July 14, 2016
Part of our sojourn this year will be to revisit places we saw on our first big adventure together in 1980. We did a 9,000 mile trip that summer and one of the places we ventured to was the top of Mt. Evans in Colorado. Once again, we traveled up the highest paved road in North America to an elevation of 14,100+ feet and trudged to the top (14,270 feet above sea level). We were fortunate to see mountain goats and bighorn sheep up there and more people than we remember the last time.
You can see Summit Lake below.
We hiked from the parking lot to the top.
Mountain goats near the summit.
After coming down from the summit, we headed west on Interstate 70, We usually avoid interstates, but this drive took us through beautiful Glenwood Canyon where we stopped at one of the nicest rest areas we have ever seen. After camping at Rifle Gap State Park, we explored northern Colorado and ended up at a campground in Routt National Forest. We stopped for a short hike (and an old geocache) at Cameron Pass. Pulling back onto the highway we immediately encountered three bull moose grazing. The nearby town of Walden claims to be “the moose capital of Colorado” and there they were!
moose at Cameron Pass
Our next destination was Rocky Mountain National Park – our last visit was in 1997. We spent 4 wonderful days – 2 on the west side, then drove over the continental divide (again!) to spend 2 days on the east side. We did a hike with a park ranger and several more on our own. We saw more moose, lots of elk, and 8 bighorn sheep. Evening amphitheater programs are one of the ways we like to end each day in a national park. (Geocaching note: We completed the “Across the Divide” Geotour and earned two lovely coins from the Grand Lake/Estes Park Chamber of Commerce.)
4 bull elk with antlers near the Continental Divide, RMNP
It's hard to see the 8 bighorn rams in the rocky terrain; good camo!
Bear Lake, RMNP (some Kissell kids might remember this place)
We moved down to lower elevation to the Boulder area for a visit to one of Brian's old neighbors from Johnstown, Penn. They lived two doors down from the Kissells about 55 years ago. Roaming the country as we do, we are fortunate to be able to re-establish ties with long-time friends and relatives.
Bill and Barb (Hetrick) Spence, Brian and Kris, Marge Hetrick (seated)
On to Wyoming! From this point on, we have no set schedule – no campground reservations, no appointments to keep... we are truly free to wander at will. Our first night in Wyoming brought us to Guernsey State Park. Surprising scenery and topography. We camped at a site overlooking the reservoir. The next morning, we backtracked down the highway a bit to visit Fort Laramie National Historic Site (no mules to greet us this time). Back to the state park to visit some of the structures built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s. They were build to last and are remarkable sturdy. Many of the state parks in Texas have buildings constructed by the CCC. Before leaving the town of Guernsey, we stopped at two Wyoming State Historic Sites: Oregon Trail Ruts and Register Cliff.
view from our campsite in Guernsey State Park
picnic shelter build by the CCC
railroad cut - Guernsey State Park
We are now spending the day in Thermopolis, WY after driving through the scenic Wind River Canyon. Later today we will soak in the thermal pool at the State Bath House for free... no need to seek out a shower today.
travertine terrace, Hot Springs State Park, Thermopolis
Next stop . . . Tetons National Park in western Wyoming.