One of the highlights of my recent cross-country road trip was Estes Park, gateway to Rocky Mountain National Park. And how could it not be a highlight? Here is scenery that both inspires and excites in a corner of Colorado once called the ‘Switzerland of America.’ One of several wide valleys at around 8,000 feet, which include North Park, Middle Park, South Park, and Winter Park, Estes Park itself was renowned for its beauty. Continue reading
Posted in 19th C., American History, History of the West, The British in the West, Western Romance Literature
Tagged 4TH EARL OF DUNRAVEN, Colorado, Denver, Estes Park, Loveland, Rocky Mt. National Park, William Cody
We have to be thankful for the modern innovation of the tire gauge light. Without it, Cristal and I might have started across Trail Ridge Road and ended up with a flat tire on the top of a mountain, far from help. As it was, the inconvenience of sitting and waiting an hour and a half while it was worked on and patched was minor, and gave us the added benefit of an early start since we had to be at the tire place at 8 am.
Trail Ridge winds its way through spectacular scenery with an abundance of wildlife and wildflowers to please the jaded traveler. The varied tones color the land like a giant quilt. The hairpin bends, the twists and turns of the road, incur a leisurely journey through this patch of the Rockies,
Trail Ridge Road
this area of outstanding natural beauty. A stop in the popular, well-preserved western town of Steamboat Springs was also a delight; less flashy and more down to earth than Jackson, it had a laid-back feel that had us wanting to return for a less rushed visit.
Elk on top of Trail Ridge Road
But it was the road after Steamboat to Rock Springs, WY, from where I write, that had us in awe. Here were the wide open spaces of the west, here was the prairie the pioneers crossed on the Overland Trail, Chimney Rock, endless ranchlands, miles of sagebrush: SPACE. At times, the road ran beside the railroad, those seemingly endless trains taunting us with the unspeakable possibility of getting caught at a crossing. But at other times, the road met, for a few miles, the cross-poles of the telephone lines, standing like crosses on the Via Dolorosa. But there was no grief here, no pain, no suffering, no sorrow for us. If you’re a believer, it was God’s Country.
Canada Geese on my walk
The day started with all good intentions: Cristal ran her 16K, I walked my 3.75 miles, my blister from yesterday’s walk bound in gauze and two Band-Aids. Showered and changed, we jumped into the car, headed towards Rocky Mt. National Park…and discovered that the low-pressure tire gauge had come on. Uh-oh. Not good. While we had eschewed the one-way only Fall River Drive at 15 miles an hour on gravel with 12,000 ft. drops and no barriers, we are intending to go on Trail Ridge Road tomorrow, which promises to be somewhat more standard while still offering fabulous views. So, we finally figured out how to use our trusty tire gauge, found the guilty tire, and also discovered the local tire repair shop closed on Sunday. No Rocky Mt. NP for us today! Back at the hotel to collect one item, we opted for lunch. Bad decision. We waited over fifty minutes for salads to appear, effectively causing lunch to take an hour and a half all told.
The only thing left to do was to lick our wounds and eat some chocolate. A trip to Rocky Mt. Chocolate Shop
Cristal being comforted by a S’Mores Bar
was definitely called for. This, in turn, led to a spin round Estes Park village once more, which landed us in the Colorado Hat Shop that also just happens to sell books.
My book box is now seven books lighter, and Cristal and I are greatly enriched for some good conversation on the history of the west. Thank you, Ted and Susan Williams.