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Rocky Mountain "showdown"

Monday, September 19, 2011

Rockies in the Rain

This past weekend marked one of the biggest events for CU students for the year: the CU vs CSU game. A rivalry with deep roots, the Rocky Mountain Showdown is held every year at the Bronco's stadium in Denver. The CU-CSU game draws students, alumni, and parents alike to root for their team, hopping to attain bragging rights for the rest of the year.

Now, while I love school spirit, rivalries, singing the fight song at the top of my lungs, and decking out in black and gold, I just sort of failed at getting tickets to the game this year. And then, when they sold out, I thought I'd do something a little different than the rest of the student population. Since I'd never been to Estes Park, a little town nestled at the base of Rocky Mountain National Park, my boyfriend and I decided to go up there for the day and hike around.

I had only heard of the wonders that Rocky Mountain park held before I visited for myself. Jagged peaks jutting up from the ground at all different angles, thick green forests coating the scenery, and wildlife galore-- especially elk!-- awaited me in Estes. About an hour after we left Boulder, however, we got up to Estes and were greeted by a thick fog-- one that hung over the mountains, enshrouding them in a veil of what was inevitably anti-hiking conditions. We ascended the peaks, hoping for  a break in the clouds so that we could go on a nice hike and soak in the beautiful Colorado scenery. Unfortunately, our hopes of some blue sky were dashed when a freak blizzard blew in (in the middle of September, no less!). We decided to leave the exploration for another day and went into town instead.

We still managed to have a great day; I ate the best bison burger of my life and had a huge cone of homemade ice cream as we watched glass blowers expertly create masterpieces. When we finally left for the day, however, I was glad to see that the weather had cleared up in Boulder and that the flatirons were waiting to for me once again.

One of my favorite things about Boulder is its accessibility to the mountains. Its location on the Front Range means that you can be camping in the wilderness after just a half hour drive. You can hike around Mt. Sonidas or through the flatirons easily, managing to get some other chores done while still taking a day hike. You can make the trip to Estes Park, and, if the weather isn't on your side that day, it's not a waste. You can always go back, because it's really just around the corner. So, even though I missed the Buff's victory in the Rocky Mountain Showdown, the Rockies and I had a showdown of our own. Maybe they won this time... but after living in Boulder for four years now, I know that many more times await for me to experience the beauty and serenity of the Colorado Mountains. 

Lauryn
International Affairs, Anthropology • Colorado Springs, Colorado