinking is a legacy borne out by their legislative heirs. Some things never change.

As you reach the summit above tree line, the tundra is the only surviving vegetative life in this unforgiving terrain. During the winter the wind howls up to 150MPH and the temperature does not get above freezing for five months.

It is not quite moonscape but the realities of life are ever present. And yet the sky is beyond Colorado blue and you are reminded of John Denver’s lyric in Rocky Mountain High. “They say that he got crazy once and tried to touch the sky”. Good stuff.

As you wend your way down the backside you go at an easy pace. It’s as if you want the feeling to last forever. The tranquility to be savored. Bleakness turns to aspens greening in the sun. There are campers and pup tents of all sorts. A man in waders is in a mountain stream fed by the snow. The water flowing from snowmelt will wind up in Denver or even LA through tributaries far and wide. You are constantly reminded of the magnificent quiltwork of nature that keeps us all alive. I wish I was better at getting that across.

As we drive back to Denver two things come to mind. We pass towns and homes of all description. Shacks and mansions sit on the same hill. Everyone has their own idea of heaven. All are glass houses. None should throw stones.

Secondly is the respite somewhere remote provides. Away from the hustle and bustle, I Phones, texting and tweeting. Some place where your thoughts are your own. A place to dream and imagine. “What if” doesn’t play out on an Excel spreadsheet but in your heart. I am glad I took a break. I hope you enjoyed the ride.

As always
Ted The Great

Factoids:

There are 58 National Parks in 27 states. They are administered by the National Parks Service which is part of the Department of The Interior.

They range in size from 6,000 acres to 8 million acres. Alaska and California have 8 followed by Utah with five and Colorado with four. The total area of all parks is 52 million acres.

The largest house under construction at this time is 90,000 sf in Windermere, Florida. There are several homes available to be built that range in size from 200-500 sf. I think they used to call those Airstreams. Actually, the average size of a house in the US is 2,000 sf but going down.

Ugly Americans. Sad to say as we entered the park a car in front with Texas plates no less threw a large piece of paper out of the car. Further on there were many signs saying it takes over fifty years for the tundra to recover from people stepping on it. Of course there were several groups running and standing on the frozen soil to get that one great picture. The rules don’t apply to them. Oh yeah. I forgot we are too regulated.

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