Evelyn’s birthday was the official bookend to our 4 month trip and so the day after her birthday party we left to head back to Utah. Our first night after leaving Kansas City was spent about an hour west of Denver which provided an ideal jumping off point for a midday hike. We had hoped to be able to do a hike or two in Glenwood Canyon but the trails specified no dogs allowed so we decided to just wing it.
After four months of relative lowland hiking I had been itching to get back into the mountains and as we drove up the eastern side of the Rockies on I-70, my heart began to sing. Not just in that wow-that’s-beautiful way but like that my-chest-feels-like-its-exploding-in-joy type of way. It was one of those moments where I was just so happy to be exactly where I was.
As we approached Copper Mountain Tom decided to pull over next to this gorgeous lake for a walk. As it so happened, this was the trailhead for the Gore Range Trail in White River National Forest so after puttering around the lake, we began ascending through pine and aspen forest interspersed with open meadows. I swear I was so excited I could have continued hiking for another ten miles despite the fact that the trailhead was at 9,700 feet and we were well over 10,000 when we started thinking about turning around. It was just so beautiful that I didn’t even notice that I was in fact breathing much harder on the ascents since we’d been more or less at sea level for a couple weeks. In any case, I took a ridiculous number of trail pictures but I culled the number of photos I was going to post that featured a dirt path.
After resuming our drive we quickly reached the summit at Vail Pass before beginning our descent. As anyone who has driven I-70 through Colorado knows, this is just a fantastic stretch of road that seems to just get better and better. It was amazing to be a passenger this time, able to gape and take photos without having to pay attention to anything else. Driving through Glenwood Canyon in particular was a delight; I was able to see all sorts of details I had missed before.