9.07.2004

Part 2...

Well the snow continued at the higher elevations while we got some just some rain showers in the valley overnight. We awoke to see the upper half of Beaver Creek covered in a light snow! Typically throughout the state there was anywhere from a couple of inches to almost a foot at elevations as low as 9,000 feet. Our plans for the day were to head up and see Steamboat Springs, and along the way we stopped at a general store and the store owner said he already had one camper come in looking for help getting his camper trailer out of the 6 inches of snow that now covered the campground. Steamboat Springs was clear, but the ski area had snow, and at the top of our gondola ride we got a chance to enjoy an early winter. First we walked around town and had lunch, then headed over to the ski village where they were having a Labor Day festival will live music, kid’s activities, and craft booths. After our Gondola ride, we took a short drive to Fish Creek Falls, about 4 miles north of town. The falls are only about a 1/2 mile hike from the parking area, and they were over 200 feet tall. Eventually those falls join the Colorado River, and work their way through the Grand Canyon. The overlook had several Chipmunks running around, which my sister enjoyed. On the way back to the car we walked by some rocks that had a Pika on them. Those the little hamster/ guinea pig like creature that lives in the rocks at higher altitudes. My sister and I always had hamsters as kids, so I am glad she got to see one. After that we headed back to town where by the end of the day, the warm sun had melted out Beaver Creek once again.

Monday was their last day here, so I wanted to get a chance to show them some of the high country on the way to Denver. There was a decent amount of traffic building on I-70 anyway, so our side trips probably didn’t cost us much time, and got us away from the crowds. First, rather than going through the Eisenhower Tunnel, I took them over the Divide via Loveland Pass. I got to show them one of my favorite area ski resorts, Arapahoe Basin, and some great views of the Continental Divide as we crossed from the Pacific side to the Atlantic side. We rejoined the traffic on I-70, but only for a little while as we got off again to take a trip up Mount Evans Road. Mount Evans is the 14th tallest peak in the state at 14,264 feet, and has a road nearly all the way to the summit. Unfortunately, due to snow still lingering at the top, the Forest Service only had the road open to the parking area at 12,850 foot Summit Lake. Still, it was a great way to show them what the world looks like from above the trees. The road switches back around the side of the mountain with far reaching views all the way to the skyscrapers in downtown Denver, nearly 40 miles away, and nearly 8,000 feet below us. From the lake we could see the rugged north face of Mt Evans.

We spent the rest of the afternoon in Denver at the Taste of Colorado, Denver’s version of Taste of Chicago. It was not as big as the one back home, and had fewer restaurant choices, but it was still enjoyable. Today it was back to work, and back to a bit more summer-like weather, as it was sunny and in the upper sixties. Later this week it is supposed to be 70, so maybe this weekend I will be able to sneak another peak summit in before the snows stick around for good.