LIfe at High Altitude in Colorado

May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view. May your mountains rise into and above the clouds.

-Edward Abbey, naturalist and author (1927-1989)

Friday, November 2, 2012

A Walk on the Wild Side

In the mountains, I live at the edge of wilderness.

Quite often, I'm alone on the trails, observing and enjoying.

By November, ice is opaque and milky on the beaver ponds.
The wind flings veils of snow off the high peaks.
I walk watchfully in case I meet a moose or bear or coyote also out for a stroll. 

In the city, I join the hustle and bustle.

Though I'm often in my own company, I'm rarely alone.
This morning, I left the house early to walk the mile to Rose Hospital. I had an appointment for a routine screening. On the way there, I pass a research lab in a row of abandoned medical facilities. Today, the place was surrounded by police cars, with uniformed officers stationed at each entrance, hands on their holsters. I passed by on the sidewalk as even more police cars converged on the scene. An hour later on my way home, the place was ringed by police and there was also an ambulance.  Nearing the front of the building, I saw that they had a handcuffed older man in custody, his jeans pulled down around his knees as they searched him. He had a grizzled day's growth of stubble but otherwise looked like any average person you might meet anywhere. I noticed he was wearing the same underpants my husband has. 

It's funny what sticks in your mind. 

Just as I  passed the shakedown scene, the Swat team emerged from the building with their clubs and rifles still at the ready. Some led search dogs that were all business, not a wagging tail among them. At the end of the building, one lone cop, frizzy-haired and overweight with a bored expression on her face continued to stand sentry. 

All in a day's work I thought - but kept my mouth shut. 

You might wonder why I didn't cross the street, stay out of harm's way, avert my eyes at least. 
Well, why indeed? 
It all happened so fast, I became part of the action. There were no barricades, so I just kept walking and observing - both of which I do well. I was the white-haired lady dressed in black whom everyone just ignored as they concentrated on the task at hand.

You never know what you'll see if you just keep looking.
I guess I'm in wilderness, whether I'm in the mountains or in the city.

I used the CAMERA! app on these iPhone photos. 
"I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I intended to be."
--Douglas Adams


  1. What an adverturesome walk you had, Barb, Especially love your last picture....

  2. There is a wild side to every place you can wander.

  3. Walk on the wild side in town and out! Just keep on walking! :D :D

  4. Glad you are safe and that the shake-down did not go awry. I am always wary of flying bullets if near an arrest scene. I avoid them.

  5. Now that was an eventful walk. I just love the fact that you kept right on walking through the scene, camera/phone at the ready.

  6. I always love seeing your picutes Barb, the snow is beautiful but sometimes dangerous in countries where it doesn't snow regularly. When it snows in The Netherlands, all traffic stops.


  7. Wow you really never know what you may encounter. Love these images. That mountain, so breathtaking.

  8. Simply gorgeous. Can't believe the police presence. One would surely feel safe.

  9. Your walk, eventho you were headed to a routine screening, was certainly not routine. Thanks for sharing your story and pics.

  10. Barb's Big Adventure! That is city life for you. It sure made a great story. Yes, it is odd what sticks in a person's mind, isn't it?

  11. I am so proud of you, Barb. You were part of Life moving! And there it all was, down to your husband's underwear. I love life, don't you? And I love you for sharing your wilderness adventures.

  12. That would have been a bit scary. You know when I watch American crime dramas, I always wonder if there really are that many cops with guns, the swat team, snipers, etc at the scene of a crime or if it's just Hollywood overkill. That man must have done something Very Bad for there to be so many cops. Bears and coyotes would be preferable, no?

    Camera! Thanks :)

  13. I bet the police officers wouldn't have ignored a teen-age boy (for example) walking through a crime scene. It's amazing what white-haired "old" ladies can get away with -- we often seem to be invisible. That can come in handy sometimes; I don't mind it ever. The people I care about notice me -- in (I hope) good ways. Poor old man -- I don't know what he did, but I can't help feeling a little sorry for him.

    I love the Douglas Adams quote...

  14. In the wilderness we worry about the four footed predators but the two footed ones are far scarier. Here in Sun City I am beginning to think some see us white haired folks as victims; houses, garages and mailboxes are regularly broken into.

  15. What lovely shots. But I found your description of the arrest of the man frightening.

  16. Hmmm... I wonder if it was a meth lab or something. Barb, you gave me an early morning chuckle when you noticed the man's underpants. :)
    I love that last quote... It reminds me of what happens when I work in clay.
    Have a wonderful day wilderness woman!

  17. Seeing such scenes . . . police cars, people in handcuffs . . . as I walked along . . . would have unsettled me a great deal. I'd far rather spend my time around beaver ponds and coyotes.
    I trust your medical appointment went well.

  18. A couple years ago son and I were in the Denver Airport and the police converged on a guy and pushed him roughly into a chair, right next to my son. It happened so quickly that I don't think the cops even saw us but they all looked at us as I got Logan up and out of his chair and out of the center of action. I wondered what the cops were thinking pushing a guy who was obviously upset into a chair right next to a child.

  19. Love the quote Barb...

    It doesn't matter where we are, it pays to be observant, doesn't it
    And to enjoy the moment/s.

    Love the photos below in your previous post. Winter has arrived for you, just as summer is arriving for us.
    Good to catch up. Having a few awake hours in the night here!

  20. Its never a bore in your City, and up in the mountains! Aha, did you see your handsome MD?

    Your phone takes nice photos too!

    P.S. the motor couch had 50 paying passengers, a tour guide and our ever reliable bus operator!

  21. well that was quite a story! you are so right, we never know what we will see in a day!

  22. i think that it's a gift to be able to move so easliy between the open alone spaces and the city. and sometimes more similar than it would seem- i often feel as solitary on michigan avenue as i do hiking with the dogs in the mountains- same survival skills too, come to think of it. love what you're doing with the iphone! can't wait to see more!

  23. I think you are a good photojournalist or maybe a reporter, because you write so well and photos so well too! Now you got me curious, haha! I wonder what happened there, or what the man just did! If that happened to me, the scientist's curiosity will surface and i might get a bit inquisitive!

  24. The adventures of one who fearlessly enjoys walking. There is so much of life to see as we go. Hope there was a happy ending to this story.

  25. If we only tread the trodden trail, walk the wearied way, how would we avail our souls of the adventures that we adore!

  26. Wow that was quite a morning! Beautiful photos, great post but and made me sort of sad about the old guy under arrest

  27. We really do have quite similar lives! I live on the edge of the wilderness with all the wild critters, but work every day in the city with all the even wilder critters. I'll take my chances with the mountain lions!


    great shots....



  28. Walking by myself - with a dog again - presents no difficulties for me either. I am usually alone out in the hills and fields. But I have no such scenes as the one you describe. We have hardly any crime (theft of tools in garden sheds is about as criminal as it gets) and we don’t even have a policeman or woman. No guns either, of course.

    But plenty of old people, white-haired or bald.

  29. What an interesting day you had! Your shots are wonderful!

  30. Your walk may have been interesting, but the beaver pond is enchanting.

  31. Barb, you seem to have a perfect command of your iPhone camera or enjoy it freely at least. “You never know what you’ll see if you just keep looking.” I can relate to it. When I focus on something, I tend to forget where I am. I like to walk by myself and don’t feel lonely, but while I was one with the nature, I find myself almost getting lost on the edge of wilderness even at the small hills of Mt. Wakakusa (Nara) or Mt. Rokko (Kobe). Wish you had a good result from the routine screening at the hospital.


  32. Hi, Barb,
    I like to walk by myself but I am bad at directions so get lost easily in unfamiliar places. I think I should walk with a compass though it is not enough to support me.
    A couple of years ago, I had a stunning experience. I was doing grocery shopping then suddenly, one lady jumped from a high building! I don't know what floor she jumped from but landed on the ground just five meters away from me. As I heard a big sound and looked back, the lady was lying on a busy road! Fortunately, an ambulance staff said she was still living and breathing then she got taken away in an ambulance immediately.
    Who knows what happens next.

    Keep walking,Barb.


  33. That was quite an interesting scene you encountered on your walk. Must've been a drug bust.
    Hope the routine screening went well.


Thanks so much for taking the time to comment. I try to visit all bloggers who comment on my posts. Please - no links on your comments.