Page 1

Colorado Seen

January 2011


Colorado Seen January 2011 GOING VERTICAL Colorado Spring’s Garden of the Gods has drawn climbers for decades. Now the locals also climb in neighboring Red Rock Canyon. 4 HIGH SCHOOL SOLDIERS Denver’s Montbello High School JROTC program undergoes a triennial inspection by the Army. 16 OUR LADY’S DAY Every December 12, Denver’s Catholic parish of Our Lady of Guadalupe celebrates its namesake, the patron saint of Mexico and the Americas, with a neighborhood parade. 30

Departments From the Editor 2 Just One More 42 On the cover A climber scales the sheer 320foot wall of North Gateway Rock at the Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs.

 Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps ( JROTC) cadets at Montbello High School in Denver watch their color guard team perform for Army inspectors Nov. 5, 2010.

Photographers ColoradoSeen is always looking for compelling photoessays about Colorado. Pitch your idea at

From the Editor ColoradoSeen is a year old, and this is the fifth issue in our new magazine format. We’ve made progress in tweaking the design for on-screen viewing (and plan to improve functionality with iPads and other devices very soon). We’ve published our first essay by a freelancer (Dean Krakel’s essay AspenFall in the Nov./Dec. issue). For 2011, we have several new projects in the works, including an ongoing story following JROTC students at Denver’s Montbello High School, the first segment of which begins on page 16. Above all, we’ll maintain our commitment to going behind the scenes and finding the little stories that don’t always get attention in the rush of daily news coverage. We hope you’ll find interesting and pleasant surprises in every issue. Happy New Year!

Colorado Seen A monthly internet magazine Editor & Publisher Andrew Piper We welcome comments and letters. Submit them to: To submit work or story ideas for consideration, send an e-mail to: If you would like to advertise in ColoradoSeen, send an e-mail to coloradoseen@ for information on rates and interactive links. Copyright © 2011 ColoradoSeen

In the last light of a short December day, Leanne Duran climbs a rock face in Red Rock Canyon Park west of Colorado Springs. Opposite, a climber scales another canyon wall beneath a layered outcrop.


Colorado Springs’ Garden of the Gods has inspired generations —but local climbers now often prefer the walls of Red Rock Canyon Park, just south across U.S. 24.

TEXT & Photographs by ANDY PIPER

Parks for inspiration . . . and for play

Garden of the Gods

←T o Pi ke s

Pe a

k an d



olorado Springs now has two destinations for rocky climbing. The 300-foot spires of Garden of the Gods have drawn climbers for decades, but a new city open space, Red Rock Canyon Open Space, now draws many of the local climbers. Opened on lands purchased by the city in 2003, its walls only reach 100 feet or so, but there are miles of them, containing over 80 routes for climbers. “I love this place,” says Jeremy Joiner of Colorado Springs, wrapping up a climb on the south face of Gray Rock in Garden of the Gods, “but usually we climb in Red Rock Canyon. It’s a great addition to our city. It takes some of the strain off Garden of the Gods.” Say Logan Berndt, belaying his climbing partner Leanne Duran in Red Rock Canyon, “There are 50 or more routes here in a compact area. If you come here with a couple of experienced climbers you can knock out 20 routes in a day.” Garden of the Gods is about sheer beauty, with towering pinnacles and paved walkways on a hilltop overlooking the city. Red Rock Canyon is about activities, a low valley with dirt paths for hiking, biking, horseback riding — and to get to the climbing routes. Red Rock Canyon even has some remaining industrial development from the last century — a quarry cut through one of the ridges. Although even a quarry can be scenic if cut from red Colorado sandstone. n

th P ark


Red Rock Canyon Open Space


Colorado Springs

Jeremy Joiner retrieves his rope after climbing on the south face of Garden of the Gods’ Gray Rock.

Becky and Katie Medved climb the trail through an abandoned quarry that splits one of the walls of Red Rocks Canyon as Pyramid Rock peeps over the rim.

Eli and Makenna pay little attention as their father J.P. watches their uncle Jo 10

on climb North Gateway Rock (following spread) in the Garden of the Gods. 11

The moon rises over a lightning-bolt crevasse in Garden of the Gods’ South Gateway Rock.

JROTC cadets of Montbello High School in Northeast Denver undergo their triennial inspection by the Army. First in a series on Montbello’s JROTC program


A Montbello High JROTC Cadet Corporal stands to attenion for inspection 16


n beneath an image of the school’s mascot — coincidentally, a warrior. 17

Cadet 2nd Lt. Gage Cline and other battalion staff (above) watch as Cadet Lt. Colonel Jacquelyn Villa, the battalion commander, briefs the visiting inspectors (right) on Montbello’s ROTC program. 18

TEXT & Photographs by ANDY PIPER


n 1916, federal law established the Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps as an elective program for U.S. high school students. Originally a recruiting program, it now focuses on citizenship and personal development and responsibility. Today there are 281,000 cadets nationwide.

Two hundred and forty six of those make up the cadet battalion at Montbello High School in northeast Denver. On Nov. 5, 2010, the battalion underwent a six-hour triennial inspection by the Army to ensure it was meeting standards. The battalion passed with a score of 96 per cent, earning cadets the

right to wear a gold star for performance. In addition to reviews of program paperwork and facilities, the inspection included a briefing of inspectors by the student staff officers, an inspection of all 246 individual cadets in ranks, a color guard exhibition, and a pass-in-review and competitive drill on the football field. 19

Cadet First Sgt. Sughrah Ishmaili makes a last-minute adjustment to the uniform of Cadet Staff Sgt. Jovanna Alvarez just before the formal inspection of ranks in Montbello’s gym.

Army Major Josh Dalton quizzes a cadet in ranks before inspecting her uniform and deportment.

A cadet captain awaits inspection with her company, above. At right, a member of the inspection team asks questions of Color Guard commander Cadet Sgt. Major Candy Gonzalez, second from right.


Montbello’s 246 cadets form up in five companies for the formal inspection.

Army Sgt. 1st Class Jeremy Price leaves no part of Cadet Cpl. Rafael Rodriguez’s uniform uninspected.



“Order ARMS! Left FACE! About FACE! Pre-sent ARMS!” Under the watchful eyes of inspectors, cadets snap to rapid-fire

commands on Montbello’s football field until tapped out for mistakes. Corporal Rafael Rodriguez and Private Akemi Cortez are the last cadets standing among first-year cadets.


Cadet Lt. Col. Autumn Bachmann orders a company into formation on Montbello’s football field in the final stage of the inspection. n

Parishioners carry a statue of Our Lady of Guadalupe through northwest Denver on her feast day, the 12th of December.


“Desde el cielo, una hermosa mañana La Guadalupana, La Guadalupana, La Guadalupan bajó al Tepeyac.”

The little parish church of Our Lady of Guadalupe in northwest Denver celebrates her feast day on the Sunday closest to Dec. 12 TEXT & PHOTOS BY ANDY PIPER


he words of the simple Mexican hymn echo through the streets of Northwest Denver. “From the heavens, one beautiful morning, the Guadalupana came down to Tepeyac.” The song tells the story of Our Lady of Guadalupe, patron saint of Mexico, who is said to have appeared to the native peasant Juan Diego in a cloud of light atop a hill in the out-

skirts of today’s Mexico City in December, 1531. Her image and a bouquet of flowers appeared in Juan Diego’s robe three days later, to prove his tale of the miracullous apparition to a doubtful bishop. Denver’s little parish of Our Lady of Guadalupe celebrates her feast day, Dec. 12, with a parade — singing, dancing in native Mexican costumes, and carrying her statue through the neighborhood.

n Click here to see and hear a folk version of the hymn La Guadalupana from Chiapas, Mexico. 32

Beads flying, a dancer in Mayan costume swirls outside the church before the parade.


The parade blends Catholic tradition with native Mexican dance and costume. Images of the Virgin of Guadalupe, always surrounded by a glowing aura, appear everywhere.


Parishioners, carrying a portrait of Our Lady, Juan Diego and his bishop, lead the parada through the streets, while a dance troupe leader blows a conch shell to call the faithful.


Roses in wintertime are a symbol of the Virgin of Guadalupe, who placed flowers in the robe of Juan Diego to prove her miraculous powers to a doubting bishop.

Miriam Moreno takes a snapshot of Wendy Hernandez, 6, in front of a shrine to 40

Our Lady of Guadalupe, bedecked with candles and flowers on her feast day. 41

Just One More: Dog-tied

Visitors to Denver’s Red Rocks Amphitheater get wrapped up by pets on 42

a snowy December day in 2006.

ANDy Piper/ColoradoSeen


ColoradoSeen 1_2011  

A photo magazine about Colorado

ColoradoSeen 1_2011  

A photo magazine about Colorado