The Drive into Boulder was spectacular. Ranches, oil wells, and housing developments began popping up around us, and where the land once intersected with the horizon, a faint view of the Rockies emerged, gradually becoming taller and more tangible as we approached the city. Baz suggested we climb a couple peaks before dinner.
Having no specific destination in mind to enter into the GPS, we had decided earlier on getting directions to 69 Main St. Unfortunately, this turned out to be nowhere near the center of Boulder, and we took a 45 minute detour through agrestic mountain suburbs. We passed a small town with a general store that was a patchwork of old building and plywood, and then a larger town called Nederland. This route led us winding down Boulder Canyon drive into Boulder, possibly the most stunning route we could have ended up taking. Except for lack of castles, it echoed of Rohan.
We went from local to ranger to local to ranger getting directions to campsites (remember how we’re resolved to never sleep in the car again) and to the Flatirons (for climbing). After much disoriented meandering through Boulder Canyon, we made it to the grid of Boulders main streets, and drove up 9th street to Chataqua Park, where the Flatirons were. These massive structures of rock are five triangular plates that jut out of the mountainside. A 15 minute hike/scramble brought us in between the 2nd and 3rd Flatirons, an area speckled with boulders, boulders on top of boulders, and boulders on top of boulders on top of boulders.
We’re staying at campsite 14 off of West Magnolia Rd., about 3 miles south of Nederland, and high in the piney mountains. To get settled in, we pitched a tent while Zagy got a fire and makeshift rock oven going. We placed our cans of refried beans, Spaghettios, and Chef Boyardee atop the oven. 20-30 minutes later we had warm meals, and had taken our first step towards hobodom. In the morning we met our neighbors, what seemed to be a hitchhiking father and son team.
It’s been heavily raining today, and so far we’ve been checking out the various nooks and crannies of Nederland. We stopped first at a small art gallery, and the woman there* directed us to a carousel down the road, built by a vietnam war vet for two of his fallen comrades. He spent years fixing up an old carousel, now named the Carousel of Happiness, and carving dozens of eccentric wooden animals, from rainbow cats to ballet llamas. After a ride rich with happiness, Baz and Nani stopped for some home-made mini-donuts while Zagy and I checked out a few other stores. After a visit to a geode store, we drove to Boulder. At this moment, we’re in Starbucks posting this blog entry. Next we’re heading to The Spot Rock Gym (one of the best in the country) to get some climbing in despite the rain!
*This woman also told us about an annual event that happens in Nederland. A man, who has since been deported, cryogenically froze his dead grandfather up in the mountains. Every year the town has a big ridiculous party ‘commemorating’ this man. They do things such as coffin races, where groups of six carrying coffins race each other, and speedily putting on frozen t-shirts. She hopes that Nederland becomes known for the Carousel, instead of this. 🙂