During the era of the miners Crested Butte celebrated the 4th with more than fireworks alone. Dynamite was set off at the beginning and end of the festivities. Sometimes I understand why folks yearn for the good ole days of unregulated explosives.
Nowadays the town's celebration of Independence Day is less destructive, but no less popular. Fireworks are banned, but the calender is full of events. The fire station puts on a pancake breakfast and the more foolish types participate in a 1/3 marathon. I was awake to take part in either.
My involvement started with the parade, which is considered one of the best in small town America according to what some random claimed was once written in a National Geographic Traveler article from 1983. Always trust your source.
I was invited to march, carrying a sharpened stake connected to a "Register to Vote" sign. I was tempted to write "Kill Vampires" on the other side. Oh my kingdom for a pen!
I marched near the front and so was able to witness the rest of the extravaganza when my work was done. Freaks are drawn to a parade like moths to a flame and there numbers were legion today. Unicyclists, a red fairy, men on stilts, and a float composed of people dressed in uniforms made of corn husks were some of the more interesting members of the mad menagerie.
Tired of pomp and pageantry I retired to my temporary home to write for a bit. My dreams of a relaxing afternoon were shattered by John's roommate Brent, who invited me out to his family's barbecue.
Brent had marched in the parade himself with the High Country Citizen's Alliance. The organization has recently succeeded in preventing molybdenum mining on the Red Lady (Mt. Emmons) the mountain facing the west side of town. They worried the work would pollute Crested Butte's water source and that the noise of trucks passing through would hurt tourism.
The cookout was held by Brent's uncle and aunt, who are heavily involved in politics. They had a special guest today (not me), one of Colorado's United States Senators, Michael Bennet. He gave an articulate and passionate talk about the problems currently facing Congress, many of which he claims are due to the intransigence of certain less sane members of that august body. He mentioned someone from my home state by name. Shout out for South Carolina! Bennet then fielded questions and concerns from the audience in a civil manner unbecoming of an American politician.
Brent took the rest of the holiday to show me around a variety of establishments in Crested Butte. I believe the lower sorts refer to such pilgrimages as "pub crawls." I did not participate in such infantile forms of locomotion, although there may have been a few unconfirmed stumbles after sundown.
0 miles/whatever i had before total miles