Saturday, August 25, 2012

Off Road at Estes Park

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

At times it seemed more like we were off our rockers, especially when I was flying up and out of my seat! The appointment we were on our way to when we stopped to observe and shoot the Bighorn Sheep was a reservation to go off-roading. This was billed as their Panorama Peaks Tour. Never having done anything like this, I was expecting a nice ride in a Hummer through meadows like we had seen from the road, where we would enjoy looking up at panoramic views of the peak, perhaps even luck into some wildlife sightings. Hah! No wildlife would go where we were...only wild people!

I'll start with a photo of our guide, Phil (Rich says Will or Bill so who knows?), telling us what to expect...this is quite some time after we had left the safety of town.

Here is the trail we will travel for the next three hours, except for the many places where we leap over large bumps, careen around sharp curves, brush trees, and the places where we no longer have four wheels on the ground...I'm not kidding.

We only made two stops in the three hours we were off road in the forest. This first one was to use the outdoor privy, and by now I would have even been grateful for a bush...just let me out to see if I can still walk...haha! What a view at this stop, and this wasn't the best yet.

Here we are in the specially designed military-grade Hummer. As you can see, Phil, is securely seated near the ground while his passengers are flying out of their seats, straining against their lap belts with every lurch. No, there were no wimpy five-point safety harnesses here. But there was stadium seating so that you were seated high enough to truly experience each tilt, scrape, and bump. I am not exaggerating, not a bit; you've seen the trail.

Our next stop was mere minutes later at this lookout tower. 

After climbing this hill from where the Hummer was parked, then climbing several sets of stairs to the top, we finally saw the Panoramic Peaks that were advertised. I nearly stayed down with the two women who were on the tour with us, but I am so glad that I climbed to the top. I remember that the mountains in this next photo are called the Mummy Mountains...can you see the outline of a mummy lying on its back?

Here are a few scenes from the open roof-top deck of the lookout tower. It was such an incredible view!

And here are Rich and I standing in front of the Mummy Mountains.

Looking down from the tower, you can barely see the Hummer and our two companions.

So now we start our return trip, which was just as crazy. At times, only three wheels were on the fun! Hold on, here we go...

Rich sat in the top, back row and was having the time of his life!

Looking down on the town of Estes Park.

Back to civilization...with all my body parts in spite of the many times that I was thrown out of my seat as far as the lap belt allowed. Honestly, this was an absolute blast!

We were all still smiling when we returned to the parking lot. I must say that this was one of the most unusual days ever. Starting with our amazing Bighorn Sheep viewing and then taking this fabulous off-road tour, this day would be hard to top!

Lovin' Life ~~ On Our Many Adventures

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