colorado! or how to skin a skunk without the funk

A steer’s skull on a steering wheel. We’re turning west.

There are snakes baking their bellies in the garden and marmots barking on the mountain pass.  I am in Colorado, spending some time visiting family and a lot of time marvelling at how realistic fire hydrants are.  Just like in the movies, oh my gosh, look at that fence etc. etc.
Glistening simulacra.

We have kicked the dust in Buena Vista and boiled alive in the hot pools at Glenwood Springs. We have crept across the crisp grass of Centennial suburbia and blinked through sleep in a motel that has an alligator’s head as a business card holder.  Oh yes.  Oh boy.

We gasped and gurgled our way through mountain sickness and panned for gold with our toes in the Arkansas River and we still didn’t have enough to buy a salad in Aspen.  But yesterday, we met Tad from Texas who had a chair made entirely out of antlers and a cushion stitched out of a skunk he skinned straight from the road so we quickly forgot about salad and England and people who don’t have furniture fashioned from bones.

Instead, we remembered stars and neon, sunburn and rainbow trout skulking behind boulders.  We paddled in the Roaring Fork and ate pretzels covered in white gloop.  We hiked in an air-conditioned car to the top of Mount Evans, where I promptly lost what was left of my little mind to the altitude and cracked open a conversation with a marmot.

Don ‘Tad’ Tadlock. A man of the mountains and a man of wise words: “You listen here: when you skin a skunk – oh wowee! – you don’t want to hit that musk sack. Oh boy. No one will be your friend for a long time.”

We’ve got three days left in the Rockies.  I hope to make it to Monday without processing through a black bear’s digestive tract, as illustrated in this alarming tile I found on a street in Salida.  Fingers crossed this diagram is a charm against the honey bear and not an advert that sugary human Slush Puppies (raspberry flavour) are available in the local area.  Slurp.

  1. We usually call them woodchucks or groundhogs in the States, although I think that one is a rock chuck or whistlepig? They’re James’s spirit animal – maybe they’re yours, too.

    • hcc said:

      I really hope it was a whistlepig. The best named…anything.

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