Claude Wiatrowski has an evident passion for Colorado and another, equal in depth, for trains. He has three degrees in sensible technical and engineering subjects but he also plays drums for a brace of big bands, a gospel quartet and a polka band. A well-rounded character, I’d say.
I had never considered a vacation in anything other than a city when visiting the USA. I am not, by nature, the woodsy sort who loves the outdoors, hiking, camping, getting too cold, getting too hot. I am not a lover of wildlife (the clue is in the name – “wild”) and each tree looks the same as the next, so why would I want to spend time in Colorado?
Well, I read James A. Michener’s Centennial and I was hooked. Historic Colorado adds some vibrant and exciting pictures and has turned that novel into a subliminal movie. I might not normally be a fanatic when it comes to long walks but a walk in such country would be a thrill and well worth getting a little overheated for.
The author has a marvellous collection of photographs. The contemporary ones show the scenery to great advantage, and the black and white pictures show faces and places of those who made this land part of the USA, or whose land was taken to become part of the USA. Colorado is a state with an ethnic diversity that has helped to give it a cultural richness.
Historic Colorado offers tours of regions within the state and all have associated maps so it’s easy to choose the area that best suits your travel needs and interests. Each has a number of suggested trips with detailed directions, photographs and information to put your surroundings into historic context.
Colorado has an amazing past. Indians, Spanish, gold miners, settlers from the East have all left their mark, and sometimes scars, on the face of this land. The USA might be a new(ish) country but Colorado has a past that reaches back thousands of years and reflects human struggle and initiative. You’ll find mysterious ancient pueblos, breathtaking mountains, abandoned mines, iconic railways and the echo of pioneers. This is the real America that so many tourists, even American ones, seek.
Historic Colorado is a must-have book for all those who are planning a visit. Take this along with Centennial and you will have a trip of a lifetime… if you can fit it all into just one vacation.
Author: Claude Wiatrowski
Published by: Voyageur Press
Price: $22.99US, £13.99, $24.95CAN
Travel book review by Chrissie Walker © 2018