Using a bit of muscle and mind

17 Oct

View from Royal Arch

My husband and I went on a hike yesterday near Boulder. It was a perfect mostly blue sky day, upper 50’s. There were a lot of people on the trail. Not unexpected as it has been snowing in the high country and the trailhead is just outside of Boulder. On a Boulder Trail website there is a description:
“Royal Arch Trail is a nice but somewhat aerobically challenging trail leading to a natural sandstone arch at the top that also features a great view of the Boulder valley. The trail isn’t very challenging technically but does involve a good ascent in a short distance – 1270 or so feet in 1.4 miles”
Let me translate. “Somewhat aerobically challenging” Means you will use your hands to climb up large boulders. “isn’t very challenging technically” means you will use your hands to pull your raggedy ass up large sections of the trail instead of having a rope to pull yourself up. The rope would make it “technical”.
The good thing was that it was only 1.4 miles up. And it did have incredible views. There were ferns growing amongst the boulders and mounds of moss. There are springs that must run during the snow melt.
I wore a University of Texas shirt (my alumnus) which turned out to be the conversation starter as we greeted other hikers on the trail. And, while I loved the view which was amazing I was most curious about the trailhead. I had never been to Chautauqua state park. I assumed it was just a parking lot with trailheads and perhaps a bathroom.
Chautauqua State Park was full of all these cool old cabins up and down small streets with a dining hall and other structures. So I had to look it up –
“On July 4, 1898, over 4,000 people gathered for the opening day of the Colorado Chautauqua. Boulder civic leaders and Texas educators had joined together to create a cultural and educational summer retreat. Today, the Colorado Chautauqua is one of three remaining Chautauquas in the United States, and the only site west of the Mississippi River, in continuous operation, with its original structures intact.”
Whats a Chautauqua? Well apparently it was a movement to provide vacations to everyone and not just the wealthy.
“Before radio and television, the Chautauqua Movement united millions in common cultural and educational experiences. Orators, performers, and educators traveled a national Chautauqua circuit of more than 12,000 sites bringing lectures, performances, concerts, classes, and exhibitions to thousands of people in small towns and cities. Theodore Roosevelt called Chautauquas, “the most American thing in America.”
You know you are old when the history is more compelling than the hike.


One Response to “Using a bit of muscle and mind”

  1. notquiteold October 17, 2011 at 8:15 pm #

    Years ago I treated my husband to a weekend of cross-country skiing. I picked (from a brochure…it was years before the internet) a nice resort with good food and “breathtaking” skiing. Well, yeah! It turns out that was the place the olympic cross-country ski team trained. They had about 200 kilometers of trails and about 1.5 kilometers that I could do.
    It’s wonderful to read the history (because you are too out of breath to speak).

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