Thursday, September 29, 2016

Colorada and Utah Road Trip - Day One - Denver to Twin Lakes

We have just returned from an amazing trip to Colorado and Utah, our first real taste of the West of the USA.  Both beautiful regions, and both surprisingly different.  We both took so many photos, it was difficult to know where to start with so many highlights, so here's a small selection in a journal-type format.  The quality may vary - as you'll see, many of them were taken out of the car window whilst Hubby was driving...  So here starts our Colorado Utah explorations!

The trip started unforgivably early for our flight to Denver, but at least we caught a beautiful sunrise just as we boarded...

After a four hour flight, it was time to hit the road towards our first destination - Twin Lakes - and to catch our first glimpse of the Rockies in the distance as we left the airport.

But after the busy city traffic, the roads soon got lighter and the scenery more beautiful.  We passed several mines (working or tourist attractions - not sure?), and then drove through the mountains, taking in the gorgeous views of pine forests, aspen trees and mountain tops.

We stopped briefly in Leadville - a place with a stereotypical small-town America feel about it.  It's a former mining town in the heart of the Rocky Mountains, dating back to the late 19th century, as the dates on many of the buildings attest to. Unbelievably, in its heyday it was the second most populated city in Colorado after Denver, although today its population is only about 2.5k.

From Leadville, we hit the long, straight (and largely empty) road again to Twin Lakes.

We also disturbed a small flock of deer (white-tails?) crossing the road, just as we spied the signs for Independence Pass.  The Pass is a high mountain roadway, midway between Aspen and Twin Lakes, which rises to 12,000 feet (3687m), and is renowned for its scenic views, switchback bends and lack of railings!  It is closed in the fall as winter weather makes it impassable.  More on the Pass later!

And then we were afforded our first views of Twin Lakes and Mount Elbert (rising to 14,000 feet), looking gorgeous against the deep blue sky and sunshine. (I know - it looks like a painting - I promise you it's not).  Let the adventures begin!