Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Return to splendour (and some teeth gnashing)

Deep winding canyons in Northern Colorado
I spent my final few days wandering along the canyons, ridge roads and forests of Northern Colorado in the Roosevelt National Forest and the Rocky Mountain National Park.

The scenery is spectactular but, outside the National Park, it's also highly settled - a combination of old history where settlers hit the Rockies and stopped, laying down backwoods roots and new history where lots of new money simply buys a piece of forest, builds a house on it and comes to 'summer' or 'winter' here (Americans do love to turn nouns into verbs). The good stuff is only an hour or so from Denver airport so it's become a popular destination.

Compared to the wilder states I'd been through over the last 50 days, where similar scenery felt more open and less controlled, my frequently thwarted attempts to find parts that weren't privately owned or prohibited from parking/swimming/enjoying became quite frustrating. The constant stream of fences, private property (how does one feel about possessing wilderness?), 'no parking dusk to dawn' and 'fee required' areas really started to chafe, accreting a hard to ignore noise that my roadtrip was coming to an end and I would soon be returning to civilisation.

That said, the Rocky Mountain National Park itself does have spectacular vistas up it's sleeve and once again my principle of going a bit further than the public car park delivered a wonderful open rocky meadow of alpine tundra 12,500 feet (2.4 miles) above sea level on the Trail Ridge Road. Quel domage but Hubert und Franz were not there to share it with me, so I made do with a group of Yellow-Bellied Marmots, brilliant sunshine and my kite for the morning.

Yellow-Bellied Marmot in alpine tundra meadow of Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado

More photos from the Colorado Canyons

1 comment:

  1. So that's what 12,500ft looks like.

    Hats off to the lone tree.