I really don't get excited about the coming and going of school years. In fact, the end of a spring semester always makes me a bit sad. Teachers and students are working at their peak (or their limit), showing off all that they've learned and accomplished and then it just stops and suddenly it's summer. My transition into summer will be smooth, as I'm still working for my advisor and I'll be taking at least one class in July. But I suppose getting this far is an accomplishment in itself. I don't know how much longer it will take for me to finish my doctoral program, but I know I'm now one year closer.
Now that we first-year students have some breathing room, my friend Jackie and I headed out yesterday for a photography excursion. Our destination was Red Rocks Park and Amphitheater, located west of Denver near Morrison at the edge of the Rocky Mountain foothills. Red Rocks is, by almost all accounts, the best natural amphitheater in the country, if not one of the best in the world.
We left Red Rocks and headed uphill to Evergreen. Even though I've driven up I-70 countless times and up Highway 285 many times more, I'd never been to Evergreen. We stopped for lunch at the Lakeside Cafe and made a fortunate wrong turn out of the parking lot that led us to some nice creekside scenery and some pretty spectacular homes. One would best be described as a castle, and I'm pretty sure it's the first thing Jackie is going to buy when she digs the loose change out from between her couch cushions.
We backtracked and got back on the "Lariat Loop," headed towards I-70 and east towards Denver. We decided to checkout Lookout Mountain, final resting spot of William "Buffalo Bill" Cody. If you're there to see the grave, by all means, go see it first and then take in the other attractions like the museum and gift shop. Jackie and I went to the gift shop first. Jackie described it as "ghetto" and it did seem to be filled with about every piece of plastic crap that could be hawked as a souvenir.
I have no doubts William Cody was a charismatic and loved figure in American history, but both Jackie and I were uncomfortable with the museum's portrayal of Buffalo Bill as a lover and protector of both Native Americans and American Bison. Cody might have spoken out against needless buffalo slaughter in the days after he was a hired buffalo hunter, and he might have included Native Americans in his Wild West show and seen them as friends, but Jackie and I just couldn't reconcile that with the fact that it was the killing of both buffalo and Indians that earned Buffalo Bill his fame.
We ended the day driving into the foothills west of Boulder, up into a burn area and to Gross Reservoir, part of the Denver water system. On the way back we took a few last pictures of Boulder at sundown before going home and calling it a day.