Friday, April 18, 2008

snowed in ...

First stop over the border into Colorado was the old mining town of Silverton.

Located in a secluded valley over 9,000 feet high in the mountains and surrounded by snow-capped peaks, winter was still in evidence here with snow reaching the upper storeys of some buildings as we explored the historic town.

It was here that we discovered that it is not only Bolivia where you can get a high altitude hangover. Of course it wasn't really our fault - the only place open after 7pm was the local tavern.

In fact, the following morning's hangover was so bad I had to continually fight the urge to stop and bury my head in the snow drifts for relief. But despite the headaches our drive through the stunning Red Canyon was fantastic with superb far reaching views and 12-foot long icicles hanging by the side of the road.

It wasn't until lunchtime the following day that we reached Rocky Mountains National Park in the north of Colorado.

After stocking up on supplies at the local store we found a cabin for the evening just as a snowstorm was beginning to hit. By 6pm there was already 3 inches of snow on the ground and the temperature had fallen to -4C, but it takes more than that to stop us making full use of the hot tub - the contrast in temperatures was invigorating.

Especially the walk to and from the cabin in flip-flops.

We're having such a good time here that we've abandoned our plans to visit Boulder in favour of another two nights in the cabin.

Driving around the National Park by day offers some unbeatable views, but we've discovered that the wildlife around our cabin is just as plentiful as in the protected area. Every day we've seen scores of ground squirrels and deer, and even a coyote hanging around this morning.