For having worked in various types of performing arts groups and venues, I still had yet to see the spectacle of Red Rocks Amphitheatre. Ever since I moved to Denver, people have told me numerous times of its incredible features and are shocked to find I still haven’t embarked on the Red Rocks experience. The perfect opportunity to partake in this adventure presents itself when my friend, Shanna, a lover of the outdoors, arrives for a brief visit on her way to Connecticut. As we drive and approach the park, it’s interesting to see how desert exists in Colorado. Whenever I mention I live in Colorado, I’m usually asked about snowboarding, how I survive the snow, and if I go to the ski resorts or enjoy time in Vail or Aspen. It seems strange that snow gets so much attention when its the mixture of mountains and large orange rocks that color the land like a Georgia O’Keefe painting that make Colorado so visually stimulating.
Since I started tech rehearsals and have practically lived in the theatre, being in the open air is nothing short of a much needed relief. As we climb the long staircase to the top of the amphitheatre, I’m surprised to see that the leaves are already changing to a faint amber. The climb upwards is unexpectedly tiring, and as I watch people in workout clothes run up and down the stairs with small hand weights, I can’t help but think their sanity may have taken a dive into the deep end. As I huff and puff my way up, I’m reminded of my spinning yoga teacher bellowing, “I know you can do this, Brooke! Don’t give up on me now!” I begin to think of cursing this memory and my lack of being in shape under my breath, until I reach the top and my breath is almost taken away. The round wooden benches enclosed in the cascading burnt orange rocks brings about a sense of harmony without any music or concert present. Seeing the buildings of Downtown Denver nestled away in the distance is a realization of how close and far away I am from the city. This Civilian Conservation Corps project has a place in the heart of Denver’s history and my imagination begins to play all of the artists who performed here from the Beatles to Pearl Jam to most recently, Florence + the Machine. Looking across the semi-circular benches I can already hear Florence Welch’s voice echoing in the sloping rocks.
Needing a fresh perspective away from the handful of tourists taking pictures with iPhones, Shanna and I descend the amphitheatre to the Trading Post Trail. The sun shines down on us as we pass a group of painters stationed with easels and oil pastels eagerly stroking their canvases with a burnt orange and blue. As I peer up to the sky, I can’t imagine capturing the flawless blue lingering in the Colorado sky. Never in my expectations did I think Colorado could encompass the same red-orange desert that covers the landscapes of Utah. It seems strange to build a venue in the middle of a desert, but being surrounded by astounding rocks makes me realize there couldn’t be a better idea. It reminds me of times when I’ve purchased fabric trying to remember why I thought it was a good purchase and as I put the pieces together, I realize exactly why I started the project in the first place. I have to wonder if workers in the Civilian Conservation Corps and Work Projects Administration felt the same way about Red Rocks Amphitheatre.
This post is a part of ABC Wednesday, Weekend Travel Inspiration hosted by Reflections Enroute, The Crowded Planet, Contented Traveller, Albom Adventures, Safari 254, Families Go! and Malaysian Meanders and Scenic Weekends.