A few lizards hotfooting across the pavement. Three solitary squirrels scurrying to their own shady spots. A butterfly, fluttering by.
Those were among the few signs of life on the Colorado Riverfront Trail as I pedaled along on my lunch break today. It was not yet 95 degrees F, as it is now, and climbing, climbing. There was time to think.
Dry heat means nothing like what it once meant to us before we came here.
High desert has its charms and wonders, but it is hard not to wonder how long it will be before this lonely planet will be so hot and so dry that one can’t sweat at all, high or low, far inland or on a sandy beach by an ocean.
On a hot, sunny evening in the valley we sat on smelly folding lawn chairs we should have replaced years ago but I didn’t know until just then that they were smelly, as if they’d been stored in a dark, dank basement for years. Now I know.
To the east loomed a flat-top mountain, reaching five-thousand-plus feet above us. Sheer cliffs to the south and west obscured another horizon but promised to hide the sun in just a little while. To the north and stretching toward Utah, more cliffs hid the high desert that reached beyond to wherever.
Strangers and friends arrived with their own smelly chairs and straw hats and camera phones and smiles, and attitudes and opinions on their tees and skins, and expectations of reliving something of the past that just would not fade away. An hour on, maybe more, it happened in this place by the river where we sat surrounded by the world and now by sound.
Red Dog Smith is obviously watching too much news lately, or somehow absorbing it through our befouled political atmosphere here in Mesa County or maybe he has his own Twitter account and I just haven’t found it yet.
I try to be honest with him and tell him what I do and don’t know on any topic he’s curious about, so I gave it my best shot when he asked me the other day in his endearing, innocent canine way, “What’s a Boebert?”
“I honestly don’t know for sure what a Boebert is,” I said. “My impression, based on the behavior of one individual who pretends to represent a large portion of the state of Colorado in the U.S. House of Representatives, is that a Boebert is someone who says all kinds of nasty, hateful things about other people in order to get attention, applause and money.”
He gave me that look, the one I get when I’ve either talked too fast or mumbled semi-coherently.
“You heard me correctly,” I said. “I don’t know for sure what a Boebert is, hard as that is to believe.”
The next look was the I’m sorry I asked look, which I get from both Red and Mrs. Smith on occasion.
“Okay, Red,” I said. “I’ll keep it short. Since you asked, here’s what some people have said on the Boebert question recently.”
Taking a Friday off to explore our new stomping grounds is always a good idea. Even better when the weather is fine.
We had talked about checking out the north rim of Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park since visiting the south rim last year. You can see across the canyon, of course, but there’s nothing quite like being on the other side.
The trail we’d planned to hike to Exclamation Point was muddy enough from recent snowmelt that we decided to check out the Chasm View loop instead. The punctuation will surely still be there next time, and the loop was nearby and mostly dry.
As we’ve now seen first-hand, the view is awe-inspiring from both sides as you peer over the edge to see the river 2,000 and some feet below.
There is much more to explore and learn about out here away from the madding crowd.