Monday, July 31, 2017

Mt Evans--One of My Favorite Places In Colorado!


Every June, around the first day of summer, my husband and I anxiously await word that the road leading to the summit of Mt. Evans is re-opened for the season.  As soon as we can, we take a drive up this beautiful mountain to see its sights and renew our spirits after a long winter.   We first visited Mt Evans the year we moved to Colorado--to see my post about that click here.  My husband and I found the drive up a little scary then, but happily now my husband is an experienced mountain driver and I leave that task to him while I take photos!



Mt, Evans is not Colorado's highest mountain--that honor belongs to Mt Elbert at 14,400 foot altitude (4401.2 m), but at 14,260 feet altitude (4,346.5 m) it is the highest mountain in the Denver area. It also contains North America's Highest Auto Road.


We made our trip up this season on June 21, and there was still quite a bit of snow along the drive. Click on all photos and photo collages in this post to enlarge them for easier viewing.


As always we were excited to arrive at the auto summit parking lot. There we could look up at the true summit at 14,271 feet.  It is easy to see why these mountains are called the Rocky Mountains when you see the summit it is entirely made of boulders and rocks! The ruins of a visitor center that burned down, except for the stone facade is near the parking lot, and also restrooms. The round domed Meyer-Wombe Observatory is an astronomical observatory owned by the University of Denver, and is not open to the public,


The views from the parking area are spectacular--we could see for many miles! Mountain range upon mountain range loom in the distance.


This view was looking toward the Denver area. 


As we started to walk the switchback trail to reach the true summit my husband could not resist making a few snowballs!  The temperature in Denver the day of our drive up Mt Evans was over 90 degrees, but at the mountain summit it was only 55 degrees.


We found that the trail up to the top was blocked by snow. We saw some people scurrying over the boulders to climb up, but we did not want to take a chance to try doing that.  It might be dangerously slippery going up and down that way, and we also remembered a person was severely injured this past spring when a boulder moved and fell on her on North Table Mountain and crushed her legs.


So, instead of climbing we just admired the view a little longer..,


...and had fun watching Mt Evans Mountain Goats....


...and Bighorn Sheep.


The Mountain Goats are alpine and sub-alpine species and are well protected by their thick double layered woolly white coats.  If you visit later in the season you will see them molting the extra layer of fur. They can withstand temperatures at minus 50 F (minus 46 C) and 100 hundred miles an hour wind!


I especially love watching the newborn goat kids!


We began to drive down Mt Evans and stopped at a pull out slightly below the parking area, so that I could take this photo of 14,065 foot (4287 m) Mt Bierstadt in the distance.


I also saw many delightful alpine flowers beginning to bloom here!


 These Alpine Forget-Me-Nots wildflowers were so teeny tiny and so beautiful!

 Click on to enlarge to read the sign.

We went further down and stopped at Summit Lake which is a natural formed glacial lake at 12,836 feet altitude (3,912). Summit Lake Park is the highest Park in the country and Denver's only treeless park. I love walking around the trails in this area.

On our visit on June 21, much of the lake was still frozen.


Even so, when we walked to the edge of  Summit Lake....


...I saw wildflowers in bloom right next to the icy cold water!


The wildflowers along the tundra trails of Summit Lake are prolific, and many are varieties that are not seen anywhere else outside the Arctic Circle!


The "Alpine Spring Beauty"--Claytona Megarhiza-is one of my favorites. It is from the purslane family.  It can have a tap root that is many feet deep in order for it to get the water and nutrients it needs.


After leaving Summit Lake we continued to drive down to a lower elevation of Mt Evans, but we were still above the tree line.


We were approaching another favorite area, Mt. Goliath, where the trees are all "krummholz," which means twisted, bent deformed.  The trees at sub-alpine weather are exposed to severe snow, wind and freezing temperatures, and must be very strong to survive.  In my next blog post I'll show the Bristlecone Pine trees in this area that are over 1,600 years old!


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50 comments:

Linda said...

Oh, how I LOVED this post! For many years I visited Colorado in the summer, fall and winter. Only once did I visit in the spring and found that was not the best time! Mt. Evans was one of my favorite places! I love how YOU love your life in Colorado! If I didn't live in Texas - I would live in Colorado!!

eileeninmd said...

Hello Patricia, beautiful views of Mt Evans. The Colorado mountains are lovely. The mountain goats are cute and the wildflowers are beautiful. Great shot of you at the lake. Wonderful post and photos. Happy Monday, enjoy your new week!

diane b said...

I love reading your posts about Colorado. It is like I am with you and enjoying the exotic scenery, wildlife and flowers. Those goats are amazing. That is great that you can get so high by car. Does it make you light headed up there?

Snap said...

Beautiful! I love your "love" for your new state. The mountain goats and bighorn sheep made me homesick for New Mexico! Happy Monday!

Magical Mystical Teacher said...

Now that's a road trip worth remembering! Thanks for linking to Blue Monday!

Maggie said...

How stunning Mt Evans is, the scenery is breathtaking. I had to smile at your husband making snowballs just like mine would do if he got the chance. The alpine wildflowers look so fragile and yet we know how strong and resilient they must be to survive and grow in those artic conditions.
Thanks for taking us along with you once again. Those mountain roads don't scare us any more, do they?
Have a lovely summer, see you in September.

Lorrie said...

John Denver's "Rocky Mountain High" is warbling in my brain as I read this post. What a wonderful annual excursion. The wildflowers that bloom so high are stalwart, indeed. I enjoyed this trip with you.

Cheryl @ TFD said...

Such beauty! I don't blame you for making this an annual trip. The roads are a bit scary, but I would love to travel up there too. It was fun to see the animals and wildflowers as well as the spectacular scenery. Have a nice week!

Tamar SB said...

What an amazing place to go!!

Alycia Quiltygirl.com said...

I loved this post!!! You had an amazing time! Beautiful!

Felicia said...

This is one road we didn't ever drive. wish I would have. How wonderful. Thanks for sharing.

A Colorful World said...

Mt. Evans was an absolute highlight of our trip to Colorado with our grandson three years ago! Got some great photos of the bighorn sheep, marmots, and the incredible scenery. Grandson caught a fish with his hands across the road from Summit Lake, and the lake itself was just breath-taking! We loved every minute.

Molly said...

what amazing views you had of this stunning landscape

Mollyx

Linda W. said...

I didn't realize there was a road to the summit on one of Colorado's 14ers. Fantastic views! Thanks for sharing.

Ruth Hiebert said...

WOW! You captured spectacular beauty. The mountains, of courseware always a thrill to see, but those tiny flowers are just a beautiful.Looking at some of that road,I'm not sure i really want to make that drive.Looks scary to me.

Tom said...

...nice view from the top of the world! This is about 2 1/2 times the highest peak in New York State. Thanks for stopping by!

Carol @Comfort Spring Station said...

Unbelievable blue in all the skies. Great trip to the top!

jeannettestgermain said...

The views are breath taking, Pat! Love the drive up there, but I can imagine it's a little scary! Wow, have never seen so much wool on the mountain goats! Thanks so much for sharing all this beauty with All Seasons - and not to forget the beautiful alpine flowers!Have a beautiful week! Thank you for the birthday wish:)
PS I hope that if your hubby threw you some snowballs, he got some back!

Rhonda Albom said...

I would have skipped the trail as I'm not fond of walking on steep hills and the thought of shifting boulders is not very comforting. The mountain goats look very sturdy as they need to be for this environment.

NC Sue said...

Beautiful photos of a beautiful place.
Thanks for sharing at http://image-in-ing.blogspot.com/2017/07/pm-paddle-on-lake.html

Clearissa Coward said...

Gorgeous pictures. That has to be some adventure. Thanks for sharing with us at #BloggingGrandmothersLinkParty. I’ve shared on social media.

Rajesh said...

Very beautiful and scenic locales.

carol l mckenna said...

Beautiful scenic and floral shots ~ gorgeous country ~ favorite of mine are mountain goats ~ thanks, ^_^

My blog is now A Shutterbug Explores) aka A Creative Harbor and posting daily )

Fun60 said...

I can feel your excitement through your post and who wouldn't be thrilled at those views.

Angie said...

Pat - Colorado and Montana have a lot in common (roads that don't open until June, mountain goats and the like) but we don't have a road that goes that high. I adore the baby goat pictures, as well as the alpine flowers. They have to get going in a hurry as soon as the snow melts to make the most of the short season!

Ciao Chow Linda said...

Wow. What a spectacular drive and place. I love that Vinny now feels "experienced" enough in mountain driving, to let you sit back and take your photos - and what gorgeous photos they are! I'm glad you decided not to scurry over the boulders. As we get older, our wiser selves sometimes kick in!

Carol (" Mimi") Benton said...

Now, that's a way to beat the heat in the summertime! Beautiful photos! Thank you for linking up at #BloggingGrandmothersLinkParty. I’m sharing your link on social media.
Carol (“Mimi”) from Home with Mimi

The French Hutch said...

Hi Pat, Wow, I see why you and your husband look forward to driving up the mountain. The drive looks a bit scary but the views are stunning, not to mention the flowers. I love seeing the goats and sheep. That is one magical drive. Happy August.

Sue Loncaric said...

Great scenery I enjoyed all of your photos. Thanks for sharing with us at #BloggingGrandmothersLinkParty. Have a lovely day x

Mother of 3 said...

Such beautiful pictures; that looks like an amazing view!

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

One of our favorite Colorado places too, Pat ... and I loved your beautiful pictures -- we have seen mountain goats up there , but not sheep (we've been up twice) ... I would never try to climb that summit even if there were no snow -- I'm just proud of myself for being able to breathe! It's fun to know that your husband has gotten used to driving mountain roads ... now you are definitely Coloradoans -- and Westerners!! (We grew up driving mountain roads in Washington, Oregon, Idaho ... none at this altitude, but driving is not a problem for us. Even I could do it -- although I don't because I too am taking pictures.) We have met more than a few people on our travels who have said they are afraid to visit the western states because of the mountain roads.... I am glad you two were not like that!!

Christie Hawkes said...

You always post the most beautiful photos! Thanks for linking up at #BloggingGrandmothersLinkParty.

Lori G. Hill said...

What a beautiful place and incredible photographs!
https://twitter.com/LoriGraceH

Ruth Rieckehoff said...

This is incredible! I love the mountain and lake views. Oh, and those goats are so cute! I get anxious just looking at your road photos. I do not think I have ever been in such a higher place. My husband is not scared of drives like that. I would need to lay down in some areas.

Light and Voices said...

I thought of John Denver just a few days ago. Visiting your blog today set in motion thoughts of Mountain High...a tune John Denver sang. Enjoyed the cyber tour a lot. What an adventure you and your husband shared. Memories galore!

Judee Algazi said...

all of your photos are breathtaking. It would be a special treat for me to see mountain goats ( as I've never seen any) Thank you for sharing all the views, wildlife, and flowers- so beautiful

Amy Johnson said...

Wow! Stunning. I especially love the mountain goats. I have yet to see one in the wild. I love Colorado and I have been there several times and I am always excited to go back!

Sylvia said...

Pat, Those are some Rocky Mountains and I am amazed how far you can see. Thanks for sharing the plants and animals. The nearly frozen lake is really nice. Have a great week. Sylvia D.

Lady Fi said...

The scenery is simply stunning.

tourbangladeshtips said...

Wowww..!!
the scenery was awesome.!!
I think everyone who likes to travel must visit this place.After seeing the post i just got shocked and i think that i have to go there..!!

Thanks Pat for sharing the post..
Have a nice day.

ellen b. said...

Love those Forget me Nots! The little kids are so cute! Wonderful photos Pat!

Lowcarb team member said...

Such amazing views.
Lovely to see all of your photographs here.

Happy August Wishes.

All the best Jan

bettyl-NZ said...

I can see why it's a favorite--it has everything!

Tanna said...

Beautiful post, Pat!! The vastness just cannot be conveyed in pictures, but you've done as good as can be done! Those mountain roads are a trip, aren't they!?! You might love a raft trip!! ;) blessings ~ tanna

Michelle said...

Mountain driving is precarious, but the views it affords are amazing. We also love to watch the wildlife. Thanks for linking up and have a great weekend!

Spare Parts and Pics said...

Stunning shots!! I can totally see why you both look forward to the drive up every year. Those goats and sheep don't seem at all bothered by your presence!

Al said...

Outstanding - I need to add this to my list of places to see in Colorado.

Ida said...

Wow! What amazing views. I might be scared to travel that road as I noticed no guard rails (I'm chicken about things like that) but it sure was awesome seeing your photos of this area. Loved seeing the Sheep and Goats.

Wandering Wren said...

What amazing photos, I can see why you look forward to the reopening of the road. As you say you would need to be a bold driver. Three cheers for your hubby getting you up there!!
Happy Sunday Pat :)
Wren x

Michelle Leslie said...

Just wanted to say thank you Pat. I always love visiting your delightful blog. I get to see the most amazing places that I will probably never be able to see in real life. Your photos always make me feel like I'm actually there.