Colorado’s economic prosperity is mostly a good thing, but it has a downside: Prosperity attracts newcomers ignorant of our state’s culture—and often unaware there is
anything to learn.
You can see it in the great outdoors. Colorado’s environment is different from those of most other states. Colo
rado has greater altitudes, steeper mountains, harsher sun, drier weather, sudden weather changes, and fierce temperature drops. Our environment, while stunning, is far less forgiving than most newcomers are used to. If you get into trouble . . . . well, as we used to say in the Colorado Mountain Club, “The mountains don’t care.”
For that reason the classic “ten essentials” of hiking—extra layers, extra water, a head covering, maps, good boots, sun screen, etc.—are even more important for Colorado than for most other places.
Yet visit any of our popular hiking areas and you’ll see the trails populated by people outfitted like they were strolling in a public park in Boston: no hats, no extra layers, little water, almost no provisions of any kind.