Denver Colorado

by Kimp 13. October 2014 06:41

Photo Blog

Denver was one of the places that Sam and I visited this Summer.

Sunshine city
  The prevailing winds in the United States always flow from West to East. Winds coming from the West, have a hard time pushing the clouds over Colorado's high and dense Rocky Mountains. This leaves Denver, which is on a high plain near the eastern border of the Rocky Mountains, nice and sunny. Denver has more sunny days then the Sunshine State of Florida.

Denver is on a high plain, about 1 mile (1.8 km) in elevation and has both mild summers and mild winters.

The contrast of the plains and the Mountains make judging distance impossible. On the drive from the Airport into Denver we were driving straight towards the Mountains. It looked like the Mountains were only about 5 minutes away, for about 30 minutes, and we turned before we actually got to the mountains.

If your vision of beauty is Sun, fresh air, cleanliness and relaxed friendly people, topping Denver is going to be difficult.

Denver is a sprawling metropolis. Since the Eastern part of Colorado is a huge plain, there isn't any need to crowd structures in a small area. It spreads out for what seems like forever. Different parts of Denver also have similar street names. I put the address of the hotel in my GPS and ended up in a rural neighborhood completely void of any commercial buildings. Thoroughly confused for several minutes, I finally figured it out, and got the right address in the GPS. It was another 20 minutes to our destination.

  We didn't get to see as much of Denver as I would have liked, but we did get around to quite a few things. I had a tough schedule before I left for the States, plus several long flights, lots of jet lag, and adjusting to the high altitude. I slept for 22 hours straight after we arrived. Then I was feeling sick and groggy for the other two days that we were there. For the most part we walked everywhere or rode the free 16th street mall shuttle.

On our way out of town I stopped to see something and forgot to lock our car (It was a pain finding a place to park and I got side tracked). I realized that about an hour later. Since we were on our way out of town, the car had all of our luggage in it. Luckily nobody else noticed it as unlocked, and nothing was stolen. 

The 14er's
  Colorado's Rock Mountains are dense and high. A 14er is a mountain whose peak exceeds 14,000 ft (4,270 m). Colorado has 53 14er's. California is in second place with 12. Pikes Peak in South eastern Colorado, about 80 miles from Denver is the most famous. That's because it is the fist 14er seen when heading West towards Colorado. When traveling was slow, they would see that mountain for about a week before they got to it. In 1859 when Gold was found in Denver, Eastern folk heading to Denver would say, "Pike's Peak or Bust", because at that time, Pike's peak was more famous then Denver. The first Gold coins minted in Denver, had the words, "Pike's Peak Gold" engraved on them.

Today there is an annual hill climb race, that has been held on Pike's Peak Highway, every year since 1916. It starts at mile 7 and ends 12 miles later at the summit. There are 156 turns in the "Race to the Clouds" course and sometimes contestants don't make on of them, resulting in a horrific accident as they plummet down the side of the mountain.

Colorado History

  Colorado was a favorite for several Native American Indian tribes. A very large plain with mild winters and summers coupled with lots of sun, ample fresh water from the snow in the Rocky Mountain, and the lack of predators made for very large Buffalo Herds al throughout Eastern Colorado. This made it an ideal location for Native American Indians as well. 

  In the 1700's the Apache nation had settled in Northern and Eastern Colorado. The Ute nation had settled in the Western and Southern parts of Colorado.

  The Apache were fierce warriors and skilled strategists and the Ute's were nomadic and kept to themselves. The Spaniard's claimed Colorado as Spanish Territory in 1706, but they never settled there. All the did in Colorado was trade with the Indian's. The Spainsh tried to start a settlement in Southern Colorado, just south of the Arkansas river in 1787, but it failed in short order.

  In 1803 the French sold the Louisiana Purchase to the United States which included Colorado. By this time the Apache nation had moved into New Mexico, allowing the Cheyenne and Comanche Nations to take their place. The Ute's who had traded to get horses from the Spanish, had become expert horsemen and were very skilled at fighting on horseback. In 1806 Zebulon Pike lead a US Military expedition into Southwestern Colorado for exploration of that region, but was discovered and captured by the Spanish.

  In 1820 Mexico declared it's independence from Spain and the United States created a Treaty with Mexico, granting them all of the land South of the Arkansas river which ran through Southern Colorado. With the Spanish no longer a threat, traders set up trading posts on the Northern Arkansas river in Colorado.

  In 1846 the United States went to war with Mexico over Mexico's Northern Territories and won. This freed up all of Colorado.

  In 1850 the United States signed a peace treaty with the Ute Nation, allowing settlers to start settling in Colorado. 1849 was the California God Rush. Most gold prospectors took the friendlier Northern route to California, because the Colorado Rockies were to difficult to traverse in a wagon train. In 1850 a wagon train of prospectors from Georgia, who were headed to California, went through Colorado, since it was now a somewhat peaceful place. Crossing the South Platte river at a location near present day Denver, they headed down a small creek named, Clear creek that as nearby.

  They decided to stop for a short time on the creek. That is when a dude named Lewis Ralson stuck his gold pan in a small mountain stream, that was emptying into Clear creek. He immediately found $5 in gold, he made a note and a claim of that location, naming the stream Ralston's creek, and continued to California.

  Eight years later, Raltson returned with Willam Russell and his party (a Georgia group of prospector's heading back home to Georgia). They started panning in the area. After a few weeks, most of the prospector's gave up and left for Georgia. Then Willam Russell found a significant gold deposit. That started the Colorado gold rush of 1859 and the boom town of Denver. Actually, it wasn't named Denver at that time.

  In those days, if there was unclaimed land in Colorado, all you had to do was stake it out and file a claim to it. While most people were in the process of looking for Gold, General William Larimer decided to go to Colorado and stake out a big claim. Draw up city streets on this claim and sell lots to people who came later. He named it Denver, because at that time Colorado was in the Kansas territory, whose Governor was named James Denver.  The General figured that the Governor would give favor to a city named after him. Whoops, come to find out later, that James Denver had resigned a few month's prior to the naming. Word travelled slowly in those days.

  Denver grew quickly and just about the time the growth evened off, Gold was discovered in the Rocky Mountains about 30 miles West of Denver. Denver shrunk as fast as it had grown. It would have became a ghost town, but miners soon discovered that Denver's mild winter climate was a lot nicer then living in the mountains. Miners started moving back to Denver for permanent housing.

  All of the settlers coming into Colorado, upset the Cheyenne and Arapaho tribes. Tensions between them and the settlers continued to rise. The large tribes formed an alliance between themselves and two other tribes. Tensions continued to rise until 1863, when  the US Military was deployed to Colorado, to protect the settlers from the Indians. It took two years for the US Military to win the battle, after which the tribes were relocated to Oklahoma.

  Colorado became a state in 1875 and Silver was discovered there in 1879 starting the Silver boom.

Modern Day Colorado
  Colorado has always been a state with liberal minded people. It was the first state in the Union to grant Women the Right to Vote. Colorado was one of the first states to have legalized medical and recreational Marijuana.  

Modern Day Denver
 Since Colorado recently legalized recreational Marijuana, I had expected it to be similar to Amsterdam. I wasn't really looking for that, but was surprised that I didn't see nor smell any evidence of marijuana the whole time I was there. I thought maybe I would see some shops and see and smell some people smoking it outdoors in the streets. But nothing at all.

  The people in Denver are fairly laid back and casual. Its an outdoor town with lots of very nice college aged people and bikes.

  The city has lots of modern architecture and is very clean, artistic and appealing. It was immediately apparent to me that Denver expends mental energy protecting its environment. Sam and I came to the mutual consensus that their tap water beats any bottled water we have ever consumed. 

  The Denver Art Museum is massive. Not sure what all was in it, as I was time constrained, so I quickly narrowed my selection to a small Western Art section and a large Native American Indian section. The Native American Art exhibit was really enjoyable. I love great craftsmanship and the Native Americans took European Beads that they traded for and brought them to life. Each tribe had their own master artist, who taught other artists in their tribe, their local style. So each tribe ended up with a unique style.

  Denver also has the CELL (Counter Terrorism Education Learning Lab). The CELL does not allow photography in most of it, so I will tell about it here, instead of in the photo captions. It is divided into several rooms each with a distinct theme. The rooms have automatic doors on each end. You can only go one way and the doors are timed to open giving you a pre defined time in each section. 

  It starts by making the statement that Terrorism is a world wide problem, then displays some artifacts related to the September 11, 2001 attack. Progression is demonstrated through several terrorist acts since then. The next section is several questions that test your knowlege of weather they are facts or myths. This interactive part allows you to expand your knowledge on the subject. Next is a section on the many different fund raising efforts that support terrorism. The next section shows the tools that terrorist use, such as bomb vests, assault rifles, rocket propelled grenades, and improvised explosive devices. The last section was how Media helps both sides, media supports both the prevention and proliferation of terrorism. Both the terrorist and the counter terrorists are trying to get their messages to as large of an audience as possible. All in all, it demonstrates how heinous these organizations are, how the evil spreads, and how difficult this problem is to solve. 

Enjoy the pictures.

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Art | Travel

Comments (1) -

Paul Sarsany
10/19/2014 10:28:23 AM #

Lived in Colorado Springs from '84-'87.  God's country.

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