It’s Sunday, our last day in Golden, Colorado, before heading west. I’m not sure when I’ll visit with my daughter again, so I want to do something fun today. Initially we were going to head back over to Red Rocks Park and Amphitheatre for some more hiking and exercising, but since Al and I already got in a 45 minute hike at the park early this morning and daughter and I have already explored the park together, I opt for something different; a scenic drive.
When daughter arrives at the RV, I greet her with, “Let’s drive to the top of the Continent and take the highest paved auto road in North America”. This is said with great excitement and enthusiasm. With hesitation and a decided look of concern on daughter’s face, she responds, “Ooh….kaaay”. All the while looking over my shoulder toward Al with the look of “Help me daddy”. LOL
Ashton and I always have a great time on our adventures, and usually encounter some sort of funny situation that makes us laugh until tears stream down our face from laughter.
“So where exactly are we going, mom and why?” “I want to go see goats….Rocky Mountain Goats to be exact. It’ll be fun”, I respond. I once again hear the proverbial drawn out, questioning, “Oh….kaaay”. We pack a picnic lunch, bid farewell to Al, and hop in my little red truck.
The Mount Evans scenic byway is located 60 miles west of Denver and is the highest paved road in North America. The journey climbs over 9,000 feet in elevation and temperatures drop from 3-5 degrees for every 1,000 feet. The weather is typically cold and windy, with an average summer time temperature around 42 degrees Fahrenheit at the summit. During our visit today it was a balmy 56 degrees and dropping as the clouds started rolling in.
It’s common to have afternoon storms roll through in the Rocky Mountains and quite often accompanied by lightning. This is one of the main reasons Al and I hike before noon. Lightening around here is deadly and not to be taken lightly.
As we pull around the last hairpin turn and approach a parking spot at the summit, Ashton blurts out exuberantly, “Goats….I see goats”. The vehicle is barely in park when she jumps out moving quickly toward these adorable mountain goats with me in quick pursuit, of course.
We spend 15 to 20 minutes hanging out with the mountain goats. The baby was too cute for words. They do occasionally cause traffic backups while crossing the road at their leisure.
The summit parking lot sits at an elevation of 14,130 feet. From the parking lot, we take a rugged quarter mile hike up to 14,264 feet. Ashton and I notice a number of visitors struggling with the altitude and rocky terrain. She and I don’t seem to have a problem. Although I had fun teasing daughter that I was experiencing symptoms of hypoxia. This wonderful mother can’t pass up an opportunity to share such vast knowledge with her off spring 🙄
We boulder around…… what feels like the top of the world, being careful not to take a wrong step. The views are stunning.
As we start the drive back down the mountain, we find a place to pull off and a great spot for our picnic lunch…..lunch with a view.
Ashton and I are so glad we took this day trip to the top of the continent. Another memorable mother/daughter adventure filled with plenty of laughter…..scrapbook worthy, for sure.
I won’t lie, the drive at times did turn my knuckles white and daughter more than once politely (or maybe not so politely) asked me to please stop looking around and pay attention to the road. The road is narrow and consists of lots of hairpin turns, sudden drop offs, and no guardrails. This is an excursion I would highly recommend……start early and take your time.