This blog reports events and interesting tidbits from Rensselaer, Indiana and the surrounding area.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Glenwood Springs

Yesterday we traveled from Rensselaer to Glenwood Springs, CO. One of the attractions of Glenwood Springs is its hot springs. They are used to fill a huge swimming pool just north of the Colorado River and the Interstate.
Glenwood Springs was the final home of Doc Holliday, a notable gunslinger of the old west. He was born in the east, went west because he had tuberculosis, left his profession of dentistry to become a gambler because he could earn more money that way, became famous as a participant in the shootout at the OK Corral in Kansas, and died from tuberculosis before he was 40.
We were in Glenwood Springs because of a convention of the National Speleological Society. I am not a member, but a family member is, and we were willing babysitters for that family member. Some of the 1000+ people who attended the convention camped. Below is the "quiet" (no alcohol) camp on school property.
The "loud" camp was much bigger. It featured a shower area that had three entrances: his, hers, and theirs. It also had a hot tub that was clothing optional, and I heard reports that people took the optional seriously. On the night of their big party, the police told the loud camp to shut down the music at 11:00 pm; the neighbors were complaining.
The only part of the convention I saw was a bit of the rope climbing competition. There are several ways to climb rope, and each way has records. They are able to climb 30 meters or 120 meters in a building that has a ceiling of less than ten meters because the rope is lowered as the climber goes up.
We mostly avoided the cavers. Glenwood Springs has lots of fun activities, and one of the most popular is white water rafting. There are many places to put in and to take out. A few of the rafters came right through Glenwood Springs, passing under the pedestrian bridge that spanned the railroad, the river, and the Interstate highway.
We spent some time on the hiking/biking trail that followed the river and the Interstate highway. Going away from town it was mostly uphill.
From the trail we could see the freight trains on the Union Pacific tracks. This one, as most of the freight trains, was hauling coal. Usually there would be two or three engines in front, another two in the middle, and one or two additional engines at the end of the train. It takes a low of power to get these heavy loads up and over the mountains.
At one point the bike trail is in the median strip, but both sections of the highway are elevated.
Below you can see the bike bridge over the Interstate that is just outside of Glenwood Springs. From here it is a fun ride downhill back to the town.
According to the census figures, Glenwood Springs has about twice the population of Rensselaer, about 9000, but it feels much bigger. Because they are a tourist destination, they have a temporary population that is almost always several thousand people, and these are people who are spending money. The hotel and food industries are far bigger than what Rensselaer has. The town also has much more shopping. There is an older mall that has an enclosed courtyard, plus a newer on that does not. The town is also much more spread out because the mountains are very steep, and development follows the valleys.

Below is the sign of a store that you would not find in Rensselaer. Medical marijuana is legal in Colorado.
Something else that I have not seen in Rensselaer is bicycle polo being played in one of the parks.

Biking is much more popular in their area than it is in our area. In a way that is surprising because flat land is much more conducive to biking than the steep terrain that they have. However, most of the biking there seems to be tourist driven and recreational. I wonder if there is much more purely utilitarian bike use.

1 comment:

reMark said...

I stumbled upon a Bicycle Polo tournament in Chicago about a month ago. It was actually quite entertaining and very fast paced. Ironic that you two encountered it. This was a 3 on 3 tournament that lasted all day.