Monday, August 1, 2011

Memories From the Top Of the World

We got to see a lot of incredibly beautiful scenery over the last two weeks, plenty of historic, offbeat, and significant sights.  It's hard to call one kind of splendor more splendiferous than another, kind of in the same way you love all your kids equally.  But that Friday in the Rockies was really something else.  Awesome by its true defninition - we honestly stood mouth agape in awe of nature's majesty.

Heading out of Denver, there was the WTF? moment of 2 alpacas standing in a passenger van working its way through Boulder traffic.  There was the grandeur of the towering peaks after days on end of grassland; the cool, crisp blue sky after riding through a heatwave.  We rose steadily through canyons, pine forests, crystal-clear lakes of fresh snowmelt, to the awesome sight of peering from rocky peaks thousands of feet down into lush green alpine valleys.  We made snowballs in July.  By the end of the day, 10,000-foot passes and the views they afford had become almost routine.  We saw mountain goats and sheep and God knows what else.  Then, after leaving the National Park, we had a once-in-a-lifetime moment in the tony ski resort town of Winter Park.

Ever since our trip through Maine and Canada, Donna has been obsessed with seeing a moose.  She even made me take pictures of her next to signs warning you not to hit them (as if that's necessary.)  Moose, moose, moose.  Now, here we were again, having just gotten through Rocky Mountain Nat'l Park, and no sign of a moose.  Donna was heartbroken.

Then, as the last traffic light in town turned green and we pulled out, Donna must have subconsciously wondered why no cars had proceeded through in the other direction and instead just sat there.  She looked to her left, freaked out, and yelled for me, a yell I had never heard before.  I turned around to see her eyes as big as golf balls and her mouth wide open.  A moose!  A huge, hairy, freakin' moose! He was just moseying across the intersection like he was going for a Starbucks and to hell with everybody (which, based on his size, was pretty much his prerogative.)  I couldn't buy that moment for a million dollars.  Neither of us could stop smiling.

From there, we went to Mount Evans and up the highest paved road in North America.  We scared ourselves half to death scaling that narrow, cliff-hanging, frost-buckled strip of asphalt, too nervous to look anywhere but straight ahead.  I can't explain the rush of doing that on a bike (or even a car) unless you've done it yourself.  We parked the bikes at 14,130 feet and caught our breath, amused by the mountain goats wandering around where not even crabgrass can survive.  At that point, neither of us was motivated to climb the trail up the remaining 110 feet to the summit.

We've done a lot of cool things, but that was truly an epic day that neither of us will ever forget.

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