We arrived in Colorado surfing on the leading edge of spring. Then we went up once we got here. We were camped at 9000 feet. Higher than this Florida boy has ever been. With the altitude, comes some attitude, we came to learn.
This was very apparent during our visit to Florissant National Monument. Our late afternoon arrival really allowed us to really enjoy the 40 degree temperature, the 20 mph biting winds and the pea sized hail that pelted us as we walked from the car to the entrance building. I mentioned ‘Florida boy’ yes? I was having some very serious second thoughts at this point, thinking we should have just stayed home in bed. But I’m quite glad we pushed on, braved the elements and met these trees.
The trees had waited a very long time to meet us, so I suppose it was only fitting we endure some small hardship to truly appreciate that which they had endured so that they could be here today.
After chatting with the awesome staff in the visitor center, we braved going outside again to see the trees. Passing through the exit door into the area behind the Visitor Center we approached a covered area, by sidewalk. The covering roof had been built to protect the now exposed tree stumps from the elements. Looking over a hand rail and down into a dug out area, we first saw the tree stumps. Wow! You think you’re ready for this stuff, you’ve seen the pictures, you’ve read the stories, yet being next to something that is that old genuinely touches you. These things are huge, 20 feet across. Even millions of years after their death, they remained imposing and incredulous. To envision that tree stump, as a 200 foot tall living tree, so many millions of years ago, standing right there in front of me….the surrounding land easily forms a backdrop for a scene from Jurassic Park.
A stump that by any other name, is still an artifact from an ever gone age, that lasted longer than all of human history and still manages to awe beyond words millions of years after it’s death.
Well, the weather started getting rough, we did manage to do a hike around the trail closest to the visitor center but ultimately, we resolved to return to Florissant when the weather was more welcoming.