Initially something that caught me off guard in Denver is the protocol for crosswalks. In Edmonton, we wait until the walking symbol tells us to walk. In Denver that’s more for the vehicles than the pedestrians; if there’s a gap in traffic, that’s a go ahead to cross the street. It seems like a much more efficient system for the pedestrian, but has probably caused a few heart attacks in speeding drivers throughout the years.
Outside of Denver’s 16th Street Mall lies a promenade for pedestrian traffic and buses only. This was definitely one of my favourite spots from my visit, the walkway is constantly filled with characters. Some were fun and engaging, like “Bronco Man,” while others either pulled at your heartstrings or made you fear your safety (often asking for money). However, it’s lovely to see a city with such life, such passion. It just appeared to me that the citizens of Denver were more or less okay with just being themselves.
I was also fortunate enough to take in the Colorado Avalanche vs. Montreal Canadiens game. Pepsi Centre (Avalanche’s home stadium) sits in between Coors Field (MLB) and Sports Authority Field (NFL) in a span of just a few miles. The surrounding area is one of the liveliest places in the city, flaunting tourist attraction Union Station as well as several boutiques, diners, and bars. I was sure to take advantage of several Happy Hour specials before the game, which helped make it quite the evening.
This was my first time ever watching an NHL game outside of Rexall Place, and now the concept of a new arena has never seemed to make so much sense. I was always for the new arena, but seeing Pepsi Centre reinforced that idea. Beautiful architecture, several restaurants and stores, and a friendly staff were only part of the experience. During the pre-game ceremony, the atmosphere in the building was electric, which continued through the entire game. I, myself, even became a fan for the night.
One of the coolest pieces of natural beauty I’ve ever seen was experienced in Colorado. “Garden of the Gods” is a spectacle of wonder. Developed on a fault line over millions of years, these red rocks stick out from the ground as if they fell from the skies above. The site is home to several visitors, both frequent and infrequent. As we walked around, there were people rock-climbing, jogging, walking, and even taking professional photographs. Truthfully I’m a huge sucker for history and natural wonders, so having the two combined had me in awe the entire time.
“Garden of the Gods” is believed to have attracted humans dating all the way back to approximately 1330 B.C. Around 250 B.C. it was believed that the indigenous population had begun to use this area as their habitat, using the overhanging rocks and caves as shelters. The land was actually purchased at one point by Charles Elliott Perkins, and was donated to the city of Colorado Springs upon his death to be utilized as a free public park.
Colorado is an incredibly beautiful state with plenty to offer. I barely scratched the surface, but I’m intrigued enough to want to return for another visit. If you are looking for an affordable place to travel (round trip $440) with a vibrant and exciting community, Denver just might be for you.
It’s nice to be able to leave our world behind once in a while and hit the metaphorical reset button. Travelling is indeed a luxury, but even being able to have a few days to yourself away from troubles and responsibilities is an easy way to provide the self-care necessary to keep fighting the good fight.