I set the alarm for 6:15, but I was up at 6 AM, and Carolyn and I were out of the hotel by seven, rolling down the road out of the box canyon of Telluride.
We headed first to Ridgway, and then past Montrose, up to Blue Mesa Reservoir, and then on to Gunnison.
As on previous days, the scenery was spectacular. My regular camera has been jammed closed since the beginning, so the only tool I have had with which to record this trip has been my iPhone camera. To say that no camera can capture the majesty and beauty of Colorado is an understatement!
We crossed the Continental Divide at Monarch Pass (11,312 feet high) where a 10-foot cut of ice and snow was a reminder that winter at this height is no picnic!
A sign noted that ice and snow that melted to the left flowed to the Pacific, while ice and snow that melted to the right flowed to the Atlantic. Yes indeed -- and downhill all the way!
At the top of the pass, we met a young woman, her mother, and their two dogs -- a hound, and a border collie. The young woman had been driving when her rear tires had slipped on a small patch of ice and she "hit the mountain." The car was now on a tow truck at the top of the pass, and the two ladies and their dogs were waiting to be picked up by a friend down the valley. A warning from the Gods. I drove down the mountain very carefully.
As on previous days, the weather seemed to change every 45 minutes, and the landscape seem to change with every bend. We passed mesas that looked like postcards of Arizona, and towering snow-capped mountains straight out of Switzerland. Dry plains looked like the Veldt of Africa, and melt-water soaked pastures were as emerald green as the Irish countryside. The geological variety, the changes in flora, and the manic changes in altitude were both dizzying and exhilarating. We were not bored!
We dropped out of an arid rocky gorge onto the high plain. The towering buildings of Denver were only a few miles away.
With 10 inches or more of snow predicted for Sunday, we decided to drop the car off at the airport, and take a taxi into Denver.
That plan worked flawlessly, and we were delivered without fanfare to the Oxford Hotel, the oldest in Denver.
After a couple of cups of coffee at a nearby Starbucks, and dinner at a nearby noodle place, we walked around to get a feel of the immediate neighborhood before deciding to call it a day.