Colorado has been wild and wonderful since the very mountains were violently sculpted into their current, glorious beauty. Plains stretch as far as the eye can see, peaks soar into the heavens, the woods range from deep pines to rugged scrub, hot springs, and desert dunes - and all of it teaming with deer, elk, bighorn sheep, mountain lion, bear, and bobcat. The plains held buffalo before they were hunted to scarcity, mustangs after those herds began running wild.
Any new visitors from the east before 1861 were considered the pioneers. Most of those who were brave or foolish enough to try this dangerous country were either daring explorers or native Utes or Apaches, accustomed to the harsh winters and brutal summers. At that time, Colorado was not a welcoming settlement; however, the gold found in the mountains and rivers was enough inducement to bring some 10,000 here.
However, on February 26, 1861, Colorado was changed from the wild frontier into a United States Territory, and it would remain so until 1876. Yes, one hundred years after the signing of the Declaration of Independence, Colorado joined the crowd - and so became known as the Centennial State. Anyone who arrived during these fifteen years were to be known as territorial sons or daughters of Colorado. I love that phrase. The idea that new countries could be so welcoming, so rough, so free, that only arriving there marked you as having been made by that land, well, rings as very true.
This was the era of expeditions and adventures. As the gold ran out, the sons and daughters of the new state had to choose to build Colorado into something more than a series of empty mining towns or try their luck elsewhere.
The ones that stayed discovered something more. Colorado wasn't just a one-stop-shop for gold and silver nuggets and a good story: the real treasure was the land. The land stayed the same: it was the people who learned to adapt to it. It takes a certain breed, a longing for the high places and clear air. All you have to do is taste it to know the thrill those who came seeking it over the last two centuries.
What are you waiting for? The mountains are calling, and Latigo is waiting for you.