Today I only did one sightseeing activity, but it was the "ultimate Trip" for this whole itinerary. Imagine riding on the world's biggest and scariest roller coaster, and you might come close to this, but not quite close enough. I drove up to the summit of Mount Evans on the highest paved road in the USA.
It was fourteen miles of two-lane road with no guardrails, numerous blind hairpin turns, and bicyclists competing with the automobiles. Around every turn was a new surprise. sunday is probably not the best day to drive to the summit, as there is more traffic than on any other weekday.
I won't even attempt to name all the peaks and lakes and such in the photos, but most of the mountains in the area are over 10,000 feet high, and I was looking down at them. After all, the summit of Mount Evans is 14,164 feet above sea level, 54 feet higher than Pikes Peak.
It was a cloudy day on the mountain, and there was some rain and light snow as I reached the higher elevation. In a few breaks in the clouds, Denver was visible in the distance forty or so miles away.
About halfway up the mountain is a parking area for Summit Lake Park. There are hiking trails down to the frigid lake, and it is situated in a mountain bowl that towers over the surface. Oh, I should mention that the parking lot is not paved, so the going can get rough in there. Summit lake is a photographers dream, and it is seen in many ads and other media where an alpine setting is called for. I'm not sure where the name for the lake came from, since it is nowhere near the summit of Mount Evans.
There were signs at the parking area at the top of Mount Evans warning of altitude sickness, dizziness and worse. I thought it more appropriate to post those signs at the beginning of the road rather than at the top. I did feel dizzy and short of breath, so I took it slow and easy on the descent, and stopped often for pictures.
Overall, I'd say Mount Evans is the pinnacle (pardon the pun) of John Denver's "Rocky Mountain High" for the feeling of exhilaration it gave me every moment I was on that road. I hated to have to leave.
I hope you have enjoyed the descriptions and the pictures. They were taken with a simple point-and-shoot Kodak camera, but I can’t say enough about how good they turned out.
If you have any plans to travel the route I took, I hope you will do as I did, and use computer aids like Google Earth to scope out the sights to be seen. I couldn’t have done half of the things I did without the advance planning I did.
As for me, I’m already planning my trip next summer. I think I’ll travel around Lake Michigan with emphasis on the Upper Peninsula and stops at every lighthouse I can find. I like lighthouses anyway, and there are about a hundred on that lake alone.