After a summer as Campground Hosts on the Oregon Coast, we were hungry for MOUNTAINS! We fled 103 degree temps during a two week visit with Sally’s mom in Los Angeles for…early winter in Rocky Mountain National Park.
The National Park Service struggles mightily to keep Trail Ridge Rd. open over a 12,000 foot pass at the base of Long’s Peak (14,000 ft) for as long as possible in the Autumn. Unfortunately we didn’t time it right as winter conditions kept shutting down the road. We camped on the West side of the pass where the elk were still in rut, and on the East side for two great hikes in the Park….with a long drive around the outside of the park to string them together.
We fled Boulder after enjoying a long walk by their central creek, as the growth, traffic, and expense was surprising; it is the effect of Boulder’s identity as a high tech corridor…and Google building a new campus there for 1200 new employees. Instead we stayed downtown in Denver to visit the fabulous Denver Art Museum and the Botanic Garden.
Wow! The Botanic Garden is like a visit to Butchart Gardens in Victoria, B.C! No wonder so many Californians are moving here for the bike lanes and sophisticated city combined with easy access to the mountains.
We headed southwest to tackle three 10,000-12,000 ft. passes that close soon for winter. On the way over Independence Pass, we stayed for free at a Forest Service area that had a potty with a fabulous view…
We cleared the Pass and hustled on to the next one, with a free hot spring soak on the Crystal River…
Will we make it over our next two passes before the snow falls in earnest? We are hustling to get to those with muddy dirt/gravel roads first. Even if the roads are technically still open, without AWD, they just are not going to be available to us.