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And now for a lot of photos and Instagrams.

Today was a day of hiking.  It began a little later than I had hoped because we were up so late the night before, but Jacob did indeed meet us at Claire’s apartment and we headed for South Table Top Mountain and the mesa.  It’s hard to remember we are in the desert until you feel the intense dryness of the air.  But it was in the mid 70s!

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Claire and Jacob ascended the side.

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Green lichen?

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Me and Jacob.

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The three of us.

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Pensive Claire.

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Being artsy…

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Jacob looks like heaven is shining on him.

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A long way done for a short climb.

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I did this at the Grand Canyon too…

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Rattlesnake!

We encountered a mad snake on the way down, his rattle shaking.  Some hikers were trying to prod him off the trail with a stick.  Let it be, folks!  He just wants his peace.  We had to warn oncoming families with children and dogs.

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Driving back to Claire’s for some of my porter, we saw this scraggly fox dodging about.  Animal Control searched for him later but didn’t find him.

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We were on that!

Next, my friend James hit me up to tell me he was done visiting his family and could come over until he had to leave for his flight.  He lives in Cleveland (we went to school together, the same place where Claire went before she got a job in Cleveland and subsequently moved west a year later), but he’s been working in Canada lately.  He flies every week and decided to come home this weekend.  I was very glad he came out to see us!  He caught up with the three of us while we were eating lunch at a Thai place in Golden.

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Us after lunch in Golden.

Jacob said goodbye and headed back towards Denver to run some errands before making his 4 hour drive home.  Claire went back to school.  I jumped in James’ car and we headed north a short trip to Boulder.  He says he used to go there often during high school, but the times had changed and things already seemed different.  He was still a great expert to have.

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People walking around the busy strip.

We walked up and down a couple of times on the main stretch before deciding beer over coffee.  We tried a place that seemed unfamiliar to James and sat outside with a local brew and some nachos.  We met some nice people lined up around us on a side-walk facing bar table.  We couldn’t stay too long because our time was running out.  The air started cooling off suddenly and I wondered if it was going to spontaneously snow.  We headed out before we could know.

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Me and James about to leave Boulder for Golden.IMG_0756

James dropped me off at the Colorado School of Mines where Claire told me she needed to still work and gave me her car keys.  I took off for Lookout Mountain.

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You could see the snow on the mountains in the distance.IMG_0759

This same mountain top boasts Buffalo Bill’s grave.

I decided to head towards the snow and turned around at the top of a mountain beyond Idaho Springs.  It was dark and snowy and the stars were out.  “Treacherous” (Taylor Swift) began to play on my iPhone.  It was so appropriate – the same song I played last year while driving through the dark and snow in Alaska.

Two headlights shine through the sleepless night
And I will get you a-, get you alone
Your name has echoed through my mind and I just
Think you should, think you should know
That nothing safe is worth the drive and I will
Follow you, follow you home
I’ll follow you, follow you home

And who would’ve thought that song still makes me think of the same guy a whole year later?  Well,… no need to go into that.

My summer song had become Gypsy Girl by Dean Brody after I felt just like a wandering, lost girl with tired feet.  This site name does, after all, mean “tired feet” in French – and there’s a reason for it!

But this trip, if I had to pick my theme song from this trip… I definitely think Mumford & Sons is the most appropriate.  And, although I have become a “Hopeless Wanderer”, the song that really shook me this trip while standing on the top of the world in the mountains was “Below My Feet”:

Keep the earth below my feet
For all my sweat, my blood runs weak
Let me learn from where I have been
Keep my eyes to serve, my hands to learn
Keep my eyes to serve, my hands to learn

What could be more appropriate?  No classroom is better suited for learning than the outdoors, than the world.  Look at all these things I have seen this summer and continue to see.  And here I am, coming full-circle a year later, having witnessed the same struggles the people on the reservations face which exist in even the most remote corners of India.  Like I said last year (in ‘Defining “Native America”‘) on my final night with my friends in Alaska, We are all so different and yet…exactly the same.

My flight is too early in the morning for Claire to take me.  I hired a shuttle to get me at 3:30am, then we spent the evening finishing off my growler and watching YouTube videos and discussing Indian policies, the world, the folly of mankind…

I’m going to miss you, friend.