Friday, July 9, 2010

Colorado Chronicles : Boulder

I have traveled quite a bit in Colorado. It's a beautiful state with a lot to offer. One of my favorite cities in CO is snuggled up against the Flatirons (the foothills of the Rockies) and goes by the handle of Boulder. Located about 20 miles west of Denver on Highway 36, Boulder is a place to do stuff - lots of stuff. Pearl Street Mall is one of the busiest places in town. It's an open-air mall that is lined with shops of all stripes, good restaurants and street performers. The showplace of Boulder, in my mind, has to be the University of Colorado, or CU (why CU and not UC? I dunno). The CU Buffaloes play football at the on-campus Folsom Field. It's a magnificent campus in a splendid setting, surrounded by the Flatirons the west and by Boulder Creek  to the north. (Yes, I have fished Boulder Creek) Boulder is home to the McDonalds with the best view of any McD's, or any other eatery, I have ever visited. Boulder has unlimited year-round outdoors activities at your disposal. As mentioned above, Boulder Creek, where you can fish or kayak, is right at the edge of the CU campus and runs westward to source high in the Rockies through Boulder Canyon. Go up the canyon about 15 miles and just past Nederland is Eldora Ski Lodge. Denver is a short drive away, and there you can, depending on the season, catch the Colorado Rockies at the prettiest ball park in the Majors, Coors Field, the Broncos at Invesco at Mile High or the Nuggets or Avalanche in the Pepsi Center. Boulder is well worth the trip if you are headed to Colorado at any time of the year.

Maine Minutiae : The Greatest Mountain

The photo above is of the highest mountain in Maine. Reaching towards Heaven at 5267 feet above sea level is Mount Katahdin, "The Greatest Mountain" as named by the Penobscot Indians. The original Native Americans that lived in the area near Mount Katahdin believed the mountain was the home of the Storm God, Pamola, and stayed away from the place. Mount K is the dominating feature of Baxter State Park in North Central Maine about 75 miles northwest of Bangor. this 202,064 acre jewel of The Pine Tree State is named for former Governor Percival P. Baxter, who left the land for the park to the state as his legacy for his love of Maine's natural beauty. There are over 200 miles of trails within Baxter State Park that are perfect for hiking in the summer and snowshoeing or snowmobiling in the winter. Speaking of weather (what a segue !), the park is known for its extremely variable weather. It can snow any day of the year. Temperatures as low as 45 degrees below zero have been recording at Mount Katahdin. As the Boy Scouts say, "be prepared". Besides bear, moose and deer, Baxter State Park offers some outstanding trout fishin'. Gorgeous Baxter State Park and Mount Katahdin - quite a couple.

Texas Tidbits : Padre Island

Padre Island . Need I say more? I will anyway. At 130 miles north-to-south, Padre Island is the longest barrier island in the world and the longest beach in the United States. It is named after Catholic Priest Jose Nicolas Balli (c.1770-1829). Padre Isalnd is steeped in history, starting with the native Indians as far back as 2700 B.C., Spanish explorers who were shipwrecked near the island in the 1500's, Father Balli and the tens of thousands of Spring Breakers  of today. Padre Island is home to more than 600 species of plants and wildflowers as well as a gazillion types of waterfowl that nest and breed in Laguna Madre (Mother Lake). Padre Island National Seashore, dedicated April 8,1968 by Lady Bird Johnson, also plays an important role in the area, as its fine sand and shell fragment beaches have played host to almost a million tourists since 1992. When visiting Padre Island, there are all trappings of any tourist spot, including the Schlitterbahn Water Park, but one can also surf and find some of the salt water fishin' anywhere for speckled trout, snook, sharks, Spanish mackerel, redfish and tarpon. There you have it. Another damn fine reason that Texas is like a whole other country - Padre Island.

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