July 9, 2009

Road trip pics

jeg43 asked that I post photos of my recent road trip. Riding and aiming a camera don't mix, and it was raining much of the time, so I really didn't take a bunch, but here are a few and a little commentary.

I'll start out with a map...

This is the area I traveled. Although I've spent many an enjoyable hour exploring much of Colorado by scooter, 4-wheel drive and sitting a saddle, it has been several years since I've done so. This was a much needed trip, and I'll not let time slip by again before taking similar trips.

The brother's house in Boulder. Notice the "for sale" sign in the yard. A sad sight for me, as I remember when he first bought the place (1969) and the time we spent wrecking out the old plaster and lath getting it ready to be restored. It was hard but rewarding work, and as you can see... the place is spectacular.

It rained all but one day of my trip, but rain is not always a bad thing. This double rainbow was shot over Boulder.

This is a view of Mt. Meeker taken from out in the Front Range farming areas. Views like this are particularly spectacular at sunrise on a clear day. Unfortunately I had only one clear day, and as you can see, it was still hazy.

I wonder if the farmers ever look up from their fields and wonder at the majesty of the Rockies.

Mt. Meeker from a bit closer in, taken with 4X zoom from the Peak to Peak Hwy.

Boulder Creek just below Boulder Falls. In my youth we would tube all the way from the falls into downtown Boulder. As you can see, it could be challenging... and painful if you were unlucky enough to bust a tailbone on one of those rocks.

The Cascade Creek was one of my more favored places for hiking and camping. Recent rains have kept the creek flowing, but light winter snows may lead to the creek drying up as summer wears on.

Just above Lyons, Colorado. Long's Peak is visible in the distance.

Long's Peak through the trees.

At 14,255 above sea level, Long's Peak is a pretty majestic sight. Many moons ago, while taking pilot lessons, I had the opportunity to fly over Long's Peak in a Cessna 270.

The Stanley Hotel was built in 1909 by F.O. Stanley, the inventor of the Stanley Steamer automobile. Stanley had tuberculosis, and his physician recommended he go to someplace high and dry. He and his wife settled on Estes Park as a vacation spot in an effort to ease his misery. It worked. His health improved and they decided to stay and invest in Estes Park's future.

The northern Front Range as seen from in front of the Stanley Hotel, Estes Park.

Fuel prices at the least expensive station I could find in Estes Park.

The Big Thompson River flows through the Big Thompson Canyon (duh). This is the river that flooded back in July of 1976, wreaking havoc and killing 144 people. Up to 16 inches of rain fell in a dramatic thunderstorm that started at dusk and continued well into the night. Most residents had no warning of the impending disaster, and nothing like it had happened in that area before.

The flood nearly wiped Estes Park off the map. It scoured the canyon walls, moving tremendous amounts of rock and debris downriver, overrunning crowded campgrounds and wiping out riverside cabins. Bridges throughout the canyon became temporary dams, which quickly backed up then broke violently, creating a series of flood surges that worsened the devastation. Houses and cars all just became a part of this "flow."

The vast majority of those killed were determined by the county coroner to have been crushed before they could drown. Several victims were never found.

The Big Thompson flood is known to flood experts all over the world. Although it is considered to be a rare event, if such a flood were to hit Boulder the results would likely be far more devastating, as so many more people live at the mouth of that canyon.

My brother and I participated in the rescue efforts. This was perhaps the event that caused me to enter EMS as a career.


Andrew C said...

You seriously tubed Boulder Creek? American Whitewater has it listed as IV-V class whitewater. Looks like quite a bit of maneuvering would be involved. I doubt I could kayak it - couldn't pay me enough to tube it. It looks shallow, rocky, and swift, perfect conditions for a foot entrapment!

Llama said...

Too bad he's selling the house now; with housing prices the way they are up there, it'll just be more people moving into Boulder with too much money and not enough sense. That house is gorgeous! I wish my parents could sell their overgrown place out in Gunbarrel and move back into Boulder. Less driving, and they're the old hippies Boulder needs to thrive.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, MB. I've only been through that general area a couple of times, but it sure is beautiful country. I don't remember the Big Thompson flood - probably had my head up some unmentionable place down south.
Your brother's place is lovely. Interesting note about Stanley.
You haven't lost me - just quietly enjoying your site on a very regular schedule.

Mule Breath said...

Andrew: Yes, indeed we tubed the Boulder... several of us and several times. Foolish as that may sound, we performed even more foolhardy stunts by continuing our tubing all the way thru town... including squeezing thru some narrow culverts over on the east side. We were young and stupid, but somehow we survived.

Llama: The reason he is selling is because of the hippie types returning to roost. My brother, bless his pointed head, is a Randite Libertarian. I find it at times difficult to believe we share genes. I, on the other hand, am class of '69, Fairview High School, and spent much of that formative year on The Hill (remember Tulagi? I bet your parents do).

jeg: Very happy to know you're sticking around. I enjoy your comments. Sidebar about the Stanley Hotel. Stephen King overnighted there once, and it was the Stanley which gave him inspiration for The Shining.

Anonymous said...

What do the colored areas on your map represent?

Mule Breath said...

The map is a geomap, which I swiped because of all the map images I looked at, it best shows the area I wanted to depict. The colors represent geological periods, and you can find the key HERE.

Bill said...

Some beautiful scenery and interesting flood photos. On the canyon walls leading into Estes Park there are signs reading "in case of flooding seek higher ground fast" or something to that effect. Often wondered how fast I could get up those walls.

Llama said...

Hell, I remember Tulagi's. We held a CU marching band event there in '98, not long before it closed.

Mule Breath said...

Llama, here is some trivia for you. The psychedelic light show was invented at Tulagi. A dude named Carl took an old slide projector, set it on a timer and flashed the strangest assortment of images you can imagine on the wall behind the band. He then took two clock crystals, some oil, alcohol and food coloring, drizzled various combinations of the liquids into the bowl of one crystal while applying pressure with the other, causing the liquids to squish a run, with the light from an overhead projector superimposing the swirling colors over the slideshow. All the while there were colored spots and a rotating disco ball in action.

Voila! The first slight show.