Trip in Fall to Colorado Rockies 2017

 

First Day. Saturday. September 23, 2017. Denver to Rocky Mountain National Park.

Landed at the Denver Airport after a good flight from the Newark Airport in New Jersey.

Rented a Ford Fusion automobile.

7239 miles odometer. Approximately.

7278.5

Clear Creek Canyon Park on the right side. Route 119.

Central City is 18 miles away.

There is a stream on the left.

7278.9 odometer. Mile marker 271.

Mile marker 270. A tunnel.

7280. A pull-off.

Mile marker 269.

Huntsman Gulch.

Mile marker 267.

Mile marker 266.

7284 odo. River on the right. Itís very busy with traffic.

Second tunnel.

265 odo. Third tunnel.

Mile marker 264.5. Elk Creek. Route119.

Mayhem Gulch Trailhead.

Mile marker 262, Rt. 119.

Long fenced walkway for hikers.

Mile marker 1 in Gilpin County.

Mile marker 2. Cottonwood Creek.

Mile marker 4

Smith Hill Creek.

Town of Black Hawk. Lots of gambling casinos: Golden Mardi Gra Casino, Gold Mine Casino and many others. Also a marijuana dispensary.

Mile marker 6. Hotel Monarch.

Mile marker 10. 7299 odo.

Missouri Creek.

Pickle Creek.

Mile marker 10.5. Lots of fog.

Mile marker 13.5. Fog gone.

Lots of yellow-leaved trees.

Mile marker 16.5. Temporary fog.

Very foggy.

Rollinsville.

Traffic jam in Nederland. Itís a relatively big town. Lots of shops and restaurants.

Mile marker 55.

Mile marker 54. Pick up Route 7 north.

Mile marker 88 on Rt. 7.

Wild Basin Area is within the Rocky Mountain National Park.

Funny looking church set on a rock.

Mile marker 10

Mile marker 9. Longís Peak Road.

Mile marker 4. Estes Park city limits.

Mile marker 3. We saw 10 elks, one with big horns.

Somehow I got all turned around in my sense of direction and it took awhile to get to our Best Western Hotel at 7361.5. We will stay here for three nights.

Sunday. September 24, 2017. 2nd Day.

Rocky Mountain National Park.

7364 odometer.

Mm 61 on Rt. 34..

Mm 59. Fall scenery.

Gateway.

Fall River Visitorís Center.

Photo of welcome sign and entrance station. We are informed that visitors can go only 8 miles into the park because of the heavy fog.

7371.6. An open area with a little creek.

7372. Where the elk play.

7372.2. Sheep Lakes area.

7373. West Horseshoe Park. A lot of visitors are taking photos of the yellow foliage. Rosemary joins in with the other photographers.

At the Nan Meadow, there are some elks. We can hear the calls of the elks.

7373.6. A pull-off known as Horseshoe Park. Beautiful scenes of an open area. A plaque talks about the Woodpecker Army.

7374.5. We reach a T-intersection and turn left onto Route 36. Two elks are waiting to be photographed.

7373.9. Hidden Valley.

7382. We turn the car around and take the right turn at that T-intersection. We take the short drive but are turned around by a road closed sign.

7386. We are back on Route 36. There are more elk viewing.

We pass by Upper Beaver Meadow.

7388.7. We make a right turn onto Bear Lake Road that will take us to Bear Lake.

Elk herd on the left.

Moraine Park.

7390. Open meadow with mountains in the background.

7391.4. Tuxedo Park Picnic Area.

7395.3. Storm Pass.

7395.4. Bierstadt Lake.

7395.9. Get more foliage photos.

Glacier Gorge parking area is packed.

7398. We park at Bear Lake. There are few facilities, like gifts, food or a visitor center. Thereís only restrooms and a small ranger station. Bear Lake is not very large. Because of the fog the lake photos will look foggy too.

7400. An overlook place and more foliage photos.

7402. Creek and a picnic area.

7409. Beaver Meadow Visitor Center. Bought some souvenirs at the center.

Since we run out of roads to travel in the national park, we decide to travel on Rt. 7s to take photos that we could not take on our first day of the vacation.

We take Maryís Lake Road that soon connects us to Rt. 7. Rosemary takes photos of a boulder rock formation on Rt. 7.

7415. We stop at Lily Lake. Itís a lovely lake.

7420. Pass by mm 10 on Rt. 7 and pull-over for photos for the church on a rock.

Turn the car around and return to Estes Park. We eat at the Mexican Grill for an early dinner. The food was good. After the meal, we went downtown to go shopping.

Monday. September 25, 2017. 3nd Day.

Rocky Mountain National Park.

7433 odo.

A clear day!! Yeah!!

We go back to the Rocky Mountain National Park.

7435. Whitish rock on the left. White snow topped mountains too.

7438. Come to a valley.

7440. We are now within the national park. Mountains ahead.

7441. A meadow with mountains in the background.

7441. At the foothills of the mountains.

7442. West Horseshoe Park.

7442. Lookout place over the valley.

7443. Horseshoe Park.

7444. Longís Peak. We finally are able to see Longís Peak on this clear day.

7446. We had skipped Upper Beaver Meadow, so now we drive down the road into the place. Thereís a big open area here.

7447. Thereís a picnic area here.

7447. We reach the end of the road where there is a parking area. We enjoyed the area with yarrow, purple asters, conifers with red bark, alders by a stream and cottonwoods.

7448. Leaving Upper Beaver Meadow.

7449. Took more pictures of yellow foliage.

7450. Took photos of houses on the slopes.

7453. We went back on Route 7 in order to get better photos using the Maryís Lake Road connection. We took pictures of Maryís Lakes.

7454. Photos of a bit mountain with lots of yellow highlights.

Quick stop at Lilyís Lake.

Couldnít get shots of Longís Peak because of the low hanging clouds. That was a disappointment.

Took more photos of the Church-on-the-Rock.

Now turn around to got back to Estes Park.

7466. Took photos of Estes Park from the Sinclair gas station.

7467. Took photos of Lake Estes that is a big lake,

7470. Took photos of the Stanley Hotel. They are really putting up a lot of buildings. Film of the main hotel was used for the exterior shots of the 1980 movie The Shinning with Jack Nicholson. (Other exterior shots of the Timberline Hotel at Mount Hood in northern Oregon were also used in the movie.)

We stopped at a Christmas shop and bought some decorations.

We had dinner at Nickyís Steakhouse on 1350 Fall River Road, Estes Park. We both had filet mignon and it was delicious. Highly recommended.

Tuesday. September 26, 2017. 4th Day.

Rocky Mountain National Park to Leadville.

7480 odometer. We decided to take Route 34 east to get onto US 25s to go back to Denver.

Mile marker 66. Go along the Bob Thompon River

Mile marker 67 equals 7483 on the odometer.

In a valley.

We saw our first big horn sheep along the Rt 34 east amidst the mountains.

Before mm 76. We bypass Glenhaven.

The road is narrow and winding. This road is prettier than Route 7.

We are now on flat land.

Mm 84. Open meadow.

Red mesa on the left.

Before mm 85.

In Loveland with doubles lanes in each direction

Mm 96. 7512. Pick up Rt. 25s.

There are lots of big farms on flat lands along Route 25

7527. Stop for gas at a Shell station near Longmont.

7550. See Denver skyline.

7554. Pick up US 76 west.

Reach Wheat Ridge at mm 268.

Before Exit 253 we see snow-covered mountains.

Bypass Exit 228 for Mt Evans off of Route 70 heading south.

Exit 228 (7600). Reach Georgetown off of US 70.In the visitorís center we bought a Colorado book of photos, a pretty hot plate and some sweat shirts. We then drove west to see the historic business district. We took photos of the Alpine House (a firehouse) at 6th and Taos Street, enjoyed Opheliaís Antiques, and several more stores.

Back on US 70.

Before mm 223 (7606) we stopped for photos.

7627. Stopped to get photos at the Dillon Reservoir.

7634. Get off US 70 west to get on Rt. 91. We are 24 miles away from Leadville.

Mm 20.

Robinson Lake.

7645. Summit of Freemont Pass.

Mm 11. Horseshoe bend.

Arkansas River, which originates in the Rocky Mountains National Park.

Mm 6. San Isabel National Forest.

Mm 2. The Arkansas River.

Reach the junction with Rt.24s.

7656. We reach Leadville. The name of the hotel is the Silver King Inn right on Route 24.

We went to the National Mining Hall of Fame and Museum located off the main street (at 120 West 9th Street.) Itís a large building. They have a large and wonderful rock collection. There are all kinds of mining equipment and a photo area filled with portraits of minors at work.

Wednesday. September 27, 2017. 5th Day.

Leadville to CaŮon City.

7662 odometer.

Rosemary tells me that itís supposed to snow today.

Mm 178 (7665.)

Mm 179.

More farms.

Running along a ridge.

Arkansas Headwaters.

Mm 183. Mt. Ebert.

Very cloudy today.

Stopped at 7674. Mountain photos from the back of Moose Haven Condominiums.

Mm189 lots of cows.

Narrow valley.

Mm 190. Junction with 82w.

Granite.

Clear Creek River.

Mm199. Leaving San Isabel National Forest.

Mm 201. In a valley.

Mm 208. Mountain Park.

Mm 209. Buena Vista, pretty good sized town. Have a Best Western Hotel.

Mm 212. Mt. Princeton. Turn left to stay on Rt. 24.

7700 odo. Johnson Village.

Mm 214..Collegiate Peaks area: Yale, Princeton, Harvard.

Mm 215. Pretty drive here.

Mm 219. San Isabel National Forest.

Mm 220. Castle Marsh Gulch.

Mm 222. Big meadow on the left.

Mm 226. An outlier.

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Rt. 285. Here I make a mistake by taking Rt. 285 instead of staying on Rt. 24.

Mm164. Big open area.. Sure is flat here.

Mm 167. Wide open area on the right.

South Fork of the Platte River.

Mm 185. Going up Red Hill Pass with red rocks.

Mm 194. Tarryall Creek.

Mm 196. Michigan Creek.

Pass through the very small town of Jefferson.

Now I realize that Jefferson is north of Rt. 24. We turn around and return to Jefferson

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In Jefferson we take a short-cut to get back to Rt. 24. We take Rt. 77se down to Rt. 24 a little before the town of Lake George.

Along the way we saw some very lovely landscapes.

Mm 1.

Mm 7. We go along a creek. Farmland and cattle.

Mm 16-17. Tarryall.

State Wildlife Area.

7774 odo. Stopped for photos.

Mm 23. Nice valley.

7779 odo. Fog crawling down the mountain rocks. Red rocks.

Mm 28. Pass a Dude Ranch.

See mixed red and gray rocks.

7796 odo. We get back to Rt. 24.



Spinny Mountain State Park.

South Platte River.

Lake George, small.

Florissant Fossil Bed National Monument is 4 miles away.

We reach the national monument.

The first stop was the Homestead. We took photos of the place.

Next stop was the Visitorís Center.

Mm 277. Town of Divide.

Woodland Park.

Mm 288. Eustola.

Mm 289. Green Mountain Falls.

Mm 293. Fountain Avenue leads up to Pikeís Peak. We pass it by because we know its too foggy to see much.

Manitou Springs.

Mm 299. Garden of the Gods was our next stop.

7837 Arrive at the garden. Start taking photos at the entrance. Then we go to the Trading Post to get souvenirs.

Pull-offs at:

P6 for the Kissing Camels;

P8 bypass;

P10 Cathedral Spires.

Thursday. September 28, 2017. 6th Day.

CaŮon City to Montrose.

7918 odometer.

Leaving

Leaving CaŮon City.

Mm 289.

Dreary everywhere. Raining again.

Correctional Facility.

Mm 277. Red rocks.

7 miles to go to the Royal Gorge.

Left turn for Route 3A.

7938 odo. Parkdale. Parallel with the Arkansas River.

Mm 266.

Mm 264. Narrow Valley.

Mm 263. Lots of railroad cars temporarily abandoned on the tracks.

Mm259. Itís nice to have a river next to us.

Mm 254. Red and gray rocks.

Wilderness area.

Mm 252. Texas Creek.

Reddish boulders.

Mm 246. Cotopaxi.

Mm244. Canyon Tui Poss Recreation Area.

Mm 242. Coaldale.

Mm 240. Vallie Bridge.

Mm 238. Howard.

Rincon Recreation Site.

Swissvale.

Mm 227. Wellsville.

Mm 223. Salida. Has a big "S" on a mountain top.

Montrose is 130 miles away.

Right turn to go by Poncha Springs. Then bear left.

Gunnison is 66 miles away.

Mm 214. Farmland.

Mm 210. Narrow valley.

Mm 208. San Isabel National Forest.

Mm 207. Photos of the valley.

Mm 206. Monarch Pass Summit.

Garfield.

Back into the mountains.

Mm 203. Monarch Park.

Mm 202. Monarch Mountain photos.

Mm 200. Snow in the mountains.

Mm 201. See some blue sky.

Mm 196. Agate Creek

Mm 194. Descending into the open valley ahead

Mm 192. We are now down in the valley.

Land of Many Uses.

Mm 191. Sargents.

Mm 189. Tomichi Creek.

Nice weather for a change. Sagebrushes on the mountains. Hilly area.. Wide open area on the left.

Mm 182. Gunnison County. Flat ground now

Mm 177. Dolyeville.

Mm 170. Parlin.

Mm 166. Junction with Rt. 114s

8048 odo. Reach Gunnison.

Mm 152. Curecanti.

Mm 146. Steven Creek.

Mm 145. North Village.

Mm 144. Itís like desert land in this section.

Mm140. White cliffs on the right side.

Mm 139. Blue Mesa Reservoir.

Mm 138. Red Creek.

Reached the Middle Bridge just before the Dillon Pinnacle. While waiting for our lane to have a chance to cross the bridge, we went into the parking lot for the Dillon Pinnacle. We decided to go back a moderate amount of road to go to the Elk Creek Visitorís Center.

Mm 136. Go over the middle Bridge.

Mm 133. Sapinero.

Mm 132. Cross bridge.

Pine Creek photos

Before mm 130. While waiting in another road delay, Rosemary takes photos.

Mm 125. Descending.

Mm 124. Road flattens out.

Montrose County.

Mm 114. Cimarron.

Mm 108. Cerro Summit.

Lots of sages.

Mm 101. Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park.

Mm 99. Western Museum.

Mm 96. Montrose.

8227 odo. Holiday Inn Express. At East Niagara Road off S Townsend Avenue.

Friday. September 29, 2017. 7th Day.

Montrose to Black Canyon of Gunnison and back to Montrose.

8128 Odo.

5 mile to Black Canyon

First stop is #10, Tomichi Point. First of 12 stops. This is a good viewing point. A another good one is Painted Walls. Here are what looks like gun sights.

Second stop is #9, South Rim, South Rim Visitorís Center and Gunnison Point Overlook. Saw a black-billed Magpie; Douglas Fir; sage; shrub oak; and a mule deer. Terrific views from the outlook

Third stop is Pulpit with great views.

Cross Fissures. There is a small section of the view of the Gunnison River.

Rock Point photos.

Devilís Lookout. No photos.

Chasm View. Long views of the river below.

Painted Wall. Huge walls with white ribbons running through the brown walls.. We saw Spanish bayonet, Juniper tree, a piece of the river, and a painted wall.

Cedar Point.

Dragon Point.

Sunset Views. Photos.

High Point.

Head back to Montrose.

Saturday. September 30, 2017. 8th Day. Montrose to Durango.

8174 odo. Traveling on Rt. 550s.

8188. Going into the mountains.

Mm 114.

Uncompadre River.

8194 odo. Mm 109. Snow covered mountains.

8195 odo. Ridgeway Park.

8197 odo. Snow covered mountains.

8199. Ridgeway sits in a valley. Itís foggy here and is a small town.

8203. Mm 110.

8206. Reddish Rock. Narrow valley.

8208. Ouray is deep in the mountains.

8210. Photos of the town with mountains around it.

Mm 93. Overlook of Ouray. Very nice view.

8211 odo. Ouray overlook. Welcome sign.

Mm 91. A small tunnel. Bear Creek Trailhead.

Before mm 88. Yellow water on the right side.

Mm 90 and drop off. Alpine Loop. Avalanche area.

8215. Photos of the river. Tunnel. Yellow creek water 55 mph.

8216. Snow covered mountains. One of the mountains has red coloring on one side.

Mm 86. We are now in a flat valley.

Mm 83. Really twisty road.

Going up and out of the flat valley.

8221. White caps. Red mountain mining.

Mm 80. Coming down now.

Mm 79. Valley.

8233 odo. Silverton. Drove through the town. We ate at the Brown Bear Cafť. There were quite a few cowboy hats on the men.

Durango is 50 miles away.

Mm 68.

Mm65. Pass Molas Lake

Mm 63. Pass Andrews Lake.

Mm62. Pull-off for foliage photos.

Mm 60. Still in the horseshoe bend.

8249. Coal Bank Pass.

Mm 56-55. Photos.

8255. Cascade Village.

Mm 50.

Purgatory.

Village at Silverpick.

8264 odo. Haviland Lake and Chris Park.

Mm 40. Still coming down. Near Glacier Club.

Before mm 34. Steam train comes along We stopped by the side of the road to see the Pinkerton Hot Springs in Animas Valley south of Electra Lake. Itís on the east side of the road. Kids were climbing on the wet structure that looks like a huge multi-colored cake. Itís part of a larger group of springs just north and west of US 550 north of Durango.

Honeyville Store. A creek runs by the store. Took photos of meadows and mountains.

Hermosa.

Hermosa Creek.

Durango 9 miles away

Trimble.

Mm 25. Durango.

Went to the Durango and Silverton Narrow Gage Railroad. We missed the railroad trip, so we visited the Railroad Museum, which is very interesting.

Best Western Durango Inn & Suites. Rt. 160 off of Rt. 550 (Camino Del Rio).

Ate at DennyĎs..

Sunday, October 1, 2017. 9th Day.

Durango to Walsenburg.

8288 odo. We take Route 160e.

Animas River bridge.

Another Animas River bridge.

Mm 89. Pretty flat here.

South Ute Reservation.

Mm 96. Steep hill.

Mm 98. Farms.

Mm 99. Gem Village.

Mm 102. Bayfield.

Mm 117. San Juan National Forest.

Mm 120. Piedra River.

Mm 122. Can see Chimney Rock which is located on top of a ridge on the south side of the road. It easily seen. Chimney Rock National Monument is a 4,726-acre U.S. National Monument in San Juan National Forest in southwestern Colorado. It includes an archaeological site. Itís between Durango and Pagosa Springs. We traveled forward and got off at Rt. 151s. It is a short drive to where good photos of Chimney Rocky can be easily taken.

Mm 125. Devil Creek.

Mm 126. Ute Campground.

Before mm 127. Rt.151s.

Mm 138. Pagosa Springs.

San Juan River.

Mm 149. San Juan River.

Mm 150. Close to the mountains.

Mm 151. Valley.

Mm 153. Big mountains.

Mm 159. Treasure Falls.

8364 odo. Route 160 goes up a steep climb.

8365 odo. Wolf Creek Summit.

Continental Divide.

Mm 167. Wolf Creek Ski Resort.

Mm 168. Tunnel.

Mm 171. Mountain travel.

Mm 172. Tucker Ponds.

Mm 174. Tunnel.

Mm 175. Junction with Rt. 410.

Mm 176. Valley.

Mm 177. Wolf Creek Ranch Motel

Mm 178. Rio Grande campground.

Mm 183. South Fork. Rt. 149 comes southeast down to South Fork. The Rio Grande River comes down southeast with Rt. 149. The South Fork of the Rio Grande goes along Rt. 160ne to join the Rio Grande near South Fork.

Rio Grande National Forest.

Mm 192. Not many mountains now.

Mm 193. Wide valley here.

Mm 199. East Branch Pino Creek.

Mm 201. An Elk statue on a ridge on the right.

Town of Del Norte.

Mm 204. Lots of railroad cars left on the tracks.

Mm 205. Lots of open land.

Mm 206. A small mesa.

Mm 209. A big open valley.

Mm 210. Huge farms.

Drive-in theater.

Mm 214. Monte Vista.

Mm215. Tree-lined streets. Stop at DQ.

Mm 218. Farm land.

Mm 219. Empire Canal.

Sangre de Cristo Mountains.

Mm 230. Alamosa. Adams State University.

Mm 233. Rio Grande.

Mm 237. Snow-capped mountain on the left.

Mm 240. Blanca Peak.

8451. Left turn for Great Sand Dunes National Park. Itís 16 miles to the National Park via Rt. 150n.

8457. Mt. Blanca photo.

8467. Photo of the National Park sign.

Mm 257. Fort Garland. In 1852 they build a fort known as Fort Massachusetts. John Garland builds the second fort, which took over from the first fort. The fort had 7 officers and 100 soldiers. The soldiers had their families with them.

The famous Kit Carson was the commanding officer at one time. This was his last assignment before his retirement.

Mm 273. Veta Pass.

Mm 279. Winding roads in the mountains.

Mm 291. Passing two mountains. On the right.

Mm 304. Town of Walsenburg.

8551. Arrive at Rambler Best Western near US25..

Monday, October 2, 2017. 10th Day.

Walsenburg to Denver.

8555 odo. Leaving Walsenburg to go to the sight of the Sand Creek Massacre. We travel up US 25 to go to town of Pueblo. In Pueblos we take the exit for Rt. 50 east

We make a left turn to get on Rt 96e.

Ordway is 39 miles away.

Mm 73. The town of Boone.

Mm 76. Wide open spaces.

Mm 94. Olney Springs.

Mm 104. Ordway.

Mm 108. Lake Meredith.

Mm110. Sugar City.

Mm 117. Open area.

Mm 130. Arlington.

Mm 138. Big open area.

Mm 144. Haswell.

Mm166. Eads.

Mm 179. Rush Creek.

Mm180. The town of Chivington is pretty much a ghost town.

A short ways from Chivington is the left turn for the 8 mile ride to the sight of Sand Creek National Historic Sight. You make a right turn and go down a little ways and then turn left into the driveway.

There is a parking lot and a Visitorís Center. Go to the Visitorís Center first and get some information on the Sand Creek Massacre.

The sight is just about 20 miles away from the western border with Kansas. Little did we know that we were going to be so close to Kansas.

November 29,1864. Sand Creek was the sight of a village of Cheyenne and Arapaho Indians. The chief of the village was Black Kettle. He was a chief that believed in cooperating with the whites and he placed an American flag over his tent to let the soldiers know that they were peaceful Indians.

But the white leader, Colonel and minister Chivington, didnít care about the flag. He just wanted to kill the "bad" Indians. He lead a 675-man force in an attack on Black Kettleís village, which was mostly composed of women and children and old men. Chivingtonís men killed and mutilated some 70-163 Native Americans. Black Kettle and his wife were both killed in the massacre. Chivington left the service before the army could punish him properly. Chivingtonís political career was destroyed completely.

In 1894 he died in Denver of cancer and is buried there.

There are two sights you can visit. One is the area around the Visitorís Center and another is closer to the trees where the attack actually took place. You cannot go on the actual ground of the massacre, because the Native Americans consider it sacred ground.

I really enjoyed seeing the massacre sight.

8745 odo. Leaving the massacre sight

We got on Rt. 287 and drove back to Denver.

We stayed at the Airport Best Western Inn.

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