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Sanitas

Started: 2020-01-19 22:11:02

Submitted: 2020-01-20 00:43:10

Visibility: World-readable

3rd January 2020: In which the intrepid narrator drops by Boulder on his way to the airport

After several days of skiing in Breckenridge, I departed Frisco to drive back to Denver to fly to Seattle.

Main Street Frisco
Main Street Frisco

Under normal circumstances, the drive from Frisco to DIA takes an hour and a half. In Colorado, in the winter, one can never count on "normal circumstances" to dominate: even normal weekend ski traffic can clog I-70, and if it were to be snowing at the same time it could easily take me four hours to get to the airport. I did not want to take chances that I might miss my plane, so I allowed for plenty of time to get down the mountain before catching my flight at 20:00. It turned out that the storm that dumped snow while I was skiing had rolled on, and Friday morning was bright and clear, and the drive down I-70 was fast and easy.

Since my flight didn't leave until the evening, I had plenty of time to take a detour to drop by Boulder on my way to the airport. I drove into town at noon and stopped for lunch at Snarf's, my favorite sandwich shop in town -- which turned out to have a brand-new-to-me location in Table Mesa Shopping Center.

After lunch I drove towards downtown when I decided I had enough time to hike Mount Sanitas, one of my favorite short hikes in the foothills rising immediately above the city. I drove past the site of Boulder Community Hospital's Mapleton Center at 311 Mapleton and saw that the old hospital buildings were being demolished in the wake of the hospital moving all of their operations to their big newer campus on Foothills Parkway. (I say BCH Foothills is "new" relative to the time I lived in Boulder, but it's sufficiently established that Julian was born there in 2015.)

Demolition of BCH Mapleton Center
Demolition of BCH Mapleton Center

I parked and looped back to examine (and photograph) the demolition in greater detail. Almost a century ago my grandmother attended nurses' training at the Adventist hospital that used to occupy this site. By the time I moved to Boulder with my family in 1991 (when I was ten years old, the same age that Calvin is now), Memorial Hospital had sold its land and buildings to Boulder Community Hospital and moved to Louisville as Avista Adventist Hospital. As I was growing up, attending school down the street and the church on the corner, I'd occasionally wander through the main hospital building. Even then, in the 1990s, I remember it as a half-empty shell, a mere shadow of its former self. Now the building is one more vaguely-remembered location from my childhood now being redeveloped.

Demolition of BCH Mapleton Center
Demolition of BCH Mapleton Center

I ascended the south ridge of Mount Sanitas under the bright winter sun in a perfect azure sky. A brisk wind blew from the west, but the air was cool and the sun and the exertion of climbing kept me warm. I felt the altitude as I climbed, and my relative lack of fitness (at least, compared to when I lived in Boulder and ran 25 miles a week), but I kept going at a steady pace, stopping to marvel at the view of the city I grew up in, laid out on the plains stretching to the horizon in the east.

Boulder from Mount Sanitas
Boulder from Mount Sanitas

I stopped briefly at the summit, then descended the rocky East Ridge Trail. I brought my Yakitrax traction aids, expecting to hit snow and ice on the trail, but there was very little snow on the trail, even in the shadows on the east ridge, and nothing that threatened my safety as I descended.

Mule deer on Mount Sanitas
Mule deer on Mount Sanitas

I enjoyed my time in the sun, as I tried to soak up as much as I could before returning to Seattle.

Mount Sanitas East Ridge Trail
Mount Sanitas East Ridge Trail

I returned to my car via the Sanitas Valley Trail, then drove to downtown Boulder, hitting the highlight reel of the places I know and remember and appreciate from my time in Boulder. I dropped by the Boulder Bookstore, then walked down the Pearl Street Mall and back. I walked south to the main branch of the library, walking across the bridge connecting the library across Boulder Creek. When I left Boulder the library was embarking on a renovation that shuffled the entire library building. (I was most amused that there were two restrooms on the first floor south of the creek: a women's restroom, and a multi-stall unisex restroom with individual toilets in individual rooms with floor-to-ceiling doors.) I walked through the non-fiction stacks and picked up a book about the history of Vail -- which seemed auspicious, given my reason for being in Colorado in the first place. I thumbed through the book in the time I had left before I dropped the book in the shelving cart, then returned to my car and drove to the airport to catch my flight back to Seattle.

I have more [than five computers] in my own office, and they are still
breeding like rabbits.
- Arthur C. Clarke