Preview: Trailblazers: A Rocky Mountain Road Trip

Ruby Wax;Melanie Brown; Emily Atack Trailblazers
Ruby Wax Melanie Brown and Emily Atack painting a mural on an outside wall

Series 1, Ep. 2/3

Three trailblazing women – Ruby Wax, Melanie Brown and Emily Atack – come together to re-trace the footsteps of intrepid Victorian explorer, Isabella Bird, whose exploits have largely been lost to history.

On the second leg of their journey, Ruby, Mel and Emily head deeper into the Rocky Mountains to Central City. Now known as a gambling hub, Isabella Bird travelled there during the Gold Rush, when it was penned ‘the richest square mile on Earth’. On the outskirts of Central City the trio explore a ghost town, abandoned when the gold dried up, and hunt for the treasures left behind.

In Isabella’s memoir, she describes the impact of mining and the worship of the “almighty dollar”. Ruby, Mel and Emily investigate the real meaning of the American Dream, then and now, and discuss their upbringings.

In Aspen, the billionaires’ playground, they experience the lure of dizzying wealth, as they indulge in a unique shopping experience at a store selling cowboy hats, some of which cost $6,000. Isabella wrote about her love of the mountains; Emily, Ruby and Mel take in the beautiful scenery whilst snow shoeing at the highest point on their journey so far.

Throughout their trip, they continue to channel Isabella’s adventurous spirit, including taking a stomach-churning off-road drive across Utah’s red rock desert, and meeting the modern-day Isabella Birds – people choosing to live a life without limits.

In Durango, home of Colorado’s historic steam railway, they meet members of the Native American Ute tribe, and learn about the impact the Gold Rush had on Native American tribes across the US.

Trailblazers – Rocky Mountain Road Trip

Monday at 9.00pm on BBC Two.

Image: BBC/Studio Ramsay/Jill Worsley.

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