The Niwot Curse predicts the change from hippie to yippie in the Boulder Valley and holds me prey here longer than expected…
After spending far more time in southeastern Colorado than anticipated I made my way inward towards Boulder, Colorado- famous for being an eclectic hippie town. I had been here two years ago training with Interweave Dance Company and fell in love. There were Tibetan stores, an abundance of Indian and other delicious vegetarian cuisine, and hippies stopping in the middle of a busy street to hug a local tree. After visiting Manitou Springs I was set in the mood to jump right back into this landscape. Unfortunately, as many locals have pointed out to me, Boulder has evolved quite a bit in the short time since I last visited. And apparently I missed out on the true hippie nature of Boulder as this evolution has been ongoing for about a decade now.
Don’t get me wrong, Boulder is still weird and wonderful in its own way. However it has transitioned from hippie to yippie as of late. Boulder’s origins consist of cliche characteristics that led to developing an eclectic and open minded society. From what I’ve learned from locals and the few tours I have participated in around town, Boulder was your picturesque cliche mountain town filled with bright eyed non-conformists back in the 60’s. There were escapades of people picking tea leaves in the mountains and researching the most appeasing flavor combinations, there were herbalists and horticulturists moving here to foster and share their wisdom, people were experimenting with music and art, a Tibetan Buddhist traveled to the area and had an extraordinary influence on the culture, travelers such as Jack Kerouac have rooted here, and there was the start of the infamous gardening operations of some of the finest Mary-J. This in combination with the high volume of university students in the area has led to quite a unique and eccentric culture that for many many years set Boulder apart from much of the rest of the country.
However anytime a really great community of like minded people of this type is established, it is only a matter of time until it is discovered by the greater public. This leads to an influx of people visiting and moving into the area, which attracts businesses and eventually the town becomes saturated with those looking to reap financial benefits off of the lifestyle established by those who originated in the town. The sad thing is that this kills off the vibe and status quo that attracted people to the area in the first place and drives the artists and the original inhabitants away to find the next area of sanctuary. This is precisely what happened in Boulder. Hence the term used by many locals : Yippies. You will still find the locals of Boulder doing interpretive dance in the parks, you will still find community yoga and meditation meetups. The town still fosters an open and accepting society. However, the majority of the people living, playing, and working in town are no longer down right hippies. The influx of businesses has driven up the cost of living and drove out the die-hards. What the town now embodies is yuppies with a hippie mindset. Still an interesting town to explore to say the least.
A town of this nature has so many activities to offer. And I have been lucky enough in my time here to have many people to explore the town with; between a college friend who moved just a little ways north, a friend from back home flying in for a week, and the locals I met around town and through the Couch-Surfing app, I have spent little to no time alone so far. And my timing landing in this town is pretty curious as well as I arrived here just as I was beginning to run out of resources. You may have wondered what awarded Boulder with the privilege of getting a post so long that required an overview to begin. This coincidental timing has led me to linger a while longer to reap the benefits of the resources available to me in an area of this type- an open minded, generous environment that is keen to dealing with travelers passing through. Many of which never leave. Now, I do have FULL intentions of continuing my travels westward and, with fingers crossed, to the remainder of the U.S. states. But I will leave you with this: Niwot’s Curse.
According to Chief Niwot, a native american who visited Boulder Valley back in the day, the curse of the town is its beautiful landscape. He claimed that “People seeing the beauty of this valley will want to stay, and their staying will be the undoing of the beauty”.
This article is just a tease as to what is to come… stayed tuned for my next posts to learn all about my crazy wonderful experiences here in Boulder so far.