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Happy 4th of July

This land is your land, this land is my land
From California, to the New York Island
From the redwood forest, to the gulf stream waters
This land was made for you and me
Woody Guthrie

Thanks, Woody, I am trying to see it all

Yup, July 4th and the blog is almost all caught up now –

after weeks in red rocks and spectacular Southwest country – but increasingly too hot for this nomad – it was time to move on to cooler climates. Ouray, Colorado fit the bill perfectly. Cooler due to the altitude here in Ouray, CO. I arrived a couple of weeks ago and have been having a blast since.

Ouray bills itself as the Switzerland of America. Aptly named perhaps – soaring mountains rise to 14,000 around me at the campground here at about 8,000 feet . It’s also considered the Jeep capital of America – a number of companies will rent a jeep to get you off-road and on to the sky high mountain passes and basins

And, I’ll have more to say on that in a couple of posts –

I came here initially booked for a week ( with S visiting too ) but I have extended my stay a couple of times and will end up being here in this area for nearly a month and a half ( with a week lost to the Atlanta visit ). Absolutely incredible place!!

Plenty of time to hike, ride horses, rent a jeep, and photograph the world-renowned wildflowers found in the Alpine basins in July, as well as explore the old mining towns and ghost towns that dot the surrounding mining region.

And, today, Ouray is home to an All-American tradition – a small town celebration of the 4th of July…so very glad I am here to experience it…

At 10:00am, US 550/Main Street was closed to traffic for a parade which the volunteer fire department organizes and this extravaganza included horses, floats, bikes, costumes, and jeeps – it looked like anyone who wants to can participate in the parade – a really wonderful celebration – wrapped up by a fly-by of 4 F-16’s that roared through the mountain peaks.

And then at 2pm I got to witness something I had never seen before – full tilt, no holds barred, full throttle waterfights – which are done at 6th Avenue and Main Street. The city closed off US 550 again and even set up some bleachers so the onlookers could see the fun. I had been told to be prepared to get wet since they shoot the hoses up straight into the air to engage the crowd!

Yup, water gladiators –a.k.a. – local fire fighters – using fire hoses and fire hydrants, team up to duel until someone is knocked down; gear flys off; pushed across a line (that I never figured out where it was); or, simply has been pummeled enough.

An absolutely outrageous competitive atmosphere prevailed and was stoked by the participants who routinely soaked the crowd too. The photography gear seemed to survive a couple of soakings while I grabbed some pictures of the battles.

A really wonderful way to celebrate our country’s birthday and to celebrate our independence

So, as the fireworks light up the sky or as the F-16’s fly overhead let’s consider that too often we forget…

My God! How little do my countrymen know what precious blessings they are in possession of, and which no other people on earth enjoy! – Thomas Jefferson

Safe travels – more on Ouray CO in the coming days as the adventure continues

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