Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Their First Fourteener

When Mr. LH's parents drove out west to bring the kids back from their vacation, they arrived a couple days early. This gave us time to relax and do some sight-seeing before they headed back to North Carolina. We decided to take a trip into the mountains. I kept my mother-in-law company at Blackhawk while Mr. LH took his dad and the "Pickles" to Arapaho National Forest and Mount Evans.

The Mount Evans website states: "Mount Evans is the road into the sky. Drive from 8,700 feet at Idaho Spring where you turn off Interstate 70 to 14,240 feet to the summit, and you will pass through 3 life zones, passing ancient trees, lakes and forest to the land above timberline. It can be 90 degrees in Denver and 40 degrees at the top of Mount Evans. Mountain Goats and Bighorn Sheep will greet you as you climb to the top of the world."

They stopped first at Ponder Point in Arapaho National Forest...


...then moved on to Echo Lake.


When The Boy gets near a lake or river, he wants to start throwing rocks into it. He picked up a large boulder and SPLOOSH!...into the water it went. Unfortunately, there was someone fishing nearby.

At the Mount Evans Entrance Station, I'm sure they breathed a sign of relief that we had packed the jackets. We learned pretty quickly to always have jackets in the car when heading to the mountains. On this particular trip, it might have been a good idea to pack the gloves and toboggans, too!


It was, in fact, 83 degrees in Denver (the first "cool" day in a long time).

Mr. LH told me I would have loved the view but hated the road up to the top. He was probably right. There was no guard rail, the edges of the pavement were crumbling, and it looks as though there is nothing below for thousands of feet. That being said, I can't imagine how hard it is to keep the road as good as it was with fluctuating temperatures and inaccessibility for half of the year.


The remains of the Crest House at the top looked like an interesting place to explore...


From the Mount Evans website: "During the summers of 1941 and 1942, Denver Mountain Parks built the Crest House (also known as Summit House). It quickly became a favorite destination of Coloradans and tourists. Containing both a restaurant and a gift shop, one could enjoy excellent food and buy Mount Evans souvenirs while enjoying an excellent view of Denver and the eastern plains. Unfortunately, it burned on September 1, 1979 and was not rebuilt, but the rock foundation and wall remain as an observation platform and a windbreak for mountain travelers."

The Girl , having to explore every restroom everywhere we go, had to make her way past big horned sheep to get to this restroom. They were hanging around the parking area licking the ground (apparently getting minerals from the soil).


While Grandpop stayed at the parking level, Mr. LH and the "Pickles" climbed the remaining 130 feet to the summit...


...and conquered a "Fourteener" for the first time (not including airplanes, of course). They made it to 14, 258 feet above sea level.


They came pretty close to a Yellow Bellied Marmot up there...


The Girl liked it because it looked like a cross between a beaver and a ferret.

On the way back down the mountain, they found some mountain goats grazing among the boulders...


...and paused at Summit Lake. This area looks absolutely breathtaking to me! Here it is, August, and there is snow on the cliff and wildflowers in bloom at the base. Beautiful!


I was happy to keep my mother-in-law busy, but seeing the pictures they brought back from their mountain excursion, I wish I had been there, too. Maybe next time (soon)!



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1 comment:

Joy said...

It looks like an awesome trip! I would have been very nervous on that road too. Several of these pictures remind me of Alaska. Beautiful!