Road Trip Through the West – The Rocky Mountains

The Rocky Mountains

The View from Lookout Mountain

The View from Lookout Mountain

Today, and probably for a quite a few posts, I’m going to digress from Crete and talk about the United States. Last spring, late May, before I moved across the ocean, I decided I wanted to do a road trip and see some of the sights of the Wild West that I had not gotten to yet. I talked with my parents, and they decided to join me for it, a chance to see the west, and me before I moved… For those of you who don’t know, I used to live in Omaha, Nebraska before I moved to England, so my parents flew in there, stayed the night, and away we went on our trip the next morning.
Buffalo Bill's Grave

Our drive across Nebraska was uneventful, there really isn’t anything to see along that stretch of road. We stayed the night in Sterling, Colorado. The next day we drove through eastern Colorado (again, nothing exciting), past Denver, and through the Rocky Mountains. Driving up into the mountains, along Highway 70, you’ll see a sign for Lookout Mountain on your right. We took this, and turns out it is where Colonel William Frederick Cody, “Buffalo Bill,” is buried. He died in Denver and loved the area and mountain, so he was buried on top, with a view of Denver and the surrounding land. There is a little museum for him and the west there (we didn’t feel like paying to see it), along with a little cafe and gift shop. We also spotted our first elk while driving up to the summit of Lookout Mountain. We quickly returned to the highway and continued on into the mountains.

Echo Lake

Echo Lake

The Rocky MountainsOur next destination was Mt. Evans, however, it turned out that despite it being late May, the last portion of the road was still closed due to snow. Echo lake was just prior to that turnoff, along with another gift shop of course. From there we continued along the road we were on (Highway 103) for a short distance to enjoy the views along it that the lady running the gift shop had suggested. We soon turned around and went back down the mountain to the main highway, we had a lot of distance to cover…

Bighorn Sheep

Bighorn Sheep

Bighorn SheepAt one point along the highway, at the town of Georgetown there was a sign on the side of the highway for an exit, that said something about a bighorn mountain sheep watching area. We had been searching for these the whole route through the mountains so far, so of course we pulled off. The viewing area is on the opposite side of the highway, back to the east a bit, and has the binocular/viewing stations for looking across the highway at the mountainside. We stared and stared and couldn’t find anything, continued a little further down the road, but still no sight. We were about to quit and head back to the highway when finally we spotted movement! Sure enough, a group of about 7 males were on the side, not far above a little dirt road we could see… So, for the sake of good pictures, we went searching for the road. When you exit the highway, rather than taking a left turn for the town and viewing area, go right, and take the right turn up a dirt road. This leads along the base of the mountainside and right under where the sheep should be. We got out of the car, and climbed up the hill, still keeping a good distance away from them, but close enough that with my giant lens I had rented for the trip, I could get some pretty decent pictures!

Bighorn SheepThe remainder of our trek through the Rockies wasn’t that eventful, just lots of gorgeous views of mountains, snow, and pine trees. We stayed the night in Grand Junction on the other side of the mountains, and in the morning, proceeded into Utah, which I quickly realized would be my favorite state in this road trip…

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