The old adage says that you can’t go home again, and that’s true.
No matter how short a time you’ve been away from a place you’ve considered home, it changes – the places, the people, the surroundings. However, you can go back to relive memories – past victories, past losses, past loves or simply past experiences. During my swing out West this past summer I did just that, I went back home to drive by the old house, meet up with old friends and to see sights that have meaning to me. One of these places was Table Mesa just south of Boulder Colorado.
Table Mesa sits against the foothills of the Rocky Mountains in the south end of Boulder. It rises high above the surrounding areas and is surrounded on each side by the iconic Flatirons rock formations. Atop the mesa sits the Mesa Laboratory of the National Center for Atmospheric Research. Trails on the mesa give excellent views of the natural surroundings; these lead to to trails into the foothills of the Rockies to the west. To the east you can look out onto the plains of Colorado. On a clear day you can see for miles out onto the open plains – see the 4th picture in the gallery below for a feeling of the view.
Table Mesa evokes several memories for me:
- To the south of Table Mesa is the entrance to ElDorado Canyon where I used to do a little hiking when I lived out there. There are hillsides you can hike or cliffs for those looking for a technical climb.
- When I was working on an internship during my college years I witnessed 5 tornadoes spinning on the plains to the east. I was working with a video production crew and we were taping for a series titles Art in Architecture. The Mesa Laboratory was designed by famed architect I. M. Pei. We decided to break for lunch as some ominous looking clouds crested over the foothills. Once it cleared we resumed our taping work. Shortly we noticed that there was a great deal of activity as people streamed out of the lab building to look to the east or even hop in cars and drive off. Following their leads, we also looked out to the east and saw the five tornadoes, looking white to light gray since the sun was now shining into them. The southern most one was ripping through parts of Denver while the remaining four strung out to the north twisting through small towns or rural areas. To this day, that image is burned into my brain.
- I brought my wife to Table Mesa to show her the great views but we were fogged in on the day of our visit. The magnificent views to the east were not there and the Flatirons were playing peek-a-boo with us. This is the only time my wife has been out to Colorado. we didn’t do as much as we had planned on that trip since we found out she was pregnant with our first child before we left on vacation.
Table Mesa is one of those touchstone places in my life and I was glad to get the chance to visit again (this time on a clear day) and share these thoughts with you. I hope you enjoy the pictures below.