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Old 07-19-2012, 11:58 PM
2,253 posts, read 5,529,058 times
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As your interest is in the WEST, you'll want to move beyond your given criteria.

Much of Wyoming would be a fine place. One destination could be the the superb Buffalo Bill Historical Center in Cody, WY. That would be a fine place to soak up and learn some real Western history; if the least interest, definitely recommended. From there, it is but a short jaunt west into Yellowstone National Park, and it is doesn't get more Western or iconic than that. Even if, uh, rather crowded with tourists this time of year. Still, great.

However, this being the Colorado forum, I'll stick with this fine state. All the towns you mentioned would be of interest, each somewhat different, with Boulder not at all the least of them.

But what you may imagine of the West, remaining best in Colorado in that found beyond the confines of any city. Head west young man, and do some driving. You'll encounter all sorts of superlative country, and surely in the process engender some ideas for yourself. One such possibility would be US 50 from Salida west on to Montrose; you'll see farming and ranching country in Colorado much as it once was. Some great scenery as well. Resort areas in Colorado such as Aspen or Vail are fantastic places, but if looking for authentic you may wish to move beyond them.

In mountains you have any number of great choices. The very scenic drive on Trail Ridge Road, across Rocky Mountain National Park and the highest continuos road in the United States, is one of a kind. Expect more than a few tourists this time of year, and even just in the approach, with Estes Park a total zoo. If also one of the most lovely places in Colorado. Another less traveled mountain route is Independence Pass, between Twin Lakes and Aspen, being one of the superlative mountain drives in this state or elsewhere. In this you are perhaps coming somewhat closer.

Trinidad in far south central Colorado will give you a sense of the Victorian architecture and life in the early years of this state. As would Central City in Gilpin County; founded in 1859 on mining before this was an established state, it mines tourists today through gambling.

Colorado was the home of the Ute, Cheyenne and Arapahoe before the advent of the European. The progress of the United States west and the discovery of gold changed all that. You can certainly find working cowboys and such remnants of this today, but it all evolved from mining. Before that mountain men roamed freely throughout the West, often taking Indian wives. During that time and before, Spaniards reached from (what is now) New Mexico into the far southern reaches of present day Colorado. But that existing today evolved principally from mining.

Such an interest could take you to the San Juan Mountains and such iconic old mining towns as Silverton. Today it is overrun during the day in the summer with tourists briefly visiting from the old narrow gauge steam trains running from Durango. In the day, these trains carried primarily ore from the many mines near Silverton, not as much by way of passengers. But if remaining there for a few days and exploring the area, up to Animas Forks and elsewhere, you'll begin to appreciate what the real West was like. Much of Silverton itself is little changed, and easy at a certain quiet time of day or angle of light to sense what it was and to an extent still remains.

As all will, progress and time have moved on in this state and throughout the West. Yet the sympathies and outlook of the cowboy, gunfighter and madam to an extent still exist in some. You may find them when least expected, although more usually in the places time has somewhat forgot, and in areas where the natural wild land still remains an inspiration.

Last edited by Idunn; 07-20-2012 at 12:41 AM..
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