And the Colorado rocky mountain high
I’ve seen it rainin’ fire in the sky
You can talk to God and listen to the casual reply
Rocky mountain high
(John Denver, “Rocky Mountain High”)
Well, we’ve spent 6 awesome weeks in Colorado and it’s just about time to come down off the mountain and head to the north. We’ve been quite smitten by the place and gotten well into the groove of mountain living.
We’ve experienced it all, from good ‘ol beer in Golden, to the frozen guy in Nederlands, to the top of the peaks on Mount Evans, and a few sore tushies in Grand Lake. It’s felt comfortable and homely, like slipping on an old glove, and we’ve absolutely revelled in it. But before we sprout tails and morph into the local wildlife, we’ll pull ourselves together for a quick Au Revoir and leave you with a few last impressions from our fabulous time here. As John Denver so aptly put it, there’s something altogether spiritual about the place.
The Colorado river winds through River Trail Open Space
The bridge on River Trail
The Blue Columbine. The Colorado State flower.
The mountains in all their glory
Cascade Falls in Rocky Mountain National Park
Water and pine combine to the divine
I’ve always loved the mountains. When I was a kid I thought they bought me to the top of the world. I still get that same feeling of awe when I stand atop the peaks. The horizon seems to fall away to infinity, your world is opened and a flood of impressions fall in place like a giant jigsaw puzzle. It’s a most humbling experience and also one of the most freeing ones you can have. Out here there are no boundaries and Mother Earth is bare and open for the touch.
Colorado has many of these moments especially in the awe-inspiring Rockie Mountains, the stunning range that runs 3,000 miles from Canada to New Mexico. We took one of these today and bagged a 14′er (that would be a 14,000-footer of a peak) in the process. The coolest thing is that you can do it too…in fact anyone can, even your dog.
Mount Evans is only ~35 miles from Golden and is the highest paved road in the US. Constructed in the 1930′s it rises from 8,700 feet at Idaho Springs to 14,130 feet (4,307 m) at the top parking and it’s a helluva ride. Once you get there, with a bit of panting and sweat you can hike another ~130 or so feet up to a grand total of 14, 264 at the summit. Sure, it’s not as glamorous as cramponing in the Alps, or ice-climbing in the Arctic, but you still get that sense of “ahhh” at the top and the views are truely breathtaking. Should you feel inspired you can then go bag the other 58 or so 14′ers in Colorado…just be prepared to walk a bit for those other ones.
Driving up to summit and into the clouds
View from the parking lot at Mt Evans
Paul poses at 14,264 feet
The gorgeous Summit Lake at 12,830 feet with Mt Spalding the back
A Marmot eyes us suspicously. They're also called mountain mice.