Getting the flavor of...
Colorado’s most spectacular gorge
Of Colorado’s many scenic canyons, “none can match the depth and grandeur of the Royal Gorge,” said Lon Abbott and Terri Cook in 5280.com. The gorge’s walls, which rise sharply from the banks of the Arkansas River, support North America’s highest suspension bridge, a narrow span built for ticket-holding visitors to Royal Gorge Bridge and Park. The river lies a “dizzying” 955 feet below where you cross, and the view is more stunning when you consider how the chasm formed. The gorge’s walls are composed of gray granite and metamorphic gneiss—hard rock that by rights should’ve diverted the river’s path. But five million years ago, several thousand feet of softer sedimentary rock covered the granite and gneiss and once the water cut through those layers, it began carving a notch into the harder rock, setting the course the river has taken ever since. That unlikely path has worked out nicely, at least for all who have enjoyed the dramatic scenery.
Virginia’s new history trail
The new Virginia Capital Trail turns out to be “a tough ride for someone with Historical Marker Compulsive Disorder,” said David Brown in The Washington Post. The year-old bike path, which runs from Jamestown Settlement to Richmond, covers 400 years of fascinating history, creating a lot of potential stops for a buff like me. I recently spent a weekend cycling the 52-mile paved trail with friends, and I logged only 100 yards out of our parking lot before a row of markers forced me to brake: “Who knew that Polish craftsmen were recruited to the Jamestown colony in 1608?” Dozens more markers—not to mention monuments, battlefields, and storied plantations— were scattered along our mostly wooded course as we traveled roughly parallel to the James River. Our round trip, broken by a night at Richmond’s Linden Row Inn, proved to be “just what we were looking for: long enough to be a challenge, short enough to do in a weekend.”