Sunday, June 13, 2010

Stories from the Road -- Golden, CO

After a week visiting Glenwood Springs, Aspen, Great Sand Dunes National Park, and Rocky Mountain National Park, three friends and I ended a trip in Colorado on a more restful note. There is an "old mountain town" just outside of Denver that's home to more than a Coors factory. It has a beautiful river, a mountain with an 'M', and a downtown that screams "Get outside!" Golden. The town name speaks for itself.

Actually, it's even descriptive of the landscape. The foothills gleam the color. Pretty dry here, and the plants show it. I suppose it would be called brown...maybe khaki...but the scenery gives the color a shine. Indeed, the hills seem to sparkled underneath the mountain blue sky.

Golden is a town where getting out of the car is required. Eating inside is the option of last resort. Walking on the bridge, you look one way and see the Coors building utilizing the water. You look the other, and you see canoes motionless in the raging stream. In Golden, it's all about the water.

It's funny how the people who respect water the most have the least of it. Sure, it makes sense, but there's a celebratory nature to it that instantly makes me jealous. As I walked along the stream, I was mesmerized by paddlers fighting against the raging water. Such smiles on their faces, in spite of or more likely because of their futile attempts to make progress against the yielding rush.

Along the canal, there are several indications that the townsfolk want to have a little fun. I was amused by a really small, really twisty slide. Perhaps fun for a four-year-old. Or my friend Bryan. Either way, an amusing image that, I think, says a lot about the town.

Or the town welcome sign, hovering above a quickly modernizing business district. Golden seems a bit tongue-in-cheek. People here know not to take themselves too seriously. It's contagious. Sure, there's the obligatory long stare above the creek on the bridge. But then you read the sign, indicating the weight capacity the bridge can take -- based on "animal cargo". Those long stares turn into chuckles. Time for a sandwich on the sidewalk and a free beer at a factory. After all, it's Golden.