Kate had a day off on Thursday and we drove on the highest paved road in North America, the Mt. Evans Scenic Byway, which tops out at a parking lot right below the summit. The parking lot is at 14,140 feet roughly. It is a short five minute hike to the summit at 14,264 feet. The view was spectacular. From the top we were able to spot our apartment tower in Denver with binoculars. While we were up there I spoke with two hikers who had started out on the trail at 6:30am and had just made the summit five hours later. I admired them, not for climbing a 14er, but for climbing one you can drive up. I wouldn't want to spend five or more hours on a trail only to find a parking lot at the top. How depressing. I think that sort of defeats the purpose. However, I would highly recommend the drive if you haven't done it. The road closes September 7th. It is a bit of a hairy drive with skinny lanes, no guardrails, and huge consequences if you take your eye off the road for one moment. Here are some shots.
On the way up. There were a lot of views like this where it felt like you were just driving up and off the earth.
Long's Peak can be seen in the center of this picture. It wasn't the clearest day and I forgot my big zoom lens at home so this will have to do.
I am not familiar with all the names of the surrounding mountains and ridges, but I believe this is part of the Sawtooth ridge, just west of Mt. Evans. You hike this ridge to get to the summit of Evans. A climber can be seen at the top of the ridge.
I don't know my wildlife, but some type of mountain goat here, munching on poop (unconfirmed, but probable) on the side of the road.
On the way down now, Kate leaned out the window and snapped this shot of the road, winding upward on the eastern slope of Mt. Evans.