|Denver, Colorado view from City Park - Photo by Matthew Santomarco|
I've lived the vast majority of my life here in Denver, nestled at the feet of the Rocky Mountains. My family of mostly Italian and Slovenian immigrants has lived in Colorado for several generations, settling in Leadville, a mining boom town, near the end of the 19th century. The Italians worked in the silver mines and the Slovenians owned a saloon. See, I come by my rowdy nature naturally!
|Leadville, Colorado ca. 1904|
Cities and towns literally sprung up overnight, and many were quickly abandoned when the frenzy was over, leaving the mountains dotted with ghost towns, which are scenic and beautiful, though they're also an ecological disaster with open tailings pits and the like - but that's a rant for another day.
|Irontown - Colorado Ghost Town - photo by Matthew Santomarco|
|Breckenridge, Colorado - Photo by Nate Zeman|
|Black Hawk, Colorado lit up with casinos|
|Mesa Verde National Park|
|Dinosaur Footprints at Dinosaur Ridge just outside of Denver|
Colorado also enjoys a rich farming and ranching tradition highlighted by the National Western Stock Show held every year in January.
And, of course, our state is home to many natural wonders.
|Great Sand Dunes National Park|
|Black Canyon of the Gunnison|
|The Garden of the Gods - Photo by Matthew Santomarco|
|The Maroon Bells - Photo by Matthew Santomarco|
|Hanging Lake - Photo by Matthew Santomarco|
|Cave of the Winds in Manitou Springs, Colorado|
Denver, which is the state capitol, was founded in 1858, and the gold leaf (yes, it's real gold) covering the dome of the capitol building pays tribute to our mining history.
Denver is often referred to as the Mile High City because we actually sit one mile above sea level. The fifteenth step of the capitol building has an inscription at the exact spot which reads "One Mile Above Sea Level," although subsequent surveys placed the actual spot at the 18th step, and later the 13th.
Denver sits at the confluence of the South Platte river and Cherry Creek, a site where gold was once found that is now a park enjoyed by hundreds every day.
|Confluence Park, Denver, Colorado|
|Chatfield State Park just south of Denver|
|South Platte Bike Path outside of Denver, Colorado|
|16th Street Mall in Downtown Denver|
|Larimer Square in Denver, Colorado|
|Coors Field - Home of the Colorado Rockies|
|First Friday Art Walk at the Santa Fe Art District in Denver, Colorado|
|Ellie Caulkins Opera House|
|The Soiled Dove Underground in Denver Colorado|
|Red Rocks Amphitheater - scene of many a rock concert during my ill-spent youth!|
Also where my high school graduation was held
And, of course, Denver is home to four major league sports teams, including my beloved Denver Broncos
|Denver Broncos at Mile High Stadium|
|John Elway finally won us our first Super Bowl in 1998.|
He also happens to be a great down to earth guy
who even helped coach the Pop Warner team that
my friend's son played on.
However, we do enjoy one of the sunniest climates on the planet with an average of 300 days of sunshine per year. When we do get precipitation it often comes in the form of major storms - sitting at the foot of a large mountain range will do that. Blizzards that dump over a foot of snow at a time are not uncommon here, but generally the sun comes out the next day and all is right with the world.
|The park a few blocks from my house the day after a big storm|
In the summertime we often get big thunderstorms that can dump enormous amounts of rain and hail in very brief periods of time - "gully washers" or "frog stranglers" we call them.
Colorado is often called the "hail capital of the world" and given the fact that I've lived through more hailstorms that I can count, I'd say the title is justified. The worst I remember was the softball sized hail that fell when I was in high school, but it's a regular occurrence here in the spring and summer. It can make gardening a bit challenging though!
|The remains of one of my tomato plants|
after a big hail storm a few years back.
Now it's your turn! Tell me all about the place where you live!
p.s. Many thanks to Matthew Santomarco for allowing me to use so many of his wonderful photographs in this post. If you'd like to check out even more of his incredible photographs of our beautiful state, please visit his website.
|Colorado Sunflowers by Matthew Santomarco|
This picture has nothing to do with anything, except that I think
it's just an amazing photograph!