I was joined by a rare celebrity guest today, fraternity brother and long time friend Rob Wilson, who along with his wife Kimmy has hosted me in Denver all week, giving much needed succor and actual bedrest to the lonely hiker. Rob and I were to hike from Morrison to Kittredge, but first we paid the promised visit to Red Rocks.
The possibility of magical music in the mountains was first envisioned by John Brisben Walker. An entrepreneur in early 20th century Morrison, Walker had a funicular railroad built to an interesting geological feature above the town known as the Garden of the Titans, a set of massive red stones. The acoustics around these formations were amazing, even the supposedly tonedeaf Utes were known to rock out here in the old days. Walker held a number of concerts at the site from 1906 to 1910, but Red Rocks as we now know it did not come into being until everybody got depressed.
BTW FDR had an answer, which he came up with ASAP. He invented a series of acronyms who would build projects around the country, ending this depression by putting letters and people to work, thus stimulating the economy. One of these acronyms, the CCC or Civilian Conservation Corps, constructed the amphitheatre, seamlessly integrating the work of man into the magnificence of nature.
Today Red Rocks is one of the most popular venues in the world. All the greats have played here: U2, Rush, John Denver. Even the unparalleled genius of Great White has graced the stage. I could not find an unsatisfactory angle to view the eye candy the amphitheatre and environs presents. Ever the pessimist, Rob did point out the air conditioning unit behind the visitor's center was visually unappealing.
The hike to follow was no less enjoyable. We rose quickly above Morrison on the Castle Trail, climbing two thousand feet up Mount Falcon, to 7,700, the highest I have yet been. This record is not likely to last long before being eclipsed given what I have ahead in the coming days.
At the summit we found Walker's old residence, which now lies in ruins. Once a grand mansion on top of a mountain, the home was destroyed by a lightning storm merely a decade into its existence. I can only imagine the laments of the workers who toiled bringing stone up the difficult climb to the top.
We had toiled as well, but Rob is a former cross country runner at Furman who has stayed in shape by mountain biking and I was slackpacking, relieved of my usual heavy burden. With the addition of some cooler weather the result was we were none the worse for wear by the time we started down towards Kittredge. The final six miles were a breeze as I reveled in the vistas and bantered with my friend. I must enjoy these small pleasures while I can with a set of difficult days in the rugged Rockies lying not too far in the future.
10 miles/2552 total miles