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Ski Towns and Too Much Snow

October 31, 2013

Colorado – Monday, October 21

Last night was a rare night in which I didn’t sleep well. I woke up in the wee hours of the morning with a pretty bad headache (and I rarely get headaches) and eventually had to get up and take an ibuprofen. Then I couldn’t seem to go back to sleep, but it was too early to get up and I didn’t feel quite right. I eventually dozed off for a while, and then got up to face the day. I felt better as I was moving around, and then it occurred to me to look up symptoms of altitude sickness. And they matched exactly – including the headache that gets worse at night. I felt fine yesterday while walking all 10 miles at high altitudes, but it caught up with me last night. Since I was feeling okay, I headed out for some walking in the town of Frisco. I knew I wouldn’t be walking at altitudes quite as high as yesterday, so I hoped things would be okay. I walked a couple miles in Frisco, then 2 1/2 more in Breckenridge. Both towns are ski towns, and were fun to walk through. I could see all the ski runs on the mountains by Breckenridge, and there were lots of people out and about shopping.

Then I drove along a very scenic road that made its roundabout way through more snowy mountains. I climbed up and over a couple more mountain passes, and could see snow swirling around some of the peaks. I drove through some small towns, and eventually made my way to the west side of Rocky Mountain National Park. I finally got to the visitor center on the west side, and was surprised to see only one volunteer in the building. She told me the road was only open 10 miles into the park, and then it was closed due to heavy snows up in the higher elevations. She showed me a photo taken that morning of the visitor center on the east side, and the snow was so deep it was already up to the eaves of the visitor center. So the park was impassable. And that changed my plans – I was simply going to drive the 50 or so miles through the park, and go on through Estes Park, and then come down out of the mountains. But since that was no longer possible, I had to backtrack. My choices were either to go back the way I came, or head farther north to get through the mountains. In the end, that didn’t seem like a good idea – I would be going through passes when it was almost dark, and that part of the mountain range could be too snowy too. So I backtracked.

Once again I didn’t have to make a donation in Colorado since they were all done.

As I was backtracking, I stopped in the town of Grand Lake, which is the highest natural lake in Colorado. Grand Lake looked like an old west town with wooden walkways and old wooden buildings. Tula and I walked a mile and a half through the main street and down by the lake. We passed a life-size scarecrow sitting on a bench, and Tula thought it was a real person and went up to greet it – haha! Then I drove on a bit more and stopped in the town of Granby to cover another mile before dark. I had a little more mountain driving to do in the fading twilight, and I just loved the snowy icy mountains that loomed over me in the very last of the light – they seemed so solid and timeless. I felt like a little speck of nothing compared to their mighty majesty.

Once I was out of the mountains, I had to circle around through the outskirts of Denver, putting on more miles than I had intended to today because of all the snow in Rocky Mountain National Park. I drove north of Denver to Fort Collins, where I stopped for the night. I got in pretty late, but at least I got to the city I’d been planning on if I’d been able to drive through the national park. And I had enjoyed a lot of snowy mountains along the way!

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One Comment
  1. Nathan Reed permalink

    I am from Decorah, was a Nordic Dancer, and currently live in Fort Collins. I like your style!!

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