Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Continental Divide to Vail

We have crossed the Continental Divide on several different passes but Independence Pass on Hwy 82 out of Aspen is a favorite. Some sources cite this as the highest paved road crossing the Continental Divide; to us it's the most scenic. The road is narrow with lots of twists and turns with room for only one vehicle in places so caution is required. This road is only open from Memorial Day through the first snows.

From Glenwood Springs we drove through Aspen,

past groves of our favorite trees...Aspens, of course,

on a mountain road that was only one lane in places with high rock walls and steep drop offs,

which twisted and turned through the trees.

This is simply a fun, rear view mirror shot; see Bella peeking around me?

The views were gorgeous because we are in Colorado. Need I say more?

We stopped to check out the historic town of Independence which was a booming gold town for just a few years in the 1800s. It's now referred to as a Ghost Town but I don't know why. The history of the town does make for interesting reading though if you want to look it up, especially the winter of 1899.

Even though we are going down in this next shot, overall we continued to gain elevation,

climbing and climbing,

until we reached the alpine tundra

of Independence Pass on the Continental Divide.

We walked up to the Lookout Point,

which provides yet more glorious views!

It was chilly up there so Rich and the girls went on down to the car but I stayed to shoot photos of some plants that grow in the tundra

and captured this Least Chipmunk (isn't this a great shot!),

along with more views of the roads we would be taking down the other side of the Divide.

This photo shows a portion of the Sawatch Range in the Rocky Mountains, including the highest peak in Colorado which is Mount Elbert at 14,433 ft. Several of the 54 Fourteeners in Colorado are located in the Sawatch Range.

There were hairpin curves as we headed down the other side

and the beginnings of the Arkansas River in the valley below.

Just past the little town of Twin Lakes, we turned onto Hwy 24 to drive into historic Leadville. We had visited the Mine Museum there several years ago but didn't stop here today. It rained around Leadville which made it tough to shoot through the windows the rest of the day.

Out of Leadville, we turned onto Hwy 91 for a look at part of Colorado we had not seen before...more beautiful country.

When we reached I-70 at Copper Mountain, we headed west toward Vail which was our goal for a mid-afternoon lunch. Rich has skied here but I had never been to Vail until today. This was the sign as we walked out of the parking garage.

Vail Village is everything I had ever heard and more. There are so many shops, restaurants, hotels, condominiums, sculptures, fountains, bridges...the place just oozes ambiance.

We picked The Ore House for lunch because of the outdoor dining area. Just like the restaurant staff at Snowmass, a bowl of water was immediately brought to The Girls with frequent refills. Dogs are loved and honored in Colorado.

So many people came up to us to ask what breed The Girls are and to oooh and aaah over many that our food was getting cold...haha! The food was great and the service impeccable; this place is highly recommended, even if you don't take a dog with you! Dora is clearly seen here but don't miss Bella, just over Rich's shoulder, who is being petted by a woman behind him.

As we were leaving the Village, Rich stopped for a photo with a local!

We hopped back on the I-70 to complete our circuit and return to our RV Park. The sun shining through our rain-spattered windows didn't provide many good photos of the scenery for the rest of the drive. To my mind though, the most beautiful interstate driving in the country is the I-70 from its beginning at I-15 in Utah to Denver...magnificent scenery. Here are just a couple of today's shots.

This last one shows the Colorado River just before it curves around and passes our RV Park, which is at the next exit. More about the river on Friday...yikes!

Lovin' Life ~~ and Colorado

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please leave a comment, I love reading them!