Denver reminds me a lot of Kansas City and that's a good thing. As much as I bitch about KC, it has its merits. Maybe Denver is a bit more progressive and maybe it's a bit healthier, but it has that same 'small town in a big city' feel. People here are so friendly. Denver also has an up and coming art scene (First Fridays, galleries, etc), not unlike Kansas City. The biggest difference, it seems, is in Denver's collective interest in outdoor activities, which is natural, I suppose, when one is surrounded by beautiful scenery.
The drive here from Kansas City is a bitch; almost not worth it. Definitely not worth it if you have any suicidal ideation. The vast nothingness of Kansas, only briefly interrupted by trailer parks, is enough to drive someone over the edge and into insanity. Kansas is the worst state.
Also, what the fuck, Kansas? Why do you all drive like you have a pregnant person in your back seat currently giving birth? Surely not all of you that drive like this are in this predicament. And if so, I think we've found where our world overpopulation issue stems from. It all started in Kansas.
Today I briefly journeyed into Rocky Mountain National Park. As always, it is beautiful, astounding and amazing. The experience of being in the Rocky Mountains is not easily conveyed. Looking over the edge of a 11,000 foot mountain, looking over a sea of pine trees and feeling the wind whip around you is something that will never be reproduced with photos.
I love the mountains, and so do a lot of other people. In 2013, over 3 million people visited this park. The summer months are worse than the fall and winter months, almost unbearably so, but every season draws far more people than it used to with each passing year.
Most of the people at Rocky Mountain National Park this weekend are from the surrounding areas in Colorado, here for the nice weekend weather and of course, to see elk rut in the fall. That's right, many of the people in the park are currently looking out of binoculars, pulled over on the side of the road, watching elk get it on. I saw this phenomenon first hand and pulled over to see what was going on. A woman in a sweatsuit, cankles bursting out from her tennis shoes, nearly bowled me over trying to get closer to the elk with her camera.
There is a culture surrounding the outdoor enthusiast that I've always disliked. It is a hunting, luxury RV, Walmart and Cabellas shopping, ignorant crowds of onlookers in baseball caps kind of culture. Rocky Mountain National Park, and Estes Park, the town just outside of it, draws many people who are a part of that culture. It's an easy vacation to camp in a park, see prescribed views of mountains and go on designated trails with hundreds of other people every day. I understand why it's necessary to have a park where the general public can see wildlife without harming it, but it is very disappointing to be surrounded by tourists in a tourist town, even as a tourist.
And of course, the throngs of people at the park is a reminder that there are too many people on earth. There is not enough fresh water, not enough food that can be produced, not enough ozone for the next 100 years for all of us. The wild views of Rocky Mountain National Park, this place, this tiny speck of natural, beautiful, protected land, is a stark contrast to the 3 billion people in sweatpants driving up and down its mountain roads and the cities surrounding it.
There are over 7 billion people on earth right now. Look at this terrifying population clock. We can only sustain 9-10 billion people. Dozens of species of animals are going extinct every day. I envision a future where we will all have to go to parks because there will be nothing else left.
All that being said, the view from the highest point of Rocky Mountain National Park brings me as close as I've ever been to truly appreciating that I'm alive. Why do we all so vehemently seek solitude in nature? Perhaps it is something deep within us setting off the alarm bells.