Globe Trekker host Holly Morris discovers a land of cowboys and old mining towns, a land that time forgot, a place where people fleeing religious persecution found their promised land and outlaws became legends... Welcome to Colorado and Utah!
Holly begins her trip in Denver, the capital of Colorado - also known as Mile High City because it stands 5,280 feet above sea level. Over the past few decades the city has attracted many artists and bohemians whose influence is reflected in the city's architecture - notably the Denver Art Museum, designed in part by world famous architect Daniel Liebeskind, and the Clifford Still Museum, designed to present the work of Colorado's most eminent painter. Holly takes a tour of the city's coolest sights with resident pop artist Phil Bender.
Denver is also the home of the cowboy, so Holly has to pay a trip to Rockmount, the best cowboy outfitters in the West. Run by the world's oldest CEO "Papa Jack" Wilde, Rockmount has made cowboy clothes for countless film and music stars - most recently for the Oscar-winning movie "Brokeback Mountain". A little known fact is that one in 3 cowboys were in fact African Americans, so Holly pays a visit to the city’s Black American West Museum to learn more from its curators.
It's time to hit the road and Holly continues her journey, hitching a ride through the Rocky Mountains, heading southwest. From the former goldmining settlement of Carson, Holly hikes along a spectacular stretch of the Colorado Trail, as far as Silverton. All of this part of the trail is situated at well above 3500 metres, and after crossing through gorgeous flower-filled Alpine meadows, Holly and guide Pete Turner have to make their way through snowdrifts on the trail, which remain even in July.
From Silverton, Holly catches an onward ride through the mountains to Durango, on a steam train that once used to haul precious gold and silver ore between the two towns. In Durango, Holly takes part in the weekly Rodeo competition, trying her hand at barrel racing and steer roping, before heading back north through the Rockies to Crested Butte, birthplace of the mountain bike.
From Crested Butte, together with mountain biking guide Jayson Simons-Jones, Holly retraces the route of a legendary 60 kilometre bike ride that took place in 1976 from Crested Butte to Aspen. The two day ride takes them through dramatic scenery well above 3500 metres, crossing Pearl Pass at nearly 4000 metres before the long ride down to Aspen. It’s an exhausting, but thrilling adventure.
From Aspen Holly flies to the state capital of Utah: Salt Lake City. Utah is the adopted home of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, otherwise known as the Mormons. Fleeing religious persecution, in 1847 Brigham Young brought his 147 pilgrims to Utah's Great Basin and they settled here to build their new promised land. Today roughly 75% of Utah's 2.5 million residents are members of the Church, which has a following of some 10 million members worldwide.
Moving on south, Holly heads to Circleville to visit the former home of the famous Wild West outlaw (and Mormon) Butch Cassidy, who was renowned for robbing banks and trains with his Wild Bunch gang, and who was subsequently immortalized in the Hollywood film Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid… Holly ends her journey amidst the remarkable buttes of Monument Valley, kingdom of the Navajo Indians, and spectacular backdrop to countless classic Hollywood Westerns.