Tabatha Deans

Bringing Integrity to the Written Word

A WEEKEND DOWNTOWN
My friend Leanne came to town for a sales meeting, so I took the weekend to explore Denver and my surroundings with her. I was a little nervous about driving around my new environment, but am proud to say that I did a fine job shuttling us through city streets and many highways. I did a lot of U-turns and we relied heavily on Google directions, but we finished our tour unscathed.
After checking into our hotel we quickly devised a plan. There was a large neon sign across the street that was unmistakeably a bar, so we drove up the street for dinner, and planned to return to the hotel afterward and walk across the street for a couple of cocktails and a taste of the local social scene. Dinner was good, and when we returned to the hotel we redeemed our free drink voucher in the hotel bar, before heading across the street to Shotgun Willies. The parking lot was packed with cars and trucks; surely this would be a great place to mingle. As we approached the door we looked up at the neon sign and realized we had missed a a few key words—like, show club, and amateur strip night. We were accidentally walking into a strip club. And they wanted to charge us $10 to get in for a drink. We made polite chit chat with the bouncer outside, and headed back to the hotel bar, where Toni, our distinguished bartender, had a good chuckle and recommended a small place called Fero’s, one block down the street.
Fero’s was much more our style, a hole-in-the wall little place, with a feisty little oriental barmaid named Yong serving up drinks behind the counter. We spent the evening playing pool, catching up and having a couple of drinks. After a couple of young questionable men overstayed their welcome and tried to monopolize our time, Yong quickly shooed them out of the bar, not flinching when they talked back to her. She insisted they leave and stop bothering us, and although she was just a tiny thing, by the time she was finished with them I was afraid of her. She bought us both a drink and gave me her thoughts on potential safe places to begin apartment searching.
We awoke early for a day of hiking at the Garden of the Gods, which is in Colorado Springs, about an hour away from Denver. We also found several other attractions near there, so we decided to do them all in one day. The Garden of the Gods is a series of beautiful rock formations that jut up harshly from the ground, bald and multi-colored, they’re strangely out of place in the surrounding environment of mountainous hills and trees. Rock climbers dangled from the cliffs above, families wandered and a group of women hugged the rocks and trees in some kind of healing ritual. We toured the park and bought souvenir T-shirts, and took pictures of us holding up the gravity-defying Balancing Rock.
Next stop—Cave of the Winds. After a steep drive up a narrow, winding road, we reached the top and quickly understood the winds part of it. It was bitter cold and the wind stung our faces as we walked to the cave entrance. After finding out the entrance fee was nearly $20 each, and there was really nothing special about the caves, we declined the tour and bought souvenir T-shirts. We stopped in a small diner whose sign boasted “The best food in town,” and enjoyed a turkey, bacon and swiss sandwich before our next, and most physically challenging tour—Seven Falls.
The stairs leading to the falls run straight up the face of the rock cliffs, and by the first platform our thighs were burning, our knees were shaking, and we weren’t altogether sure we weren’t having a collective heart attack as we stood, along with several other climbers, on the platform and caught our breath. The falls were beautiful, frozen in a bluish-white cascade, with trickles of water running beneath them down the rocks. We made it to the top and felt victorious, then began the descent. My legs felt like rubber bands as I grasped the hand rails tightly, picturing in my mind what it must be like to miss a step and fall all the way down the mountain. Finally we reached the bottom, and headed to the second set of stairs that led to another lookout point. We scaled the second cliff faster, there weren’t quite as many steps and they weren’t quite as steep, and when we reached the top we were greeted, cajoled and teased by a delightful employee, who informed us we could take the mountain elevator back down if we wanted. That seemed like it would be like cheating, so, on wobbly legs, we descended the final stairs, grabbed a cup of coffee, and with our knees knocking, headed toward home.
The drive home was beautiful, but having hiked so hard then sat for more than an hour, when I got out of the car at the hotel, my muscles had stiffened, causing a rather unlady-like exit and walk through the parking garage, as slowly stretched and limped, until my muscles finally gave in and allowed me to stand upright again. After a quick shower, we returned to Fero’s, where Yong cooked us a bowl of rice and chicken, which we devoured like starving animals, before returning to our hotel and calling it an early night.

March 8, 2011 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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