Australia gets a bad rap as the country/continent with the most things that want to kill us, and as such, kangaroo country could be considered the home of all things “Nope.” But which state in the U.S. has the biggest bounty out on residents and visitors alike? As a resident of Colorado, I’d argue it’s my home state. Here’s why.
1. Want to trigger the stereotypical Millennial (in a non-political way)? Take them to the mountains of Colorado. Why? Well, look at most cell phone reception maps. The western half of the state is littered with miles of no-coverage spots. So if you need a laugh, take the average Millennial camping in Colorado’s mountains, and enjoy your city-slicker friend’s episode when they realize no one can see their emojis scream. However, with no phone available to call for help, this becomes a danger in and of itself.
2. Technology aside, how else can the Centennial State kill you? The weather. Colorado’s as dry as a Steven Wright joke partially because it doesn’t have the humidity coastal states do (duh; Colorado’s landlocked). Hence the wildfires, which cause several other hazards of their own. Knowing that Colorado has a dry, arid climate with low humidity, it’s crucial to stay hydrated to avoid headaches, nausea, muscle cramps and other side effects of dehydration. But wait! There’s more! Don’t confuse climate and weather. The climate might be dry, but the weather’s a different story, as fresh snow during “summer” months at high elevations is possible. In essence, Colorado’s weather patterns are similar to those in Monty Python and the Holy Grail. “Winter changed into Spring, Spring changed into Summer, Summer changed back into Winter, and Winter gave Spring and Summer a miss and went straight on into Autumn.” Last year, for example, Denver saw record-breaking high temperatures one day, and within 24 hours, got hit with light snowfall. This proves that cold precipitation can strike at any time, and with wind, especially above the timberline … let’s just say you may not have to weather the storms of life if you can’t weather the Colorado weather.
3. A third problem in Colorado is the elevation. Make all the jokes you want about Colorado being high (hardy har har, like I haven’t heard that one before…), but elevation shouldn’t be taken lightly. Ever heard of altitude sickness? If you’re 8,000 feet or more above sea level (nothing out of the ordinary for most Colorado natives), you might feel its effects if you’re a “flat-lander,” as a Colorado friend so affectionately calls plains and coastal dwellers. Minor altitude sickness can give you symptoms similar to a hangover, but in severe cases, elevation can cause both “high altitude pulmonary edema” (HAPE), which is fluid in the lungs, and “high altitude cerebral edema” (HACE), or fluid on the brain, leading to death. Here’s a more obvious hint to Colorado’s elevation: Colorado is home to both the “Mile-High City” and the United States’ tallest town, Leadville, which rests at 10,152 feet (1.9 miles) above sea level.
This is a short list of some of the dangers in Colorado that aren’t as obvious as others, but with a little common sense, it’s easy to avoid these pitfalls. What dangers should visitors be aware of when coming your state?