Old Colorado City is not, blessedly, as tacky as the signs make it out to be. It's more "artsy" and less "craftsy" than Manitou -- more high-end galleries, but fewer cool and funky stores. We poke our heads in all of them, and settle on a lovely vase made of white aspen as our art purchase for the trip. (It's now sitting in one of the bay windows at home.)
We have a quiet day, so decide to go for a short hike -- we wander a couple of miles along the Lower Columbine Trail, which starts right next to the inn. I am struck by a tree growing with an improbable bend in it: it appears to have slid down hill during a landslide, caught itself at about a 45 degree angle, and then kept going. So the base goes about ten feet out from the side of the hill (at said angle), and then it grows upward.
There's an enormous rock (well, enormous by MA standards, puny by CO standards) along the trail. Surrounding it is a brigade of Special Forces. As far as we can tell, it's some sort of training exercise that involves sitting around and schmoozing.
We drive to the top of North Cheyenne Canon. The original intent had been to drive all the way across, but when we get to the top, we discover that it turns into a single-lane dirt road, along the cliffside, for the next dozen or so miles. Between my dislike of heights, the imminent-looking rain, and the fact that we have dinner plans, I decide to wimp out and head back down.
We have dinner at an Italian restaurant with The Powers That Be of the Barony of Dragonsspine -- Seneschal, Baron, and so on. The theoretical intent is that we are to talk about The Care and Feeding of College Branches, but attempts to talk business fall pretty much flat. So we instead spend dinner swapping event horror stories and talking about Comparative SCA Politics, and have a fine time.
The evening's plan is my big commitment for the trip: teaching Dance Practice for Dragonsspine. I'm nervous: the question for one of these things is always "Will anyone show up?" Small dance practices are always a bit depressing, and most of the people at dinner beg off, so I'm a bit concerned. My worries prove unfounded, though: in fact, I get a really excellent turnout of 20-something people, many of whom are actually pretty good at period dance. Master Guillaume is from around that area, and it turns out that he has already taught them the bulk of the Old Carolingian Repertoire. Since the point of the evening is to teach them things they *don't* already know, I find myself challenged to dig deep for New and Different Dances, which is always fun.
This makes eight Kingdoms that I have taught dance in: East, Atlantia, Meridies (or Glenn Abhann, depending on how you count it), Middle (or Ealdormere, depending on how you count it), Aethelmearc, Ansteorra, An Tir and now Outlands. Unfortunately, they're creating Kingdoms faster than I can teach in them, but it makes for a fun collectible project.
We come within fifteen seconds of a perfect dance practice, but I make the mistake of finishing with The Dance of Doom -- Gathering Peascods, that most dangerous of activities. I'm in a goofy mood, so I run Polka Peascods. But between the rough pavement (we wound up dancing outside, on the porch of one of the university student centers), and her long dress, msmemory takes a spill during the "ladies go around and back out" part. She puts a brave face on it, but her shoulder is clearly in pain, so Mistress Elaina gradually talks her around to taking a trip to the emergency room. (Many thanks to her for escorting us to the best hospital in town.)
As we expected, the nurses in the ER look at her arm and the pain levels, and say, "Yep -- it's dislocated". As we *hadn't* expected, they come out of the X-Ray booth and correct themselves to, "Nope -- it's broken". After some discussion, we all agree that it will be better to deal with this when we get home, so they set her up in The Immobilizer, a contraption of stretchy material and Velcro, and send us on our way.
And so home. Overall, a fine trip, with only one disaster. (Which had the good taste to wait until the very end, when there was no remaining fun to spoil...)