I think Boulder may have had the biggest impression on me, though my mind swerves in between Boulder and Ft. Collins on that point. In Denver I had parked my car in the highlands neighborhood just accross the South Platte from downtown. I was in the city for near all of Monday touring and touristing, riding the light rail and spending a good two hours in the state capitol. (It seems that one can easily discern how many people a state does or doesn't have by it's capitol. On this trip I stopped by the Wyoming one in Cheyenne as well and found it to have about the same size and feel as a middle school.)
I returned to the Highlands at about four in the afternoon and spent a long time refinding exactly where I had parked; so that it was near-exactly five when I joined the multitude heading out of the city at five PM. People actually use their bicycles as vehicles here, like seriously. On thirty ninth street I drove nearly a mile at fifteen miles an hour behind three of them. Then up Federal Boulevard, across I-70 and into the north end of the city proper, surrounded now by the same grity parking lots and glass sunburned tattiness that you find along West Center in Omaha or any car-based city in the US. The traffic on the Boulder Turnpike was near bumper-to-bumper but still moving at full speed, it was exhilierating, though the sight of people speaking on phones or eating while a sneeze away from causing mass mangling death did cause bring some real fear; or maybe it was self-rightousness. Then after a rise in the road appeared this thoroughly distinct city in the midst of randomly designated suburb; a square of golden-fall trees taking up one's entire field of vision before descending into it.
I parked somewhere to the east of twenty eighth street and made my way to a hiking trail; which was as full as a city street. Everybody jogs. Everybody bikes. If you are on the sidewalk you are never more than ten feet from someone else using the sidewalk. I remember when my family questioned my mental state when I willfully chose walking ten blocks over driving to a particular destination. It seems that the opposing attitude holds dominion here; and it's very endering to know that there's somwhere in the United States that sees things straightly.
I came across Folsom Field by honest accident. I had been following the trail along Boulder Creek befgore I decided to change direction, walked up a rise, and found the letters 'COL' written along the sunken bowl that I've seen on TV a doezen times; 1989, 2001, the virtual soccer riot of 2005; no worries, I've never hated this place or the people who lived here. Anyway it seemed I was on campus now; the library here is top of the line and the other buildings seem well tended to.
I continued west over and through 'University Hill, repeating a ritual I had perfomed earlier that day in Golden, walking to the very edge of the prairie and touching the base of the first mountain. I was maybe feeling a little high from the thinness of the air, but it truly does feel like the Flatirons do add a reflective shimmering quality to the air here; and they look very impressive at dusk. I followed College Avenue up to its dead end, feeling true and winded even though I almost never get tired from walking, past the ranch style homes filled with what may be the most elitist and splendedly isolated left-wingers and the Western world, and finally to the end of the road where my hand toushed vertical dust; an entirely different patria from my own. I had might as well have been thirty miles under the sea.
I rested for some minutes and then took a long drink of water. I had a dry mouth and slight headache for nearly my entire time here, which I don't think is supposed to happen unless you're actually up in the peaks. Would have gotten over it if I stayed longer maybe. As for this moment I realized that I hadn't eaten for several hours and was starting to feel really tired. It would be a downhill walk back across town at least, then a familiar ruralish drive across the northern subdivisions to Greeley, where my cousins were waiting for me.