John & Anne Wiley

2014/06/13

Two High

After our wonderful 4/23 overnite in Durango (we want to go back!), the 4C Adventure continued with our first foray into the high Rocky Mountains. As you’ll recall from the quick 4/24 post I did during the trip, after breakfast in Durango we did a quick detour to check out Chimney Rock and then got this high overview of Durango on our way to the first of two high passes on our way to Denver.

0267 Delightful Durango

0267 Delightful Durango

Though we totally trust Tripp and keep her tip top, as extra insurance we followed the highway north. It was tempting to detour through the valley where the Durango tourist train goes, but we got a distant glimpse and this more direct main valley was quite pretty enough.

0275 Climbing

0275 Climbing

By now we were already quite high, so opening the window for snaps like this was invigorating. 🙂

Another temptation was the high pass to Teluride, which would have been a fairly short detour but with no major highway to follow and winds predicted to increase if we delayed.

0305 Teluride Temptation

0305 Teluride Temptation

Soon we were surrounded by frozen lakes and snowy peaks that were wearing dust from Arizona and probably a few planes that had flown this route in less favorable conditions.

0310 Rock, Snow, Dust

0310 Rock, Snow, Dust

We were glad to be in trusty Tripp, following a major highway, and in unusually good weather. 🙂

Before long the pass opened out into the high plain where we soon turned east toward Monarch Pass for our second scoot thru the Rockies.

0318 Leaving First Pass

0318 Leaving First Pass

In a few minutes we were following the highway along Blue Mesa Reservoir, where we saw tributaries with rapids and some small frisky waterfalls like this.

0355 Small Falls

0355 Small Falls

Approaching the pass more mountains loomed, as we climbed a little more and nudged closer to the highway for the high point of the day.

0371 Nearing Monarch

0371 Nearing Monarch

Around the top we were surprised to see drive-in theater screens like these.

0378 Not CA

0378 Not CA

No, we’re not in SoCA so those are certainly not for movies. I guess maybe cell towers, microwave relays or something to do with radar? We never did find out, but they sure look odd and must take a lot of work to build and keep functional where wind and weather are often so extreme. We loved finally flying the Rockies, were glad conditions made it so easy and comfortable without need to stop to wait out unexpected weather, and enjoyed watching the terrain open out as we followed the highway and river out of Salida.

0387 Salida Satisfaction

0387 Salida Satisfaction

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