I spied my brother-in-law and his daughter admiring Byers Peak, and snapped this quick photo of them. I liked the tender moment, as well as the sunrays coming from the upper right.
Today’s trek took us from the green lushness of mid-Colorado to the extremely stark landscape of southeastern Utah. Along the way, we had some fun.
A few years ago, we crossed the high passes in Colorado, and really suffered for it. Apparently, I don’t do elevations above 10,000 feet very well. This time, we took it easy, drank lots of water, and took breaks as we crossed the passes. We even took a short hike at the Gore Range trailhead after we passed through the Eisenhower Tunnel. It seemed to make a big difference in how we felt after crossing through the big mountains.
Along the way, we stopped at the Glenwood Canyon rest area. This is a fantastic area, with access to raft the river, trails to hike, and plenty of space to ride a bike. (In fact, I think we saw more cyclists at the rest areas than I usually see on the Katy Trail. Coloradans really seem to enjoy pedaling.) This was a luscious area, and we could’ve easily spent hours and hours exploring it. Utah beckoned, and so we plowed on.
We arrived in Moab, and got checked in to the Big Horn Lodge. This is a classic-design motel, with the rooms filled with log-construction furniture, and wood plank walls. Really a step back in time, but still including color TV, high speed internet, fridge and microwave. Very nice place.
However, the temperatures were not. When we rolled into town, it was 103 degrees, and miserable. It’s hard to describe what the heat is like — maybe like a blast furnace, or a kiln. It just takes your breath away as soon as it hits you.
Since it was around dinner time, we went down the street, and stopped at Pasta Jay’s. This was said to be the best Italian food in town, and there was absolutely no argument from me! I had a portabella mushroom cap, filled with diced chicken and ricotta cheese, served over spaghetti noodles and smothered in a tomato cream sauce. This was amazing, and something I wanna try to replicate at home on the Egg.
Having arranged housing, and with full bellies, we headed back to the motel for a restful night.
A little shorter leg today, and on this day, we began to see the mountains.
We had yet another uneventful drive today, with a few more stops to smell the posies. We once again stopped at the site of the world’s largest prairie dog. We’d stopped here some years ago with Siobhan, and while we didn’t go run through the animal pens, we did do a little shopping in the gift shop. Sometimes, you just need another rubber snake.
We kept expecting to see the mountains, and it seemed like it was forever before they finally showed themselves. In reality, we probably could’ve seen them sooner, but there was a fair amount of haze out there, so that kept us from seeing them until we were quite close to Denver.
Just seeing them makes my heart go pitter-patter, and reminds me of the first time I saw the Rockies, back in 1989. I’d gone to Cheyenne (from Omaha), and was driving down to Denver from there. I topped a hill and suddenly the Rockies showed themselves. I was smitten, and still am.
Tomorrow, we stab to Moab, where we’ll stay for five nights, taking short jaunts, and taking a whole bunch more photos.