I pulled out of Gunnison around 8:30 Monday morning, driving into beautiful tan, hillsides east of town.
I expected to reach Aurora by 3 or so, even with a few stops. More glorious fall colors as I went east.
And then up. And up and up. And up some more to Monarch Pass. I loved the sign because the Forest Service made it in a butterfly shape!
Monarch Pass is the Continental Divide, posted a 11, 312 feet. That gave me pause. Should old people be up at that elevation? The effective oxygen is only 65% that of oxygen at sea level! I live at nearly 5000 feet where the level is 83% that of sea level. Would that difference affect me?
I climbed out of my car. Seemed I could get plenty of oxygen in my breath and my balance seemed fine, so on I went to the visitor’s center which was actually a store with information.
And fudge. It had fudge.
I opted not to hike to the very top, likely a few hundred feet higher. Why take chances with oxygen?
Then down the other side. Lots of mountain baldness and finally, I was back in color.
When I stopped for the color shot (last good color of the rest of the drive to Aurora) I found the remains of a deer.
More baldness followed by a lunch break, then on to the Big City. Below is Mount Antero, elevation 14,269 feet.
The drive into the Denver area was full of traffic on a Monday afternoon! And at 40 miles away I could see the smog.
Finally, almost to Katie’s, I got totally lost. She and her partner weren’t a lot of help when I explained where I was because they’re fairly new to the area they live in. I finally pulled into a lot at a church on a busy highway and told Katie to find me or I was heading to a hotel.
They found me a short time later. I’d transposed two numbers in her address. This getting lost was all operator error, not the fault of Google Maps.
Soon, we were on her deck, snacking away.
And, she’s got a cat, Tracki.