Heading west...

A foot race in the city nearly derailed our attempt to get to a favorite breakfast spot of Mandy's, but we finally succeeded (driving 20 blocks out of our way).

We dropped Mandy at her apartment, then headed west over the mountains. We stopped in Blackhawk for a look around, then got distracted an hour later by a steam train running alongside the river. We waited and waited, and finally it arrived. Because of the grade, it had to be towed the last mile into the station by a diesel switcher engine. DW was disappointed, but the engine was very cool, and worth waiting for.

We watched the altimeter as we climbed one particularly high and rocky pass, and cheered when it went over 11,000 feet. The mountains were clear of snow and trees this high, but the elevation didn't stop some very ugly mining activity and tailings piles.

One of the old caches we were looking for was near the headwaters of the Arkansas River, near an old log cabin. Hunters were camped there, so we did the cache and walked back to the truck. But I couldn't resist a steep rocky scramble down to the riverbank for a few photos.

We drove for a couple of hours on a Colorado highway that runs right along the continental divide. Range after range of mountains, rising from a broad, flat plain of green fields, each with a 14,000 foot peak in the center. It was some of the most spectacular scenery I've ever seen. And completely impossible to photograph.

We climbed up over Monarch Pass to Durango, then finally came to Blue Mesa Lake. The sun was low in the sky, and the light was beautiful on the rocky basalt cliffs.

A long day of driving, but we saw some spectacular scenery.

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