As I write this, I am still in Colorado and will be through this Thursday. It is my birthday week, and I am living it up here, with my son and his wife, in Colorado Springs, right next door to the Garden of the Gods (you can see it right from their windows).
We started out with a full day at the Royal Gorge, at which I received a military discount (I always appreciate that), and after taking all the appropriate pictures in front of the appropriate signs (such as those that read, “Flying Lessons here” or “Watch your step – 976 feet down”), we walked across the bridge bearing the names of all the 50
states. It was more than a bit breezy and I almost lost my hat and no one would be able to retrieve it for me!. You could feel the bridge swaying in the wind as well.
There were two markers on the bridge: one for honoring a person who did a free rappelling off the bridge, down the craggy rocks of the gorge, and another, a bit further along on the bridge, for honoring a person who did a bungee jump off the bridge. Interesting accomplishments, true, but who would’ve been competing for those honors?
Once on the other side of the bridge, it was not only more gorgeous scenery all around, but things to do—for the adventurous. We had the zip line, the helicopter tour, the Royal Gorge Railroad, and the gondolas that traverse 2,400 feet across the gorge.
One could spend the whole day there, but you wouldn’t want to run out of steam. There’s a lot of walking and energy-taking activities. It’s an aspect of Colorado that really lets you get up close and personal into its beautiful and dangerous rock formations.
As we were ready to leave, we stopped in to see the documentary film about the Royal Gorge and all it went through over the years, including the big fire. It was a good bit of education and a fitting rest period after a full day of walking and active fun.
Then there is the North Pole. A self-contained little Santa-style village created to entertain children of all ages, and I’m one of those! The village has what you might expect: candy shops, workshops, toy shops, a giant polar bear to accommodate children or grown-ups sitting on his knee for photo-ops, to say nothing of Santa’s own take-a-photo-of-your-child-on-
After visiting all the shops, we decided to check out all the rides, and there were many. The lines were not too long to wait for our turn to get on, so we were able to take advantage of every ride we desired.
There was one that might have been called the peppermint stick; it was a giant red and white tower of sorts, inside of which was a spiral staircase all the way up to the top. Once there, the way down and out was to place a burlap bag (that you had to bring up with you) on an outside slide that went round and round the peppermint-striped-looking
structure. It was wheee wheee wheee all the way down and around!
We ended our day there at the magic show. It was just the right mix of light comedy and child-pleasing magic tricks, all wrapped up in a delightful wizard’s robe and pointed, fur-trimmed hat that matched. It was the kind of cute little presentation that might make little children want to grow up to be wizards or magicians, ending with Thurston, the magic bunny, who I met after the show in person. And yes, he was very real and let me pet him. I have pictures to prove it!
And, of course, even though I’m on vacation, work still calls, so I’m working in this column in between all the fun I’m having. Right now, today, it is my birthday, and I’m off to see a movie with my son and his wife, then home to dress for dinner, and off to an elegant—and very old—restaurant for dinner tonight. I might have to come back to the paper after we get home, but working late is nothing new to me.
So far this has been back-to-back fun, and not a drop of news. Really. I have no idea what’s going on in the world. I couldn’t even comment on the state of the impeachment or anything, so when I get back I’ll have a ton of ketchup to get through!
I hear them calling me. Time to depart for the movie I was promised. Got to run! Happy Birthday to me!
Maramis Choufani is the Managing Editor of the Las Vegas Tribune. She writes a weekly column in this newspaper. To contact Maramis, email her at email@example.com.