Tag - denver

Colorado Facts & Figures

 

Colorado, cr flicker

Colorado, cr flicker

Capital:  Denver

Nick Name: Centennial State/ Colorful Colorado

Year Colorado became a state: 1876

Travel Zone: Mountain standard

State motto: “ Nil Sine Numine” – Nothing  Without Providence

Highest Point: 14.433 ft – Mount Elbert

Lowest elevation: span> 3.315 ft – the Arikaree River.

Average altitude:  6.800 ft

Average days of sunshine per year : 300

State Flag: Designed by Andrew C Johnson in 1911. the top and bottom stripes are blue, and the middle stripe white. On top of these stripes sits a circular red “C”, filled with a golden disk. The blue represent the skies, the gold is for the sunshine enjoyed by the state, the white represents the snowcapped mountains and the red represents the red colored earth.

State Seal:

Population: (2011) 5,116,796Source: U.S. Census Bureau

Ski Resorts: 26

Fourteeneers: 54

National Parks: 4–  Mesa Verde, Rocky mountain National Park, The Black Canyons of the Gunnison  National park,Great Sand Dunes National Park and Reserve.

State Parks: 42

Scenic and Historic Byways: 25

Microbreweries: 140

Area:  104.100 Sq Miles-  8th Biggest State.

Major Rivers:  Colorado river, Rio Grande river, Arkansas river, South Platte river

Major lakes: Grand lake, Blue mesa reservoir, John martin reservoir

State Bird: lark bunting

State Animal:
Rocky Mountain Bighorn sheep

State Insect: Colorado Hairstreak Butterfly

State Fish:  Greenback Cutthroat trout

State Fossil: Stegosaurus

State Flower: Rocky mountain Columbine

State Tree: Colorado Blue Spruce

State Grass: strong Blue Gramma grass

State Gemstone: Aquamarine

State Soil: Seitz

Colorado Fun Facts
Highest, Tallest, Longest, Largest, Oldest

  • The world’s largest flat-top mountain is in Grand Mesa.
  • Trail Ridge Road, the highest continuous U.S. highway, leaves Rocky Mountain National Park on the east and soars to 12,183 feet as it crosses the Continental Divide to the Western Slope.
  • The highest paved road in North America is the road to Mt. Evans off of I-70 from Idaho Springs. The road climbs up to 14,258 feet above sea level.
  • Colorado has more microbreweries per capita than any other state.
  • The Dwight Eisenhower Memorial Tunnel between Clear Creek and Summit counties is the highest auto tunnel in the world. Bored at an elevation of 11,000 feet under the Continental Divide, it is 8,960 feet long.
  • Leadville is the highest incorporated city in the United States at 10,430 feet elevation. Because there were many “silver” named towns at the time, the founding fathers suggested Leadville.
  • The tallest sand dunes in America are in Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve outside of Alamosa in south-central Colorado. This 149,512-acre landscape of 8,000-foot sand peaks was created by ocean waters and wind more than one million years ago.
  • Colorado is home to 54 14,000-feet mountain peaks, more than any other state in the United States.
  • Colorado has the highest mean altitude of all the states.
  • The Kit Carson County Carousel in Burlington dates back to 1905, making it the oldest wooden merry-go-round in the United States. It is the only wooden carousel in America that still has its original paint.
  • One of the highest suspension bridgees in the world is over the Royal Gorge near Canon City. The Royal Gorge Bridge spans the Arkansas River at a height of 1,053 feet.
  • The world’s largest natural hot springs pool is located in Glenwood Springs. The two-block long pool is across the street from the historic Hotel Colorado, a favorite stop of former president Teddy Roosevelt.
  • The highest point in Colorado is Mount Elbert at 14,433 feet.
  • The oldest existing Colorado town, San Luis (in south central Colorado), was founded in 1851.
  • A golf ball flies on average ten percent farther in Colorado than other states because of the altitude. It flies even farther at higher altitudes (above 7,000 feet).
  • There are canyons deeper and narrower than the Black Canyon of the Gunnison, but no other canyon in North America combines this gorge’s depth with its width.
  • Grand Lake, on the western side of Rocky Mountain National Park, is the largest natural lake in the state.

Firsts

  • Deep in the mountains of southwestern Colorado, Ouray is home to the world’s first park devoted exclusively to the sport of ice climbing. The park opened in 1995.
  • The World’s First Rodeo was held on July 4th, 1869 in Deer Trail.

Mile High Trivia

  • The 13th step of the state capital building in Denver is one mile above sea level.
  • “Beulah red” is the name of the red marble that gives the Colorado State Capitol its distinctive splendor. Cutting, polishing, and installing the marble in the Capitol took six years, from 1894 to 1900. All of the “Beulah red” marble in the world went into the Capitol.
  • Colfax Avenue in Denver is the longest continuous street in America.
  • Denver has the largest city park system in the nation with 205 parks in city limits and 20,000 acres of parkland in the nearby mountains.

Historic Hot Spots

  • Lieutenant Zebulon Montgomery Pike explored the southwest portion of the Louisiana Territory in 1806, and though he never climbed the peak that bears his name, he did publish a report that attracted a lot of interest to the area. In fact, a trip to the top of Pikes Peak in 1893 inspired Katherine Lee Bates to write the ballad “America the Beautiful.”
  • In Fruita, the town folk celebrate ‘Mike the Headless Chicken Day.’ Seems that a farmer named L.A. Olsen cut off Mike’s head on September 10, 1945 in anticipation of a chicken dinner – and Mike lived for another 4 years without a head.
  • The Stanley Hotel, in Estes Park, has a long list of celebrities and heads of state that have stayed at the luxurious 1909 hostelry, which was also said to be the inspiration behind author Stephen King’s novel The Shining.
  • Greeley is home to the internationally acclaimed Greeley Independence Stampede, which dates back to the 1800s and features national rodeo events, live music performances from national headliners, carnivals and more.
  • For 16 years. Bent’s Old Fort was the lifeblood of trade trappers and hunters along the Santa Fe Trail. The fort was created by two brothers, both of whom were known as good brokers
    of peace with Indian nations in the area.Around 550 A.D, a basketmaker culture developed in south-western Colorado. Known as
  • Ancestral Puebloans: this native tribe formed and built villages in rock canyons.  Today parts of their intricate structures still stand at Mesa Verde National Park near Cortez, which was the first national park created solely to preserve the work of humans.

Sources:

www.enchantedlearning.com/usa/states/colorado/

www.wikipedia.org

Along the Trail of an Ancient Volcano

alone

along the trail

Across the Way from Specimen Mountain

When I was a rookie Ranger Naturalist back in 1959, I remember leading my first group of people on a wilderness hike up 12,482 foot Specimen Mountain in Rocky Mountain National Park. This extinct volcano, whose crater has been gashed in half by ancient glaciers, is studded with a spruce-fir forest at its base. Because of its opened crater full of salts, bighorn sheep gather here to be treated to a giant salt lick. Its high bald summit is challenge enough for a leisurely day’s hike. Specimen Mountain has been extinct for over 10,000 years, though an early Estes Park naturalist, Enos Mills, claimed that nineteenth-century Ute Indians of the area still had legends of the mountain’s puffing smoke.

I met my group at 10:00 am at Poudre Lake on the Continental Divide at 10,000 feet elevation. The 15 people varied in age from ten to seventy and in profession from businessmen to college professors. One man had recently returned from Korea and remarked how similar this national park is to the mountainous terrain of north-central Korea. We started up the trail through a lush sub-alpine meadow coated with rosy and red Indian paintbrushes, pearly everlasting and bright yellow marsh marigolds. There was a slight chill in the air but our hiking steadily upward kept us warm. Just as my group was getting broken in and walking at a steady pace, a 150-pound black bear suddenly appeared within forty yards of us. A Chicago businessman excused himself and returned to his car even though the bear lumbered up into the woods away from us. 14 remaining people seemed all the more determined to move on and experience all they could. A small child in the group picked up a beautiful arrow-point, chocolate brown in color with perfect symmetry Since Ute Indians hunted this area a century ago, my best guess was that the point was from this tribe.

When we reached an altitude of around 11,500 feet, I pointed to dwarf spruce trees, no larger than a thumb, growing close to the ground. If one were to do a tree ring count, he would be surprised to learn that this dwarf could be a hundred or more years old.  Arriving on the high tundra, the Korean War veteran had to excuse himself and return to his car. The landscape just reminded him too much of Korea. Unfortunately he missed seeing a large snowfield fringed with bright yellow snow buttercups growing right up through the shallower snow. As we looked at the flowers, we were treated to the singing of a white-crowned sparrow. The remaining 13 people had developed an esprit de corps as each and every one of them started to get a feel for the high tundra of the Rockies. After we reached the saddle of Specimen Mountain at 11,700 feet, we all listened to the whistling of a hoary marmot in the rocks nearby. Spreading beyond us was the vast white Never Summer Range or Ni-Chebe-Chii in Arapaho, meaning Never-No-Summer. They rose high above the valley of the Colorado River that has its beginning in Rocky Mountain National Park at Thunder Pass. Directly below us lay the ashes and vents of the gashed out crater where bighorn sheep fed on grasses and salts.

As time fleeted by and summer thunderheads began to build up, I suggested pushing on to the summit of Specimen Mountain. The trail sharpened steeply, but all members of the party kept chugging along. Some of us began to breathe quite deeply in the thin air above 12,000 feet. However, one spry lady in her early seventies set the pace for the whole group. Because I became winded trying to point out this feature and that, I finally remained silent for the last 300 vertical feet. The gashed-out volcano’s features became more and more distinct the higher we climbed until we stood, at last, on the summit. Up here we could see for a 100 miles to the distant Gore and Mosquito Ranges to the south. To the north we could make out the distant Snowy Range of Wyoming.

We ate our sandwiches and drank hot coffee as the sky darkened. We had no other choice but to descend. I had grown to really like these people even though they were complete strangers only hours ago. It was hard to say goodbye back at Poudre Lake where it had already started to rain.

* Today Specimen Mountain is closed to the public to protect a bighorn sheep habitat.