Wednesday, August 6, 2014

5 Things I love About Colorado

Schenectady's Stockade Area

I was born and raised in upstate New York. Schenectady is home to General Electric, Union College and the Stockade Area along the Mohawk River, which is the original settlement for Schenectady and where my husband grew up. Throughout my childhood, I always had a love for horses and John Wayne’s cowboy movies. The Hollywood icon introduced me to ranches, cattle drives, saloons, women in long dresses and everything else connected to the ‘old west’. It was my dream to live on a ranch and have a barn filled with horses. Alas, I married my husband right out of high school and accompanied him on his twenty year career with the Air Force. He’s now retired from service, and while we don’t own horses and a ranch, we do live in the west.

Cheyenne Mountain
One of the hubby’s duty assignments was to Cheyenne Mountain in Colorado Springs. Before he had received his orders, I had been working on my Weston Family Series, which takes place in fictional Coyote, Colorado, and I couldn’t wait to see if my imagination surrounding Colorado was true. It was, for which I am thankful. More importantly, the five years we were here, we fell in love with the area. When it came time to decide on a location for retirement, we chose Colorado Springs. New York was a close second. Our families are back in Schenectady, but having a young son, Colorado was a better choice when it came to schools, employment, staying close to a military installation and overall environment. We’ve lived here for 11 years and below are a few of things I love about Colorado.

Pikes Peak
The Rocky Mountains.  My first time driving to Colorado Springs was September 1993. I still remember seeing Pikes Peak from sixty miles out. Anxious, excited; the peak looked so close I couldn’t believe I had another hour to drive before reaching it. Today, I have a clear view of Pike’s Peak from my front porch. It’s really something to watch a storm push off the peak and move across town to my neck of the woods.

The Antelope.   It might be silly, but I do enjoy seeing the herds of antelope. About a mile from me is somewhat open land and the antelope graze with the cows. It’s always a treat to see the male guarding his herd, or to see twenty of them running. They are pretty, and if I could, I’d have one for a pet.

Yucca and Sage plants. I’m not one to toil in a garden, but I do like Yucca and Sage and they grow everywhere out here, including in my yard. Just over the Continental Divide Sage is in abundance. The plant sprouts like weeds, and when they flower in the fall,  they are pretty. So is the Yucca when it flowers in early summer.

The Climate. Spring is anywhere from 70 degrees and sunny to snow, rain and wind, and sometimes all on the same day. Summers can be hot and humid (though not as humid as New York) and winters, for the most part, are mild. The mountains block many a snow storm from pummeling Colorado Springs, and 30 degrees, with the sun shinning in a cloudless sky makes for a beautiful day. We do get a few cold snaps during winter, with temps falling below 0, but we’re quick to rebound.

Buena Vista, Colorado
The history. During my school years, American history was the only genre I enjoyed in History class, specifically, America history relating to the 1800’s. I liked learning about the people who forged their way west and the inventions made to make life easier. Today, I enjoy traveling the state and learning of Colorado’s history. From the mines in Cripple Creek to battles with the Native Americans to Buena Vista, formerly known as Mahonville and the setting for my current work in progress, I’m eager to see, explore and discover something new to add to my knowledge and my work.       


Caroline Clemmons said...

Julie, I had no idea Colorado Springs had such a great climate. I do love Colorado, but haven't been there in winter. I remember visiting Purgatory on July 4th and it was 32 degrees. Nice for summer, but I wouldn't want to winter there. Thanks for sharing.

Tanya Hanson said...

What a great post. Hubs and I took a major driving trip through Colorado last fall and I can't imagine any place more beautiful. We hit the aspen turning and even got snow! Wow.

Unknown said...

Have a friend who lives in Colorado Springs and he says he winters are a little tough, but he and his family love living there. I drove through he state with hubby when he was trucking, and it is indeed one of he most beautiful states...especially the highway through the mountains that host the ski resorts. It wasn't winter yet, but so serene and gorgeous.