It was 70-some degrees and partly cloudy at around 11 am, Mountain Time, as one of my oldest friends, her three sisters, one of her sisters-in-law, one of my sisters, and I set off for a bike ride (the day after we’d seen Santana at Red Rocks!) along the Colorado River in Glenwood Canyon.
But first we had a good breakfast at the Daily Bread Restaurant, (including eggs Benedict with veggies!) which featured a lovely display of perfect-looking donuts and a clever sign based on the design of the handsome Colorado state flag.
Felt compelled to take home one of those beautiful donuts, and did enjoy several bites (not quite the whole thing) over the next couple days. But I digress!
On the way back from breakfast, our group decided all to get one of a t-shirt I’d spotted on the way there: featuring a bike (wheels for eyes) with a smile under it.
We were a united front!
My friend, the birthday girl, who has been living in the mountains an hour west of Denver for the past 35 years or so, had arranged a trip (bike rental and a ride to the top of the trail–not a rugged expedition but an efficient way to be together in the awesome mountains) that originated next door to the Hotel Colorado, where we were staying.
The expedition outfitters were friendly and confident as they distributed our bikes, which were labeled with names so we could easily find the one we’d spent time carefully adjusting, once we got to the trail. Mine was called, a little ironically, “No Name,”
the actual name of a nearby town.
And off we went to pedal along the Colorado river, which rushed over boulders and between walls of sculpted rock, on a bike trail that paralleled Interstate 70. Thank you, CDOT!
We stopped at a few particularly scenic places along the way
including a little waterfall at the head of a hiking trail,
where we chatted a while with some hikers touting the merits of inexpensive walking poles, which you could get at Walmart in a pair and split with a friend for hiking up more rocky trails.
The scenery definitely was in another league from Velo du Jour’s usual material. It was mile after mile of SPECTACULAR landscape.
So there was no way to describe it the way I usually do in this blog.
Not only that, but this was a social event,
and my attention just wasn’t available to dwell on my personal connection to the landscape.
So had to work to stay present and not to cling to every mind-blowing arrangement of rock and water (there were so many!) that went by during this close but fleeting contact with Glenwood Canyon.
Of course a lot of the best views were not photographed; it was ridiculous to keep stopping things to get an accurate documentation of the experience. I suppose other aspects of life are like that: you move through them without stopping, trying on the way to absorb their marvels. Perhaps like raising kids.
It certainly was a body-mind-soul stirring experience! I breathe more smoothly and fully just thinking about it. Easily imagined how people could leave behind whatever life they came from to be here, even to live here, as my friend did, to be embraced by the intoxicating mountains.
Could see how one’s thinking can be shaped by the surrounding landscape: imagining surprises tucked among the land’s folds versus seeing what seems like everything out in the open.
Knew there must be stories in each of the formations we passed and wondered what the native Americans who used to live in reverence of this area would think about tourists easily speeding among the rocks on bikes. But was hugely grateful to be able to come into such close contact with the rocks and the river without risking my life.
Toward the end of our ride we crossed the river (and I-70) over a fence-enclosed bridge
and headed back to the Hotel Colorado to enjoy one another’s company over the sandwiches we were going to eat on the trip but didn’t because the weather seemed a little uncertain.
The rest of the trip, though without bikes, continued the high spirits of this awesome ride!