SoSoCo! (So Southern Colorado!) (Don Ward)

By: Don Ward
By: Don Ward

When friends visit, we all get to be tourists!


I love living in an incredible part of an incredible state,  I really love showing it off to others when they come to visit!

How's this for a vacation picture?

That's me in the front, left side.  Behind me is my sister Cindy and behind her my niece Julie.  On the other side of the raft, are our longtime friends Peter and Sandra Wilkins.  They're visiting from England.  You can't do this on the River Thames!  This is actually the Arkansas River, near Canon City.  Whitewater rafting on the Arkansas is So Southern Colorado!  By spending time with visitors I get to remind myself about all the wonderful things we're so lucky to have in our own back yard.

Long story short, my family has known Peter and Sandra since I was a child, when we lived in England in the 1970's.   They were friends of my parents first, but over the years they've become good friends mine.  They often host some of us when we visit England, and they've been here with their own children several times.  The last time was 15 years ago!..and their kids are now adults. For this visit the Wilkins wanted to do some of the things they had done in the past...and some new ones.  I got to do all of them!  Here they are at Garden of the Gods.  I've been there many times but it's always fun to see it with others who don't go all the time.


We also spent some time at Royal Gorge.  I had forgotten just how spectacular a spot that is!  The world's highest suspension bridge, more than a thousand feet above the river below, was built in 1929 as a tourist still serves that same purpose very well!  Spending part of a day at Royal Gorge is SoSoCo!



One of my favorite places is now one of their favorite places. Peter and Sandra walk and hike all the time around the Midlands of England, up and down all the hills near their Warwickshire village.  They're nearly 20 years older than me, but they're in good shape..  They also live at sea-level, so a hike up to 8100 feet at Waldo Canyon was going to be a challenge!

We took it slow and they finished the entire loop...7 miles, including an elevation gain of about 2500 feet!  Cindy and Julie came with us for the first part of the hike. Below,left, here we are with Julie.


Waldo is not a place too many tourists would necessarily know about...and I like taking visitors to a few spots like that.  Peter and Sandra are able to take me to some lesser-known attractions when I cross the pond to the UK.  Waldo is great, the views are stunning, the hike is challenging..and that makes it Oh So So Co!

Now to a spot everyone should see..America's Mountain, the 2nd most visited mountain in the world (Mt. Fuji, Japan, is apparently number one)  Ever taken the train to the top of Pikes Peak?  Here's Sandra with my niece Kate on the way up.

The fact that you can so quickly and easily get to the top of a 14-thousand foot mountain right from Manitou Springs is amazing!  Sometimes we forget that because we live here.  This is me with Kate and my nephews Ryan and Evan.  It's a treat to be at the top any time..even if you've been there many times before.

 The views are amazing!  Peter and Sandra loved it as much this time as they did decades ago.

In between all these tourist trips we had big meals with family and friends at various houses....about 20 at mine on Friday! 

My point is this....It's always great to see old friends, and it's always great when they want to enjoy the beauty of the place we all live.  My advice is to go with them when they take in the sights.  It's a reminder of just how lucky we are to live in such a beautiful part of the world.....and keeping that in mind is certainly SoSoCo!

As for Peter and Sandra...I'll see them again in the THEIR beautiful part of the world.

We'll talk again soon.

Don Ward




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