An Asthma Mom Among the Colorado Dinosaurs

I hear visitors here in Florida talk all the time about the sheer magnitude of the Gulf and how it humbles them. And sometimes, if I go to the part of the beach with no tourists and no condos or hotels and the water stretches all the way out the horizon, I feel it, too. This is water, after all, that stretches all the way to other countries’ coastlines, that swirls up into massive storms to threaten homes on shore, that covers the entire world in one form or another under and under several different names.

Mostly, though, I feel uninspired by the beach because I’ve spent my life on the coast. I take the water’s beauty for granted because I’ve seen it everyday for 32 years now.

The Rocky Mountains humbled me.

They’re new to me, of course, and I probably find them more spectacular than to someone born and raised in their shadow. It’s more than that, though. I felt very, very human and unpowerful when I considered that particular mountain I stood on, that piece of rock that pushed up out of the ground over millions of years, that the forces on the Earth could turn a flat sea into a giant ridge of rock.

That’s why I took this photo, in fact.

It entertained me to stick my 6 year-old next to this Golden Fault sign near Morrison, Colorado (which is west of Denver and near Golden:

“Oh, hi. Right here at this fault, the Front Range of the Rockies pushed up. Isn’t my kid cute?”

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This area, Morrison, is kind of a geological goldmine.

For one, the area features actual dinosaur footprints.

Seriously.

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This is Dinosaur Ridge, one of the most famous dinosaur fossil sites in the world. Formerly a beach–and by *formerly* I mean way back in prehistory–dinosaurs migrated among this route. The sand preserved their footprints and, over time, turned into rock. The Brontosaurus, Diplodocus, Stegosaurus, and Allosaurus were all discovered here.

Check out the scale of the prints.

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Also around Morrison: Red Rocks Park and Amphitheatre, an open-air concert venue set among enormous red sandstone boulders.

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Generations ago, the Ute tribe camped among the giant rocks, but as the area passed through different ownership in recent decades, names for the place included the Garden of the Angels and Garden of the Titans. It’s pretty much always been called Red Rocks, though, and the Denver Mountain Parks system ended up naming it that officially.

The Beatles played here in 1964, U2 in a history-making performance in 1983, and the Grateful Dead on many, many occasions. Dave Matthews Band, Stevie Nicks, Neil Young, and John Denver all made recordings here.

I took these photos in the middle of the day, during high heat and haze. (The air isn’t always clean and clear in Denver.) They don’t really capture the rich adobe color of the rocks, so check back tomorrow for much better red rock photos. For now, head over to the official Red Rocks site for some breathtaking panoramic shots.

Still, the view ain’t bad.

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I think, also, that if we visit enough times AG just might turn into a rock climber.

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Coming up tomorrow: Pike’s Peak with SNOW in July, and the Garden of the Gods

(ETA: This post was written before I moved to the Denver area. Clearly.)

64 responses to “An Asthma Mom Among the Colorado Dinosaurs”

  1. Steve says:

    You’ve put me in the mood to travel . I love pictures of mountains and rock formations… next best thing to being there!

    I would have never guessed that Denver had bad air.

    Thanks for sharing!

  2. Asthmagirl says:

    Yeah, the view is okay… if you’re into that kind of thing!

    Wow! Great Scenery! And your girls look like they’re having a great time!

  3. Amy says:

    Heh.

    Just wait ’til tomorrow….the photos get much better.

    :)

    Yeah, the air was pretty clean, Steve, but the hottest days definitely brought some haze. Overall, though, it seemed a lot cleaner than other cities, mine included.

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