Colorado Summer Weekend

Aral in the tundra below Engineer Pass

Sometimes I need to be reminded of what a lucky guy I am. This weekend, the family and I took a free-form trip around my home state and were both challenged and rewarded.

I spent most of last Friday cleaning and packing. Trying to organize my truck (while juggling a two year old) so that I could comfortable fit four people and two dogs is an undertaking. Around four in the afternoon we departed the house to go sit in traffic for a while. I picked up Tess along the way and we headed up into the Rockies for some needed rest and relaxation.

Night one was spent in pouring rain just below the summit of Boreas Pass along the Breckenridge Divide. Despite the rain and the late camp everyone slept well and we woke up to sunshine. We headed over the pass to Camp Como and stopped periodically to check out land parcels for sale.

The original plan was to take Georgia pass back toward Breckenridge, but as we started up the road it felt like were just another car in a long line of vehicles headed over this part of the divide. I kept on thinking of a verse from John Denver’s “Colorado Rocky Mountain High”.

Now his life is full of wonder but his heart still knows some fear
Of a simple thing he cannot comprehend
Why they try to tear the mountains down to bring in a couple more
More people, more scars upon the land

And rather than continuing up and over while sucking RZR fumes and Chevy dust I decided that we should head toward the San Juans for night two. We drove across South Park and then over Monarch Pass before stopping in Gunnison for a brief visit with old friends at The Bean. It was rodeo weekend so town was jam packed with great beasts of trucks and RVs so we headed toward quieter high country up above Lake City.

We took a short walk around town and fueled up and then headed up Engineer Pass knowing that both limited access from that side of the Alpine Loop and expected thundershowers would keep crowds to a minimum.

Back in the high country we pitched camp just shy of 12,000 feet. We mulled around the tundra exploring, watching and listening. Pika came out and marmots barked from their porches. Soon enough dinner was done and we made for bed while swimming in the rose glow of setting sun.

Sunday we completed the drive over Engineer Pass and down the way past Animas to Silverton. We poked around Silverton for a while, but like all good things this trip needed to end. Back up and over Hwy 50 I detoured over Cottonwood pass and then across South Park and Kenosha pass.

Atop Engineer Pass

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