Colorado Trip — Mt. Evans Part II

Welcome to part II of our Colorado trip as we ascend to Mt. Evans!

To pick up where we left off, we headed up Squaw Pass Road toward the entrance to the Mt. Evans road. There were a few construction zones which turned the road to dirt. Our cars were already dirty and a little off roading wasn’t going to stop us!

IMG_8005

Here’s a photo taken by Jeremy of the Accord following the ILX. Seeing photos like this really make me wish I had HIDs. I think it would have been a nice option back then.

jason_following

This trip will be the 3rd time the ILX and my Accord have traveled together. Even though these cars are nearly 9 years apart, the colors are quite similar and the Accord doesn’t look too aged. The first time I met Tyson was in Bisbee, AZ and he was driving his 500,000+miles Acura Legend Coupe LS 6-speed. Hope to see that car again.

tyson_jason_echo_lake

Here we arrive at the welcome sign to the official start of the highest road in North America!

IMG_8060

Here we have myself, Jouhl and Tyson.

jason_jouhl_tyson_mount_evans

Fee to get in is $10 per car. Worth every penny if you ask me.

IMG_8077

The road which leads to the summit is only 14 miles.

IMG_8079

Right about here was the tree line limit. The land above here is one of the harshest environments for anything to survive, also known as, the alpine tundra. With intense sunlight, high winds and constant showers, it’s certainly no surprise there were no trees or shrubbery as we climbed higher.

IMG_8031

This is the first corner that reminded us of how attentive the driver must be on this sort of road. It was steep and curved sharply to the left. All you could see was sky…like we were flying. Adrenaline starting pumping…life was good!

IMG_8097

We continued on following Tyson with peeled eyes (me for watching the road and Jouhl for the scenery). Despite being at a very high elevation, his little ILX’s 2.4L seemed to charged up the inclines with aplomb.

IMG_8172

We stopped at a pullover to take in the views and snap a few shots with the cars.

IMG_8152

IMG_8148

The air was certainly thinner up here (maybe 12,000ft at this point?) but no adverse effects yet.

IMG_8133

IMG_8145

Pretty soon, the road became even skinnier and the center line disappeared. Almost as if it was saying, “fend for yourselves now.” The clouds were so majestic and we felt as though we were practically in them.

IMG_8422

Still ascending!

IMG_8209

Here’s one of many spectacular photos Jouhl took while we were driving.

IMG_0199

On a few occasions we passed some bicyclists who seemed to think nothing at all about being only a few feet from certain death!

IMG_8244

And finally, we made it! Parking was snug but both Tyson and I found some spots fairly quickly.

IMG_8295

And here’s proof that we’ve been here.

IMG_0201

The icing on the cake was seeing these cool dudes roaming around. These are known as the Rocky Mountain Goats and according to the Mt. Evans website, these goats are not native to this area but actually brought in from Wyoming. The reason why was not stated. It is believed that there are close to 90-100 living there now.

IMG_8331

This guy looked quite majestic.

IMG_8318

IMG_8323

Tyson and Jouhl taking a breather after the climb. Tyson stated he felt a little light-headed as did Jouhl. I was feeling it in my chest.

IMG_8332

In this photo, you can see that the parking lot is actually a little lower than the actual summit. Even though we were short on air, we just had to climb to the top.

IMG_8344

Jouhl and I took it easy going up. This was quite a change from the 3,900ft we’re used to in Las Cruces, NM.

IMG_8349

Jeremy however, didn’t let a little altitude stop him. He was off exploring like crazy on his own.

IMG_8365

Here’s one of the official markers of the summit. This one read, “14,358 ft.”

IMG_8375

Being quite small and embedded in a rock, it can be easy to miss.

IMG_8377

As you may have noticed, we all opted to grab our sweatshirts up here…even in mid-July. The temperature with slight winds was a nippy 50˚F.

IMG_8381

Thanks to some fellow tourists who took our photo. (Jeremy was still off exploring somewhere at this point)

IMG_8392

After we took in the views for a while, we decided to descend now. In one word, “stunning!”

IMG_8406_Snapseed

Even this guy was admiring the views.

IMG_8409

IMG_8370

The drive down wasn’t bad as both Tyson and I kept our cars in 2nd and 3rd gear nearly all the way to keep the braking to a minimum.

IMG_8425

IMG_8462

Here you can see how the road looks like a string of asphalt-spaghetti draped on the side of the mountain.

IMG_8483

Another photo from out the window…

IMG_8452

On our way down, I took the lead while Tyson and Jeremy followed.

IMG_8441

IMG_8435

To summarize our mountain adventure, Tyson created a really cool montage which you can see here:

When we (safely) made it to the bottom, Jouhl and I checked out the gift shop while Tyson took Jeremy back to his car in Denver. One of the many amusing things I saw in the shop was this bumper sticker. I was tempted to buy it, but never to put on my car. Most likely I’d put it with the many other worthless souvenirs I have in my garage.

IMG_0192

Tyson, Jouhl and I were to meet again in Colorado Spring, CO that night where we’d have dinner and depart for home the next day. Here we are getting back to Denver where we’d hook up with I-25 south. The storm clouds were just rolling in. I wonder how much fun it would be if we stayed on top of Mt. Evans a little longer to see this storm.

IMG_8623

Day 3 (Sunday):

Sunday morning, and we are ready to set off for home. Before we did though, we met up with one of Tyson’s friends from the (Acura) Legend forums, Adam. Adam is a Colorado Springs local. He owns this beautiful 1995 BMW 540i 6-speed. According to Adam, this is one of 100 made in this spec. My love for BMWs hasn’t left me…I was drooling when I saw this!

IMG_8644

Thanks to Adam for giving us a ride in it. With 210,000 miles, it still felt quick and solid.

IMG_8642

After a farewell to both Tyson and Adam, Jouhl and I set off for Las Cruces. We elected to take a slightly different route by skipping most of I-25, which is both dull and exhausting. We took Hwy 54 south nearly all the way back.

Screen Shot 2013-07-27 at 12.11.30 AM

To me, this is more interesting than Interstate driving.

IMG_8702

We encountered several little thunderstorms along the way. Made the trip back that much more enjoyable.

IMG_8794

Quick shot of the Accord through a pipe near Alamogordo, NM. This was just before getting back to the familiar stomping grounds.

IMG_8815

And that concludes my Colorado trip. Thank you all for stopping by. Hope the trip was as enjoyable for you as it was for me. Until next time…

4 thoughts on “Colorado Trip — Mt. Evans Part II

  1. tysonhugie says:

    Asphalt spaghetti! Love it, Jason. Nicely written write-up and I enjoyed seeing your version of the story! Glad we were able to meet up for some high-altitude cruising.

    • pawela says:

      Was a blast, Tyson! Thanks! Hope to get our Hondas up high again soon. Even if it’s that devil’s pass in Juarez Jouhl was talking about. Lol

  2. […] The county road leading up to the top was well weathered with disintegrating shoulders. However, it was fun to drive and had some curves that were actually a bit challenging like when I went to Mt. Evans. […]

  3. […] lane and hugged the side of the mountain with steep drop offs to the left. Not quite the thrill of Mt. Evans (CO), but it still required both hands on the wheel and careful attention to avoid colliding with […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: