|On the Way to Snowy Mountain Pass|
|Is this the Snowy Range?|
Although we saw very little snow, we loved the rugged peaks and the alpine ecosystem. The mountain lakes were beautiful, as were the abundant wildflowers. We stopped at the highest overlook on the byway where we were almost blown away. The visibility was good, and we were able to see many of the adjacent mountains ranges, including those at Rocky Mountain National Park. Tim spied a wildfire in the distance, but we didn’t think too much about it at the time.
|Beautiful Mountain Lakes|
|View toward Distant Mountain Ranges|
|More Evidence of Beetle-Killed Trees|
After stopping in Laramie for lunch, we turned south into Colorado. Record high temperatures and a wildfire burning out of control near Fort Collins, which is not too far from our home, welcomed us back to our home state. The small fire that Tim had spotted had grown from 500 to 5,000 acres in just a few hours. We followed the progression of what came to be known as the High Park Fire as we drove south. It was a scary sight, and we knew that the recent drought and the high number of pine bark beetle-killed trees would make containing the fire difficult.
|Welcome to Colorful Colorado, and Wildfires|
|We Watched the Wildfire Grow|
|What a Scary Sight|
We passed through Eaton, which was a kick for me, since it was fun to visit a town that shares my last name. Our final destination for the day was Fort Morgan where Tim’s sister Chris and her husband Tom live. They had kept our car and truck while we were away, and we wanted to visit with them and then retrieve the car.
|Welcome to Eaton|
We spent a wonderful evening with family. Although we had wanted to take them to dinner, Chris and Tom thought we might enjoy a home-cooked meal instead. How thoughtful they are. They had invited Tim’s sister Cathy and other members of the family, and we were able to catch up with everyone over a great dinner.
|Tim and Family|
I can’t believe that we arrived back in Colorado when temperatures reached a scorching 101°. We are just not used to such heat. We had only a handful of very hot days on the trip, and that was just fine with me. Maybe we should have waited to return until Sunday, when a cold front was predicted to drop temperatures by at least 20°. Later in the evening the cold front ushered in very high winds. I’m just glad we stowed the awning or it would have blown away. It was blowing so hard that it was even hard to close our vent cover. Now, we could add high winds to record high temperatures and a wildfire. What a welcome home from Mother Nature!