This week is a prelude to my big trip: the big trip I’ve been waiting for since June. I have several hesitations about this trip, none of which have anything to do about where I’m going. Oh, where am I going? Colorado. That’s right: Colorful Colorado has been calling my name since I became friends with T and learned of all of its natural splendor. I began hiking a year ago and found that plopping myself in the middle of the wilderness with a backpack stocked with water & food was the ultimate test for me. It made me stop thinking and start pushing myself past my boundary of comfort. I admit that since my last foray into the wilderness, I haven’t been back: dehydration in the middle of nowhere has a way of scaring the shit out of you. I intend to re-introduce myself to light hiking in the Garden of the Gods this coming weekend. Keep your fingers and toes crossed for me; being an exercise-induced asthmatic has put the fear of God into me about doing anything physical in a place with such a high elevation. Thin air and breathing problems do not mix, my friends.
At any rate, Friday, far before the crack of dawn I’ll be awake, face painted and in the car on the way to Dulles airport to catch a 6 a.m. flight to Denver. The greatest thing about flying out west? I’ll be gaining time. Yes, I’ll be zombie-like from being awake for several hours by the time my feet hit the ground in Denver, but it’ll only be 7 a.m. by the time I get there. This means that I’ll have an entire day to explore Denver and part of Colorado Springs with my friend Charity, whom I have not seen in at least six years. Via email & Skype during the last three months, Charity and I have been scheming and planning, planning and scheming to pack as much as we can into this trip; after all, this is our “summer vacation”: three days albeit a short vacation, a vacation nonetheless. I’m lucky that my travel companion would prefer to plan on educational excursions like museums and historical monuments. After tons of research, thumbing through a Colorado Springs guidebook, a Frommers Colorado book loaned to me by a generous friend, and lots of internet research hours, we’ve decided to hit a few, if very specific sites. We’ll be visiting the Colorado Wolf & Wildlife Center so that Charity can attain one of her life goals: to have her picture taken with a wolf. Then, we’ll be heading to the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo to see lions and tigers & bears (and monkeys and giraffes and…) oh my! I haven’t been to a zoo in a long while, so I’m super excited about this one.
I’ve been fascinated by the Garden of the Gods since learning about the magical rock formations a year ago: Balanced Rock, Kissing Camels, Cathedral Spires. I’ve built this place up in my mind to be almost mythical: huge rocks jutting out of the earth in robust colors resembling creatures and magnificent manmade structures. How did they get there and how did they get their form? I so excited about seeing this park in person and taking as many pictures as possible! Our next destination, Manitou Cliff Dwellings holds the same mystical status in my mind. I’m fascinated by Native American cultures, so seeing the abode of Anazasi tribe will prove, I’m sure, to be thrilling. I’m debating the opportunity to experience the Pikes Peak Cog Railway. This girl has breathing issues as it is at 410 feet above sea level, and I fear the problems may be amplified at 14,114 feet above sea level. However…when else will I have the opportunity to stand at the top of freaking Pikes Peak?
With everything planned, now all I have to do is wait. And, anyone who knows me will agree that waiting is not my strong suite. Indeed, I’m incredibly impatient. The other hurdle that I have to hop is the three hour and forty-eight minute flight. Ugh. Flying. I’m not a fan. I’m good with the actual in-the-air part of flying…if I stay plugged into music, close my eyes, don’t peek out of the window at all and don’t think about the fact that I’m in a rather small enclosed space with over a hundred other people with recycled air. I’m not so good with the taking off and the landing parts of flying. Ugh. Flying. I’ve decided, because I cannot drive to Colorado Springs in the time period allotted, that I can be an adult and grin and bear the flight. Honestly, I’m so excited about checking out Denver and Colorado Springs that I haven’t dwelled much on my fear of flying. Here’s to hoping that it stays that way!