Today marks the end of my “vacation” for this summer. We’ve spent the past week in Delta, Colorado, helping the minister who performed our marriage ceremony with the Vacation Bible School at his church. It meant mornings with the kids, afternoons with set-up and evenings of preparation for the next day. Friday was our “touring” day.
With the sunshine that had heated every day above 90 being shaded by thickening clouds, we set off in their tiny Toyota Matrix to see the mining town of Ouray, Colorado. Even though it was less than a two hour car ride, it’s amazing how tired sitting in a car can make you.
Stopping in Ridgeway for lunch, we finally got to experience the wildlife. In this case, it consisted of ants and flies circling our table on the patio, and a lovely garter snake slithering in the flower bed beside us. Our host Judy, has firsthand experience killing snake families. We settled for just chasing this unsuspecting snake away.
In Ouray, a water park supplied by several nearby mineral hot springs was packed with families on vacation. The main street (also the highway) of town boasted colorful storefronts reminiscent of the earlier boomtown days. Later, we would wander through town and enjoy the ambience of souvenir shops.
A winding road seemed to lead straight into the mountains. Our guide took us to the summit of Red Mountain Pass, stopping at several points along the road to photograph the incredibly diverse terrain that surrounded us. The first stop was an overlook of the town of Ouray.
After viewing the summit and seeing that Red Mountain was indeed red, we returned to Ouray to take a slight detour into Box Canyon and see the falls. It was a short hike to a series of metal walkways and stairways that wound to the base of the falls. A natural overhang shielded us from the sudden cloudburst. Roaring from within its hidden tunnel, noise from the falls made conversation difficult, deafening the audio senses with its powerful pounding. The view of the surrounding mountains was glimpsed through a crevice formed by the water.
An alternate trail took us up 200 feet for a view of the top of the falls. Hiking this trail took more effort and reminded me that the air at 7,300 feet was thinner than I usually breathed when exerting myself. Grand vistas unmatched by any artistic renderings bombarded my visual sense like a tidal wave.
Fresh air and physical exertion zapped all of us and we were a lethargic group on the ride back to Delta. Now, I’m in an airplane heading back toward “real life,” the mountain air and stimulating surroundings just a fond memory. All that beauty has inspired my muse.
Too bad the topic for the paper I have due on Tuesday continues to elude me.