Posts Tagged With: continental divide

LOGAN PASS, GLACIER NATIONAL PARK

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Here we are at creek level, surrounded by beauty. I wanted to see the Meany Glacier because grizzly and moose sightings are common there. It is an eight-hour trip with stops for pictures.  Jim was reluctant to drive it.  We stopped for a brochure about guided tours. And while we talk to the desk person, she doesn’t say, the last bus up is at 9:00. We take it back to the car to study the various trips and times. We were 9 miles from the transit station. We missed the last bus by 15 minutes. My advice, plan ahead. The bus is the best way to go. They provide a box lunch and restroom stops for $55 a person. Kids are less.

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Glacial streams are many. The green water is from glacial “dust”,  just ground up rock.

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It sculpts beautiful bowls as it rushes and swirls by rock impediments. I’d love to soak in it on a hot summer day.

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Our first major stop was the Cedar Loop Trail, an easy one mile walk, over creeks and ravines on board walks to minimize damage to tree roots and for access. These three trunks reminded me of the hotel supports from yesterday.

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An idea of how big the trunks get.

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A lightning strike has broken off a high branch that is as big in circumference as a lodge pole pine.

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Though this is mainly a cedar forest, the complimentary trees that grow with it are also huge. This is a hemlock, the rough, deep bark is particularly attractive. Black cottonwood grows here as well,  with even denser, deeper bark.

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In this heavily shaded old growth forest, the rocks beside this stream grow moss and lichens. In one spot, huge boulders as big as a house were completely covered with moss.

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We met some people who were having their pictures taken in front of this upturned tree root. They offered to take ours with our cameras, so we posed.

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We begin to climb and we get our first glimpse of Heavenly Peak. It has a small glacier.

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As we climb, the road narrows and we have to admire the work it took to build it in the early 1900’s.

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And, we admire the tenacity of the trees that grow in any little crevice of sheer rock faces.

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An unusual sight where one river flows on the left and another flows on the right of this huge dome.

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Looking into the sun, this is a lousy picture, but it shows the U shape at the top where the glacier moved through and gouged this valley.

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A view of that same valley from the side as we make our way around it headed for Logon Pass.DSC00639 (Copy)

The roads are narrow and harrowing if you don’t like driving on this type of terrain, but the views are spectacular.

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The top of the pass is now visible. The mountain is cloud covered,  and resembles a spouting volcano.DSC00668 (Copy)

We make it to the top, get out at the visitors center, and find out they have restrooms, but nothing to eat. Luckily we have emergency rations, a bag of peanuts and raisins in the Bronco. A pretty lite lunch, but it works. This is the point of the Continental Divide, where waters on the left of this peak flow to the Atlantic and waters to the right flow to the Pacific.DSC00673 (Copy)

People like to hike up to the glacier. You can see them in the foreground. You might have to click on the picture and enlarge it.

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Glaciers are melting at an accelerated rate and we wonder how long these small glaciers will last.DSC00682 (Copy)

Tall poles mark the walking paths to guide the snow blowers or snow plows. The snow pack  here measures 80 feet deep at times.DSC00684 (Copy)

Water, water everywhere, still, and it is mid September. The pass will be closed to tourists in a couple of weeks. If you have the window open, your camera could get sprayed.

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Another roadside water fall. And the uneven peaks in the distance remind us that the Rockies are a young mountain compared to the Appalachians with their rounded tops.

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Here we see the beginnings of Medicine Woman Falls.

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It falls a distance of 492 feet and is routed under to hairpin roadways before it reaches a stream. In the spring it is a major gusher.

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Going down the 6,642 feet is exciting, and beautiful.

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A last look.  It is easy to see why the Native Americans could assign spiritual qualities to such beauty and majesty.

 

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Craig, Colorado

Jim says:

Yesterday Mary and I drove the motorhome about 100 miles to Craig, Colorado with each of us driving about 50 miles. During my turn at the wheel we crossed the Continental Divide for the second time in as many days at 9,264 feet as well as passing through Steamboat Springs. I was still a little tired from the drive through Rocky Mountain National Park so we decided to call it a day at Craig as the next town of any consequence is about 250 miles distant.

Here are two photos of scenes along the way…

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Once again caught Mary taking photos from our bedroom window…this time in the driver’s rear view mirror…

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We are parked in a VFW parking lot adjacent to the Craig City Park.

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Since the Rocky Mountains run essentially North-north-west to South-south-east, it’s impossible to travel a straight East to West Route as shown by the map below…

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Today we plan to go to the Museum of Northwest Colorado here in Craig. Depending on how much time we spend in the museum, we may or may not resume our westbound journey today.

All original material Copyright – Jim Jaillet 2010
My three books may be purchased at http://www.lulu.com
Just enter Jim Jaillet in the search box.

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ROCKY MOUNTAIN NATIONAL PARK-C0NTINENTAL DIVIDE


The narrow canyon above is just past the Devils Spine and is the gateway to the Rocky Mountain Crossing on Highway 34.
From Evans, Colorado to Steamboat Springs on Highway 34 and 36 West is a reasonable day’s drive. I drove about 13 miles and I could see Jim was getting nervous so I pulled over short of Estes Park, another 22 miles up the road.  Jim reasoned that the highest road in America, at 12,183 foot elevation,  was not the place for a beginner. And, he was right. I drove the last hour to give him some rest. We stopped short of our goal, both of us tired, at the small town of Kremmling, Colorado.

Estes Park is a tourist destination, a skiing mecca in winter, it attracts backpackers,  mountain stream anglers and bikers. Many rustic and fancy cabins entice people to get-away to the fresh air and fragrant woods. It sits on the edge of the Eastern entrance to Rocky Mountain National Park.

We have a destination with ‘miles to go before we sleep’ so most of my pictures were taken from the motor home window. This rock formation was beautiful whether the pictures give it credit or not.

The pines have suffered from bark beetle infestation. In fact the park campground on the western slope is completely treeless because all of the trees died and had to be removed. Here you see the many dying, still standing trees. The grey ones are completely dead, the brown ones are on the way.

As you climb higher, the trees become smaller, stunted. In the visitor center it showed trees 100 years old bent and twisted by winds; small from barely sufficient nutrition. They were only two feet tall.

Suddenly you realize you are above tree level, looking down into moonscape canyons. The narrow roads and twists and turns made for some tense driving with a motor home pulling a 4,000 pound “toad”.

This vertical cut right through the rock gave our motors passage and has a beauty of its own.

The park is one of two places in the U.S. that has tuffa.

The road just traveled high on the right. The road we will travel in the center, without the twists as we seem to sit on top of the world.

Now we encounter pockets of snow that do not melt during the summer. We learned from the visitors center those pockets are filled with pure ice and are therefore  mini-glaciers.

Valleys like this, full of color and beauty provide forage and water for wildlife. Antelope, a smaller growing moose than the Canadian and Alaskan herds, deer, weasels, fox, big horned sheep, marmots, chickerees, and other small animals and birds make their home here. Plenty of signs show where to view antelope, but we didn’t see any wildlife as we drove by.

This spot marks the Continental Divide where river water now flows toward the west. It is significant, but, not that you could tell from this spot.

On the way down the Western slope, we had several miles of gravel road and roadwork. Signs promised no wait would exceed 60 minutes.

And, none did. But we sat in this parking lot and another for a lengthy time; enough time to turn off the engine and get out and walk around. Thus, I got pictures of some flora and fauna from the roadside woods. No one seemed upset. The air was fresh, the place restful and beautiful. But, at one point we were so close to a huge paving machine we slid by it within a few inches. I had my head out the window as we crawled by with my window beads clinging to my face, laughing all the way.

Don’t know what these plants are called.

The aspens are just turning color.

Its a beautiful drive. As usual, I took many pictures. If you would like to see them, click the link:
http://picasaweb.google.com/1579penn/91310OverTheRockiesOn3436#

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A Double Cross That Ended In Evans, Colorado

Jim says:

Yesterday Mary and I drove 238 miles on U.S. Highway 34 West with Mary driving about 100 of those miles. We gained 2030 feet in elevation and we are now at 4560 feet and parked at Moose Lodge #905 in Evans, just a couple of miles south of Greeley, Colorado.

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As far as the double cross goes…first we crossed into the Mountain Time Zone and then crossed into Colorado. What kind of a double cross were you thinking of? 🙂

Here are two photos I took yesterday…

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Entering Colorado.
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On the high plains of Colorado.

Today we will continue out journey westward and expect to cross the Continental Divide.

All original material Copyright – Jim Jaillet 2010
My three books may be purchased at http://www.lulu.com
Just enter Jim Jaillet in the search box.

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