The top of the top of Rocky Mountain National park got closed off shortly before I arrived. My relatives and I knew this could happen. In this fortunate part of the world, not only does it snow, but it can snow starting early or mid October.
And that’s exactly what happened before I arrived. The rest of the park was open for visitors, yet the highly-elevated Trail Ridge Road was not. Unfortunately, that didn’t mean I got to experience the downfall of snow in Colorado.
Fortunately, however, enough snow was cleared right when I arrived, for the 12,000-feet-high Trail Ridge Road to open itself for me to reveal it.
I heart you, Colorado!
As we drove up to the Forest Canyon Overlook, I realized I was even more fortunate than I thought: snow was everywhere I looked!
It was so high, people could stretch their hands up and touch the clouds…. or so it seemed.
Or so I knew, having experienced skydiving from this very elevation a few years ago in Haifa, Israel. Maybe one day I’ll tell you all about it!
My relative, Shula, who you already know has a horse named Shoshi, has lived most of her life in Colorado. As we looked around us, she started naming the mountains, each one. She wasn’t making it up – she really did know their names! And their backgrounds as well! She says that when you’re there, look for a flat mountain and you’ll be looking at Long’s Peak, the highest mountain in all of northern Colorado, and certainly the highest in the park. As in many landscape naming, it is named after an early explorer of the West. Other times mountains are named after early settlers or a name is taken from the form of the mountain.
Now, imagine yourself sitting on the bench of the above photograph, and let Shula take you on a mountain-naming tour from left to right: “First, Mount Meeker. It looks lower than big flat-topped Long’s Peak, but it is almost as high; it is because it is farther away that it looks lower. To the right of Meeker is Long’s Peak, flat-topped; then a pyramid-shaped mountain called Pagoda; next is Chief’s Head, because from the other side it looks like the profile of the head of an Indian chief lying down. The next one is McHenry’s. The rest are rather indistinct, but if you could separate them, they would be Taylor’s, Otis, Hallet’s and Flattop. The big mountain on the right and much closer to the camera is again Terrah Tomah”.
Shula has climbed all these mountains to their peaks, almost all of them more than once. How awesome is that?
However, even though Shula’s hiked and climbed and camped around Colorado her whole life (and she has grandkids, people), she was not used to seeing the area filled with snow from the Forest Canyon Overlook as it was on our mid October day. One of the exciting parts of the trip for me was to see her discovering yet another aspect of her beloved state.
Big thanks to S & G for our time in Colorado and for the help with Colorado info!
What place made you feel like you were standing at the top of the world?