Us Americans are often criticised for having a rather shallow historical heritage.
Its true, I suppose, that our well documented history doesn’t serve stand up to much close scrutiny.
Compared to other civilisations, at least, our past appears to be all too recent and worryingly barbaric. Still, one of the benefits of having such recent historical heritage is that the tracks left by our ancestors remain visible today. Everything from court houses and public buildings in our major cities, to abandoned tracks and forgotten homes in our great back lands are still lying dormant, ripe for exploration.
I chose Colorado Springs as the first destination in my journey for a couple of reasons. This American vacation city was founded by General William Palmer, one of the great heroes of the Civil War and a true American pioneer, who is credited with bringing the railroad industry onto US soil, giving our industry a much needed boost. Colorado Springs, although not as popular as it once was in its 19th century hey-day, has a sizeable population, the largest of its kind in Colorado.
Yet, despite expanding massively since its founding over 150 years ago, I’d heard that with its grand mountainous backdrop and green areas, this was a city that still embodied the colonial spirit that it was founded upon.
I flew in to Colorado Springs on the Friday evening after work, the four and a half hour flight ($150) went quickly thanks to a charming lady who I’d met and got chatting to. Marjorie had been a Colorado Springs resident nearly all her life, she was just returning from a holiday to Memphis. She had made her pilgrimage to my own home city to pay her respects to the King, but was more eager to give me tips about what to see in Colorado Springs than tell me about her time there.
I bid my farewells to Marjorie as we stepped off the plane. I was travelling light with just my rucksack so was able to quickly move out into the clear night air. It wasn’t as bitingly cold as I expected it to be, but there was a smell in the air that I had expected to come across.
Recreational use of marijuana was legalised in Colorado in 2012, allowing any adult aged 21 or over to grow up to six marijuana plants and give a gift of up to an ounce of marijuana to another adult.
With this fragrant greeting from Colorado Springs still lingering in my nose, I hopped in a taxi to my first night’s stay at the Boulder Crescent Hostel. I had initially booked in with this place because of the homely charm that the pictures had depicted. I’d been burned before by such well put together advertisements, but the allure of staying in a seemingly idyllic 19th Century home was simply too great to pass up on. From the outside the home sure delivered on its promise, but inside things were a little different…