Boulder is a city. Most of us live in cities. I’m finally becoming reaccustomed to doing so. Boulder, in many ways, however, is not a lot like other cities. It is the meeting point of the mountains and the plains, so its mountains–the iconic Flatirons, Green Mountain, Bear Peak–carry a certain abruptness, a certain drama that make them especially compelling.
Nevertheless, I spent most of the first month of my residence here dwelling on the fact that Green and Bear aren’t Pikes. That Boulder isn’t Manitou or Colorado Springs. Pikes Peak is the ultimate in dramatic topography that the Rocky Mountains has to offer: 8000′ of vertical–Kansas-esque plains, and then BOOM, alpine summit. And, also, for whatever reason, it seems the human spirit tends to gravitate towards the familiar (i.e. the Pikes Peak region, for me).
(The Flatirons on Green Mountain’s face–much how they looked this morning.)
However, the past week has represented a turning point in how I feel in relation to my new surroundings. I’ve been taking some down-time since Leadville, but this week the running has began again in earnest. From the upstairs graduate student computer lab in CU’s Guggenheim Hall, there is an in-your-face view of Green Mountain. I can run to its trailhead from my doorstep in less than 20 minutes, a perfect amount of warm-up. From Guggenheim, Green Mountain seems so close as to be able to reach out the window and touch it, rearrange its features.
Instead, this week I’ve been letting it rearrange me. I’ve been up Green each of the last six mornings. It has been good to finally go about learning the idiosyncrasies of the mountains most immediate to my current existence. My preferred route up Green is so rugged, so varied, so challenging, that I don’t anticipate tiring of what it has to offer, and I relish the opportunity to learn every stone and perfect every foot placement on its ascent. Because, for now, Boulder is definitely home.