“Colorado Springs is one of the best places in the world to see the history of Earth”
I love Colorado Springs. I discovered this beautiful city after visiting my best friend and brother, Tony back in ’96. We met in ’92 while in flight school in Alabama (where he’s originally from) but after he moved to Colorado Springs with his family in the mid-90s, it was only a matter of time before I went out to visit him. This city-slicker from New York City had no idea what was in store for him and the love affair that would eventually begin with not only this city but with the entire state for years to come.
I instantly fell in love with the wide open spaces, the massive and majestic mountains dotting the state, and the spirit of nature in all its glory permeating in every nook, trail, creek, river, crevasse, woodland territory and wildlife. The air was fresh and the very sky itself seemed more bluer and vivid. The clear waters that flowed in rivers and creeks felt sharply cold and soothing; the air equally refreshing and crisp. The weather during the spring and summer is the best anywhere in the country (in my humble opinion).
Aside from nature, Colorado’s history was also very appealing. Old mining towns stand with their old buildings and streets still intact, filled with the promise of an old forgotten gold vein still buried deep within its mines. Venerable locomotive engines still chug along on old tracks, blowing their strong whistles and belching forth steam and smoke from the confines of their coal-filled bellies. Long abandoned Indian caves and cliff dwellings offer a small glimpse of how life might’ve been like before white settlers conquered the land. These dwellings remain standing with the ghosts of their ancestral inhabitants sometimes heard in the howling winds in the evening sky. Beneath Colorado are deep subterranean spaces devoid of light and filled with damp, smooth stones, craggy rocks, perilous drops, claustrophobic tight spaces and jutting stalagmites and stalactites of various girth that sometimes seem more like some out-worldly gaping maw ready to devour foolish explorers. It is a land of famed cowboys such as Buffalo Bill (who is buried here), noble and shamanistic Indians, and hard working men and women who settled these lands during the great move westward, filled with glorious hopes and dreams that only Colorado could offer.
Aside from Colorado Springs, I’ve visited the nearly deserted mining town of Victor, charming Cripple Creek, historic Manitou Springs, and all the way up north to Denver, beautiful Boulder, Georgetown and Golden. We’ve even gone smack in the middle of the Continental divide through Loveland Pass.
But it is one destination that brings me here every so often if time permits: The Turner family. You can find Tony busy in the kitchen whipping up some deep-southern dish, a man-satisfying soup (he could truly give New York City’s Soup Nazi a run for his money) or making an entirely new dish he had “reverse-engineered” after he had sampled it elsewhere (a truly amazing feat). Breakfasts are hearty and dinners are three-course events. Yeah, I love food and so does he. His wife Gina is fortunate to work from home so when the opportunity arises (and the workload is light), she is quick to close the laptop and be a gracious and lovely host. Their sons are smart, well educated (with one having aspirations of being a future President – I guess I too will have an opportunity to sleep in the Lincoln bedroom – and the other an engineer) and full of that brand of Turner humor.
Take a look at the many pictures I’ve taken of our numerous trips to Colorado and you’ll see why we love this state and why I treasure my friendship with Tony and his family so much.