Monday, July 17, 2006

Under the rainbow

A Gondola ride up Ajax Mountain in Aspen followed by a little shopping and we were off for some sightseeing. We basically crossed the Continental Divide three times today: once on Independence Pass heading toward Salida, then back over through Monarch Pass towards Gunnison, up Cumberland Pass to the Taylor Park Reservoir and back over again via Cottonwood Pass.

The drive up from Cumberland on was exceptionally beautiful; up the pass a rainbow stretched from one mountain to another across the great expanse of forest, and down the pass we witnessed the spectacular vista over the reservoir. The unpaved road meandered through pine and aspen groves along a river full of beaver dams and through a ghost town named, Tin Cup. We wanted to get out on foot and explore, but we realized we'd underestimated our fuel and felt compelled to keep moving while we still had daylight. When we stopped once, the Tahoe stuttered and stalled. It started up again and we thought it best to keep it rolling. We had gravity to our advantage as we were just beginning the descent down Cumberland Pass toward Taylor Park and, hopefully, gas. We carefully coasted all the way down the mountain switchbacks braking for the hairpin turns.

In spite of our anxiety over the possibility of running out of gas, we were in awe of the incredible views across the valley below. If we ran dry and had to walk down the pass it would be have been worth it just for the visual feast, I said to Robert. Of course, I was pretty confident we were close to the next patch of civilization. Plus I'd taken inventory of our assets: Two gallons of water, fruit, stale crackers, a tin of dark chocolate, three bottles of wine, a swiss army knife, and, Robert's George Brett baseball bat which we could use to fend off bears.

In Taylor Park Robert filled the tank to the tune of $70 dollars, that's how low we'd dropped. Of course we were all smiles now, having beat out bad fortune this time. I guess I could say we beat it twice: in the few miles before reaching our evening destination of Dillon, we hit a deer on the road. She leapt too late. We braked hard, but swiped her with the right corner of the Tahoe breaking the headlight. She scrambled away we think--it happened so fast and there was no opportunity to stop.

So, we are safe at rest in the Comfort Inn. Tomorrow, we'll stay off the roads and walk around the river at Keystone. Maybe Robert will golf. Then it's the long dull ride home across Kansas where the biggest danger is the fear of falling asleep.

1 comment:

Liew said...

We're not in Kansas anymore!