It’s the final Monday of January – and we’re getting some seriously un-January-esque (that’s definitely not a phrase, sorry!) weather here in the Denver area. Yesterday, temperatures climbed as high as sixty degrees, and Kevin and I took advantage of the warm spell to explore a park that has long been on my radar: Eldorado State Park, located just outside Boulder.
As I’m sure you can see from this week’s featured photograph, the park is gorgeous and offers stunning views of the Rocky Mountains. Despite the toasty temperature back in Denver, Kevin and I bundled up once we got to the mountains: on the fifty minute drive from Denver to Eldorado State Park, the temperature dropped a stunning twenty-eight degrees.
When traveling in the Rockies, always dress in layers. Denver and its surrounding suburbs tend to be a good deal warmer than the mountains year-round.
Even though the trail we chose – Rattlesnake Gulch trail – had a fair number of snowy and icy patches, we enjoyed our mid-winter hike under sunny blue skies. Have I mentioned before that Denver is the sunniest city in the United States? Yes, I do believe it’s come up once or twice.
Kevin and I are enjoying the Denver area during the off-season; Eldorado State Park is often insufferably crowded during the summer, especially on weekends, but we felt as though we had the trail to ourselves yesterday! And the icy patches along the trail? Those simply enhanced the workout.
On a more sober note: Today, as both a traveler and as a human, I feel the responsibility to speak out against Donald Trump’s border wall proposal and his “Muslim Ban,” the executive order that indefinitely places a hold on refugees seeking asylum from Syria and bans individuals from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the US.
Ten months ago, I visited Berlin, Germany and saw firsthand the damage a physical barrier can do to a city and to a people. Those who build walls are never remembered by history as the heroes.
Travelers reap countless rewards from their endeavor: an appreciate for cultures different from our own, the opportunity to appreciate a host of art and other cultural artifacts in person, and the ability to soak in natural wonders around the world. But empathy is, in my opinion, the greatest benefit of travel and my main motivating factor behind running this website day in and day out for no pay.
Once you start venturing outside your little corner of the world, you start to understand we’re all more similar than politicians, partisan media, religion, and corporations would like us to believe. Humanity binds you, an American, to a Muslim Kurd and a drunk pub patron in Glasgow and a shopkeeper in central Mexico. Scare tactics like those employed by the Trump administration don’t work when you’re not afraid of those who look or behave differently than you do.
Travel is an inherently political act – especially as a woman – making the trend of travel blogs to make an “apolitical” claim a little ridiculous. As a traveler, I discourage insularity and borders. My passion for travel is, at its core, political. It would be hypocritical for me to claim otherwise.
For more on why Trump’s “Muslim Ban” is not just unethical but an overreaction to statistically nonexistent threat, please check out this article, which I wrote and published today on a separate site. Thank you for indulging this aside; silence on matters such as these can be catastrophic and I believe its important for us, as Americans, to have difficult and honest discussions about these topics.