Just when I thought I had spammed the BCB's gracious, long suffering audience with the last of too-many-photos from Aspen/Crested Butte, Suzanne's "Après" post reminded me that I overlooked a batch taken at the John Denver Sanctuary. Buck up, Mates… Red Rock is in your near future, as soon as I undo one last buckle on the ole medical "straightjacket." Less than 2 weeks till we spring Goldie from the impound and point her smile west into the most scenically diverse, alcohol averse state in the USA, Utah… emphasis on the Ahhhhh.
Aspen's John Denver Sanctuary is a meticulously manicured memorial park—an undulating ribbon of greenbelt snuggled up to the prosperous south-bank of the Roaring Fork River, currently reduced to a mere meow. Thank God (I picture George Burns) for places like Aspen, where the affluent majority have the leisure and dough to conceive, afford, and implement extortionate necrologic tributes to dearly departed Townies like John Denver. The JDS landscape is salted with a collection of Yosemite-like granite boulders, and peppered with enough flowers to out-scent the collective funk of all the prostitutes in Nevada. My kind of place :)
Folk minstrel John Denver was born "Henry John Deutschendorf, Jr.," a career ending name if there ever was one. So he changed it. Next thing you know a distinctive-voiced songwriting poet with Coke-bottle hippie glasses and squeaky clean boyish looks rides into America's hearts in a broken down van, and in short order flies out on his personal private Lear jet. "What's in a name," you ask? Sometimes fortune and fame. It would make for an interesting Identical Twin, Heredity vs Environment study, to see if brother, Henry John Deutschendorf, Jr II could overcome such a tongue-tripping last name. I would argue that if Joe Montana would have been saddled with Joe Deutschendorf, the 49'ers would still be looking for their first Super Bowl.
|The Hoity-Toity, a most royal river-rock outhouse in John Denver Sanctuary.|
But with a handle like "John Denver," and a few songs set in Colorado's idyllic Rocky Mountains, it doesn't take long for the former Deutschendorf to establish himself as a Aspen's "Poster (Country) Boy."
Unlike Suzanne (and, apparently, her Lone Star State Mama), I've never been a big fan of John Denver's style. Even when serving out my "purgatory" back in Les Mirerable, Missouri—biting insect and Country Boy capitol of the world–I couldn't hit the radio's black plastic buttons fast enough when "Rocky Mountain High" came on. In spite of identifying mightily with the lyrics, I didn't care for the "folksy" melody. It didn't help that it was overplayed to the max by bored disc jockeys wishing for a better life somewhere far away from Les Miserable. I guess I was more "rocker" than "mother-folker." Listening to the likes of Peter, Paul, and Mary, Joan Baez, Judy Collins, Jimmy Buffet... even Dylan, in his pre-electric years, was fingernails-on-the-blackboard. I mean, who could dance to that crap? Better yet, if you wanted to get to "second base" with the gal snuggled up beside you at the end of Lover's Lane, go with any song on the Beach Boy's "Pet Sounds" album. Not "Puff The Magic Dragon."
|Suzanne, wishing her Mama could see the JDS…|
I admit that our serene stroll through J D's wild-flowered legacy was enjoyable. It made me wonder what I'll have to show for my time on earth. We can't all be Hall of Fame rockstars or football players... Pulitzer Prize winning authors or movie stars. "Please listen," I'm fine with being a "Nowhere Man" with modest goals. Early on, I set my sites on Colorado, traded the insufferable humidity, sirens, barking dogs, traffic, biting insects and moral vacuity of Les Miserable, Missouri, for wide-open public lands, cool air, and small towns. It led to a good, albeit inconsequential, life in the mountains, one that had been tugging on my soul ever since first setting boot to trail long, long ago.
This BCB "repository" for "On The Road" stories and mountain photos isn't much of a legacy, but it's all I got. I've romanced theses "stones" inside out, and they never cease to quicken my pulse. Lovely Ouray is "home sweet home;" Sometimes I can't wait to leave her for other places I've fallen in love with, but it always feels good and right to come back.
This "life" doesn't compare the likes of a Henry John Denver. Why I'll be lucky to have a monogramed park bench down by the Hot Springs Pool to honor my existence. If so, don't go to the bother and expense of erecting an Aspenesque Hoity-Toity. A royal blue Porta-John will do just fine, thank you, it will better match my denim shorts and blue collar.
Now a final loop-stroll along the Roaring Fork River, from JDS downstream a couple-three miles and back through much revitalized older neighborhoods of Aspen.
Mark and Bobbie… and Suzanne, who's now exploring the internet-less, inner recesses of Utaaaahhhh.
|Oh La Platta… been up that Fourteener a while back|
|All I will say about this photo from Independence Pass is, "It was cold…" Well, you figure it out :)|
I've always been partial to classic rock myself, but I have to admit I do sing along to John Denver. A big part of that is growing up in Asia and dreaming (for completely unknown reasons) about the big ol USA. John Denver and all those other folksy tunes just added to the dream. I found my "home sweet home" here too. And I'm with you on the West...less mosquitoes is a huge draw!ReplyDelete
One day this summer while traveling in a commercial jet, I spotted the beautiful reddish-orange mountaintops of the Red Mountains, and I said to myself Holy Shit. Prior to reading your blog, the likelihood of being able to recognize that location from the air would have been zero since I had never even heard of Ouray, CO or the Red Mountains. Dang, those mountains are gorgeous! Ouray is now on my bucket list along with the hiking trails that you have shared in your blog. Thanks for the wonderful geography lessons, which are far more rewarding than hearing the overplayed “Rocky Mountain High”.ReplyDelete
Very cool Mc Q. Sometimes a Blogger never knows who's out there or if anyone is listening. A big thanks for letting me know the BCB made a difference.Delete
I've never been much of a John Denver fan, either, but his park is pretty nice.ReplyDelete
Cute photo of you and Suzanne, and I figured it out ;-) Of course you would post it when she is out of touch!
Interesting out house. Nice pictures.ReplyDelete
You crack me up!ReplyDelete
This great writer and photographer, Mark, is my brother and he makes me proud with every blog. I just want you to know "big brother is watching."ReplyDelete
Of course you realize that you probably have completely ruined any chance of returning to Missouri to employment with their tourist department =. You are stuck in Ouray - of course Goldie can be boarded etc. I never heard of JDS Thanks for info. I little reminder. ( your book ?) Walden Creek rv. Oh. I still think Buffett has his moments. HReplyDelete
I had such a great time with you and Bobbie on this trip....in spite of the fact that your musical taste needs a little "fine tuning." And Independence Pass needs another 10 degrees. ;-)ReplyDelete