Tuesday, January 03, 2006


When my daughter was little, she always paused at the trailhead to ask me how many miles we were going to cover that day. I would tell her "a mile" and when we reached our destination, she would marvel at how incredibly far that seemed. "But a mile holds so much," she would tell me.
She was right. Every time I drive through South Park on the way to a day of skiing or plunge into a deep forest only to discover a hidden meadow, I'm reminded at the larger-than-life quality of our state. (Big sky in the photo is looking west from Las Animas.)
Helen Hunt Jackson was a writer who loved the size of Colorado's skies and mountains. In "A Colorado Week," printed in the New York Independent in 1874, she retold this story about the vastness she had also experienced:
"There is a comic story of a traveller in Colorado who, having been repeatedly misled and mystified by the marvelous discrepancies between real and apparent distances in the rarified air, was found one day taking off his shoes and stockings to wade through a little brook, not a foot wide.
" 'Why, man, what are you about? Why don't you step over?' " exclaimed everybody.
"'No! no! you can't fool me,'" he exclaimed. "'I shan't be surprised if it turns out to be a quarter of a mile across this brook.'"
- Deb

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