Matt Carberry (kingpin248) wrote,
Matt Carberry

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PNR, day 10: awfully pretty up here...

That's a snow angel...on June 4!
Glenwood Canyon and the Colorado River.
The San Rafael Swell, in the middle of nowhere - literally.

...but you can't spend too much time admiring, because you have to drive.

Leaving Denver and heading westward on Interstate 70, I briefly detoured to go up Loveland Pass, which stands nearly twelve thousand feet above sea level. The pressure difference caused a bag of potato chips I'd been carrying to burst from the pressure difference (I bought the bag in Missouri, at a much lower elevation). I was fortunate to get excellent cloud conditions at the top. I stepped in snow...on June 4. Then I hiked up to the top of another hill, at which time the Garmin put my elevation at 12,213 feet. It was here that I decided I wanted to make a snow angel. My first attempt led to my right leg being submerged in a foot and a half of snow. Once I came down off that hill, I found some shallower snow, and got it done. I spent a total of about forty-five minutes at Loveland Pass, and it felt great and produced some spectacular photos.

From there, I went back down the mountain and through the Eisenhower Tunnel, and got raped on gas in Colorado ski country. I stopped for a brief respite in Eagle County; that seemed familiar, but not for another few minutes did I recognize why; it was where the whole Kobe Bryant drama played out back in 2003. My next major stop was Glenwood Canyon, the last piece of the Interstate Highway System to open. The road itself is an amazing piece of engineering; because of its winding nature, speed is limited to fifty miles per hour. The natural scenery is also gorgeous, with beautiful vistas of both the Colorado River and the surrounding mountains. After leaving the canyon, I continued west into Utah, stopping just over the border at a place called Harley's Dome. I noticed many such domes in eastern Utah. This stop was during a fifty-six stretch with no roadside services. That reminded me of similar, longer such distances on the Alaska Highway - but I had no idea what was to come.

I fueled at the first chance in Utah at Thompson Springs, and ate in Green River. Looking at the atlas as I prepared to leave, I noted that there didn't appear to be anything for about a hundred miles, so I expected a long haul. Once I returned to I-70, that was proven correct - there was literally nothing along the highway for 106 miles. It's the longest such run of interstate in America. The trip takes one across the San Rafael Swell and Wasatch Range. I did stop to admire some lovely colored rocks in the Swell; little has disturbed the geological evidence of the passage of millions of years. This piece of highway was just as bad as the crossing of the Rockies - the extremes weren't as bad, but there was a lot of up and down.

Once I emerged back into civilization, it was near sunset, and I didn't head too much further. I called it quits in Richfield, the biggest town in the area - and at about 6,500 people, that isn't saying much. With little else to do there, I simply relaxed in the room - and besides, I needed to gain and conserve strength for what lay ahead at the weekend.

Pictures: Day 10 (Western Colorado and Eastern Utah)
Tags: pnr

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