After Estes Park it was off to Denver for a night. Primary purpose: to see the Astros play the Rockies. It’s always nice being at Coors Field. I was there for the second game (a day game) when the place opened, circa 1994, the inaugural game having been the night before. When we walked in they were giving out commemorative lapel pins to all the fans. Upon receipt I stopped and examined it: Opening Day – Coors Field. I pointed out to the usher that handed me the pin that yesterday had been opening day. She immediately replied “No, that was opening NIGHT! This is opening DAY!” Ahh, the power of marketing. Anyhoo, it’s still a great place to watch a game.
Turned out to be a full house and the Houston lads won to boot!
A bonus of the stop in Denver was the chance to catch up with my pal Lila, late of Houston and proprietor of the dear, departed Just Dinner. She and Cruz are adapting to life in Denver and it seems to suit them well.
Denver seems to be big on building art these days. At several places in the downtown area I noticed huge murals on the side of buildings.
The next day I drove to Montrose, CO. No surprise, it’s another very scenic drive.
Coloradons seem particularly proud of their “14ers”: 53 mountain peaks within the state with a summit higher than 14,000 feet. Quite a few of them are west of Buena Vista, which can be seen on the route map above, about halfway between Denver and Montrose.
Hwy 50 took me up and over Monarch Pass. Glad I wasn’t pulling The Beast.
Past the town of Gunnison they have dammed up the Gunnison River, making for a nice little lake area.
Next day’s mission: Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park. At Rocky Mountain Park the neck was constantly craned looking up. This place is the opposite: forever looking down into the canyon. The claim to fame is how narrow and steep and deep it is. At its highest point the road is 2700 feet above the river below, which makes for some nice views.
It’s fascinating to me that tall trees can grow on the side of the canyon, as in the photo above, but they don’t really grow on the flatter areas on top of the plateau.
There’s not much in the way of flowers along the trails. A wee bit of color shows in the pic above. Most of the growth is shrubbery or shorter trees like juniper.
Unfortunately, the parks must deal with the scourge of modern technology: nix on the drones.
I found a couple of species that we normally associate with tall hardwood trees, but not here.
There was a lot of what I call “scrub oak”, but not surprisingly there’s a name for it:
Off in the distance is the West Elk mountain range.
I’m guessing down the wall of that canyon is evidence of a seasonal waterfall…but maybe a gang of guano?
There’s a small distillery in Montrose, a good spot to sample the local wares on the 4th of July.
Good work is being done at this spot. They are also brewing some whiskey, but figure to keep it in the barrels for a few more years.
Next stop: Durango and the Mesa Verde National Park.