Monthly Archives: March 2008

Colour radio in Colorado

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U.S.A 12: Colorado

I crossed into Colorado but stayed in the Sangre de Cristo mountains, enjoying the sunshine that fell abundantly down on my greenygrey coat.

Climbing higher and higher I made my way along the eastern ridges of the Rocky Mountains and up to Mount Elbert, the highest point in the Rockies. I was so enraptured with the view that I wrote a poem about my ascent over lunch. It is included at the bottom of this post.

After lunch I made my way to the Colorado River, and followed it towards Denver. I popped into Denver for a bit of window shopping, and saw a lovely radio; maybe it was its greenygrey colour, but I just took an instant liking to it.

I left there in the late afternoon and made the short journey to Greeley, which I think is a very nice name, being quite close to Greeny. Needless to say, I didn’t want to leave there quickly, and ended up staying there the night: Greeny in Greeley, ha!

Mountain Mirror: Ascent and Descent

Terra firma, gazing to the skies.
Before us,
a mountain of majesty, standing so proud.
Ascending, the narrow path leaves little room.
Onwards and upwards, we see the valley disappear below,
lime and tan replaced by ebony and ivory.
Through clouds, ice and snow we climb.
As it steepens, sheer cliffs we navigate;
the peak is within a stone’s throw.

On the summit; freezing but ecstatic, on top of the world.

We leave the peak with reluctant hearts;
with careful steps, sheer cliffs we navigate.
Through clouds, ice and snow we climb;
ebony and ivory replaced by lime and tan.
Onwards and downwards, we see the summit disappear above,
Descending, the narrow path leaves little room.
Behind us,
a mountain of majesty, standing so proud.
Terra firma, gazing to the skies.

New mixing in New Mexico

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U.S.A 11: New Mexico

I stored up on water before crossing into New Mexico, as it is a notoriously dry state.

In the morning I made good progress across ochre deserts, heading east below the Zuni mountains. There was a fierce sun high in the cloudless sky, so the water I’d stored came in handy and I paced my intake to last until late morning; I mixed it up with some cactus juice, a mix I hadn’t tried before.

An hour later I reached the Rio Grande, and ate lunch by the riverside. After a post-lunch sunbathe and swim I left just before some cattle ranchers arrived on a drive; I’d seen a cloud of dust in the distance, and guessed what was causing it.

I reached the Sangre de Cristo Mountains by late afternoon, and enjoyed running along the snowy peaks after spending the morning in high temperatures. I was well cooled-off, and felt a lot better for it.

I reached the Navajo Reservoir by nightfall and spent a relaxing night there.

Colorado was just over the border; the only Four Corner state I had yet to visit.

I hoped to put that right the next day.

Arise in Arizona

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U.S.A 10: Arizona

When I woke up I found I was in Arizona, and must have sleepwalked during the night; either that or somebody moved me! I wasn’t complaining, as I was overlooking a lake, and there was a beautiful sunrise.

After swimming across the lake I ran through the pine forests of the Colorado Plateau during the morning, until reaching the edge of the Grand Canyon.


I lunched overlooking the canyon, and then made my way down into the gorge. I swam down the Colorado River and enjoyed the rapids swirling around my body like some kind of natural jacuzzi, but wouldn’t recommend it to mortals, as it can be a little dangerous. My greenygrey fur protected me, but I would have picked up a few scratches otherwise.

Refreshed and invigorated I made my way across the desert in the afternoon, drinking cactus water along the way to keep me going, until I reached the border with New Mexico by nightfall.

I slept under a clear night sky, and didn’t have any trouble nodding off, despite a few worries about where I’d wake up!

Images copied from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arizona

Oh, ta in Utah

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USA 9: Utah

Crossing into Utah through the Dinosaur Quarry I was worried a tyrannosaurus rex or raptor might come back to life feeling very hungry after millions of years without food, and take a liking to my greenygrey coat and think I was some kind breakfast in bed treat.

So I was mightily relieved to exit the area, and after getting my breath back enjoyed the rest of the morning’s trek to Layton, on the Great Salt Lake. After the morning’s excursion I enjoyed relaxing in the warm buoyant waters, and made the most of not having to swim to stay afloat.

I fell asleep actually, and spent much longer in the lake than originally intended. So after swimming over to the other side I bucked my ideas up and ran like the wind through the Great Salt Desert, the Sevier Desert, the Colorado River, and the Henry Mountains to Monument Valley; I didn’t spend much time in my default greenygrey colours, as the environment around me was mostly either salty white or sandy yellow.

I climbed into the monumental rocks during the evening, and pretended to be some of my favourite characters from the Westerns I have stored in my mind. After that I made my way over to Navajo Mountain and camped on it for the night; Arizona was within view, and it looked as beautiful as Utah.

Why roaming in Wyoming?

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USA 8: Wyoming

Crossing into Wyoming I made good speed as I travelled along the plateau, and then climbed up the Owl Creek mountains to eat lunch under a big blue sky, with the sun’s heat cancelling out any discomfort from the strong breeze.

After lunch I headed over to the Black Hills, before heading south over the Big Horn Mountains. It was quite cold in the Snowy mountains, but it warmed up again in the Sierra Madre.

The wide open spaces in the big sky country meant I made good speed through Wyoming, and the only distraction was the beautiful nature I passed; although I did have to go out of my way to avoid ranches a couple of times.

The dry weather meant I got thirsty quite often, but I drank from the rivers I passed: the Yellowstone, Powder, Green and Snake.

I particularly enjoyed the Green water, and thought it gave my coat a bit of a colour boost on the green front. Didn’t enjoy the Snake water too much I’m afraid, and would recommend you avoid it if at all possible.

I made it to the border with Colorado by nightfall, and slept under an amazing night sky; there were stars and comets everywhere, and it took me a while to get to sleep, as I was enjoying the natural light show above so much.

Money in Montana

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US 7: Montana

Crossing the border from Idaho to Montana I had breakfast on the edge of Eureka; I don’t know if it was my close proximity to such a town, but some good ideas came to mind…I didn’t find anything valuable however. I suppose that’s par for the course though: all ideas and no dosh!

Then I headed over to East Glacier Park, before making my way to the Hungry Horse Reservoir. I swam across the Hungry Horse, ran to Flathead Lake and swam across that too.

I had lunch in Three Forks; without using any cutlery I may add, and then headed through the Crazy Mountains to Yellowstone. It was good to see my gray cousins back where they belong, and they presented me with a big yellow stone as a token of friendship.

So I did receive something valuable in Montana after all; what was that phrase, good things come to those who wait?

After leaving Yellowstone I headed to the Bighorn Mountains, and camped overnight on the border with Wyoming.

I had really enjoyed Montana, and it was easy to see why its nicknames include the “Land of Shining Mountains” and the “Big Sky Country”.

I don’t know in Idaho

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US 6: Idaho

Upon entering Idaho I climbed up the Idaho Falls and swam down the Twin Falls, before heading up the Salmon River to Moscow.

I was then going to climb up Borah Peak, but got lost on some river in the Lost River Range, so I just had a long lunch and a bit of a siesta.

After lunch I bypassed Hells Canyon, as I didn’t like the sound of it, and then climbed up the Shoshone Falls. It was so high I couldn’t resist jumping back down it, and then had to climb up again!!

Then I travelled north through the Rockies during the afternoon, until I reached the border with Montana by nightfall. I slept under a full moon, and could hear the howling of my gray cousins in the distance.

It was music to my ears, and I fell asleep contentedly.


Nirvana in Nevada

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US 5: Nevada

Crossing the border into Nevada I was sorry to leave California, but happy to be entering the silver state. Although I was in a different state I was still in the Mojave Desert, and made good time in the morning along the flat and open land.

I headed to the Spring Mountains, and climbed up Mount Charleston to see the sky islands that matched their name in beauty.

I could see the wonderful buildings of Las Vegas below, but didn’t have time to drop in.

Entering the north of the state I travelled through the Great Basin Desert, and after crossing the Humboldt River I climbed up Wheeler Peak to watch the sunset.

Nevada had not disappointed, and as I could see Idaho from where I camped, I doubted if it would either.

Cali, Cali, Cali, Cali, California (to the Hare Krishna mantra tune)

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US 4: California

I’d loved my journey through Canada, Alaska, Washington and Oregon but when I crossed into the northwestern forests of California it felt really special. You know, entering a state where some of my heroes like White Fang, Lassie and Wile E. Coyote (see images, copied from http://www.powerlineblog.com and http://www.allposters.com) live or lived makes it almost like a spiritual home in some ways.

This seemed to give my running an extra boost as I crossed from the Cascades to the Sierra Nevada mountains, and I made it to Lake Tahoe by late morning. I basked in the sun by the lakeside for a couple of hours, and put my feet up. I thought it was a well deserved break from my epic journey, and enjoyed the tranquil setting and idyllic scenery.

As AM turned into PM I decided to get a move on, and soon got into my stride. I passed through Hetch Hetchy Valley, Kings Canyon, Tehipite Valley and Kern Canyon as I ran down the western side of the mountains. Yosemite National Park was particularly awesome, with beautiful waterfalls all around; although I didn’t see anything of Yogi and the gang; probably just as well, as bears can be troublesome, although Yogi seems okay on film.

The Sequoia trees were marvellous to run through, and they really made you feel insignificant; and it takes something amazing to make me feel insignificant I can tell you, being a mythical legendary being.

Then I made my way down to the Mojave Desert and Death Valley, which are beautiful in another way; it was amazing to pass from cool green lush forested mountains down to the desolate hot red rock expanse in a couple of hours, and it made the day all the more special.

The heat didn’t slow my progress at all, and I made it to the south-eastern border by nightfall. It got real cold overnight, but I was warmed by memories of the day; sights, smells and sounds that will stay with me forever. I slept soundly.