Colorado Springs is my secret lover.

It’s my guilty pleasure.

It’s my home.

I once hated this place with a passion before I realized that my sentiments were more misunderstood than anything else. Now, four years in, I identify more with parts of this city than I do with my hometown.

Sure, there are a lot of things to hate about Colorado Springs—some so irreconcilable that I struggle to confront them with utmost disgust—but slowly I’ve come to realize that there is something inherently great about this city.

After all, any city is whatever you make of it.

CC markets itself as drawing upon the spirit of the Rocky Mountain West. While I always thought that was a little cheesy, something about the romanticism of that idea captivates me. We are a wild bunch growing in a land that is defined by adventure and possibility.

Colorado Springs once was one of the mining meccas of the west, built upon the prosperity of gold-searching operations near Cripple Creek. There are a few houses around CC that are historical gold mines, built with money profiteered from sifting and digging.

I love that.

I love that I can drive twenty minutes and be alone in the wilderness with nobody around me for miles.

I love that I can drive a few hours and be at the helm of some of the best skiing in the world.

I love the cultural experience that accompanies every trip to Cy’s Drive-In.

There is a certain grit here that I’ve never experienced anywhere else in the world. It’s a kind of dirty, brave feeling that permeates through downtown. I always feel like there’s opportunity here.

I discovered this week that General William Jackson Palmer, who founded Colorado Springs in 1871 and then Colorado College shortly after, was born and grew up about a half hour from my childhood home in Delaware.

After serving for the Union during the Civil War, he relocated and adopted the Pikes Peak Region as his home. He was a pioneer who tied the Southwest together through railroad innovation and a vision.

While I’m not interested in war or railroads, I like the idea that I share a little bit of the same path that brought Palmer here 140 years ago.

One Sunday afternoon this summer, I drove up to the top of Pikes Peak on a whim, feeling guilty that I had waited four years to get anywhere near the Purple Mountain Majesty.

From the top of Pikes Peak, you are at the helm of the world.

If you look out past the donut shop and the tourists clamoring around with stuffed animals, you can see far out in every direction where the plains, mountains, and forests evaporate into the sky.

It’s bliss.

Jesse Paul


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