We woke to a brisk 54 degrees with an overcast sky this morning. At home, we know our friends and family where likely already sweating in the Indiana humidity, but we donned pants and sweatshirts to cook pancakes in the beauty of the Rockies!
This morning we had homemade pancakes and fresh sausage. When making the pancakes, I forgot to adjust for the high altitudes so the batter was too think to even pour at first. A little extra milk and we were good to go!
After breakfast we took a short bike ride around the campground. It was short, but more than enough for us to need a break. Being at 9,500 feet in elevation changes the physical activity you are able to do. Especially, since less than 24 hours before we were only at 1,500 feet in elevation!
Emmitt has minor altitude sickness (headache and weak stomach) when we arrived but it subsided by morning. I had a dull headache on and off last night as well, but improved with fluids and rest. Nick and Levi seemed to fare better, although Levi did complain about his ears not popping.
About 10 miles from our campground is Loveland Pass which goes over the Continental Divide. This pass is 11,990 feet in elevation (nearly 2,500 feet higher than our campsite)!
We read a book on the way here that explained the importance of the Continental Divide. Rivers west of the divide flow into the Pacific Ocean while rivers east of the divide flow into the Missouri River and ultimately the Gulf of Mexico. (Sneaking in a little geography for the boys!)
From the sign at the pass you can hike a mountain on either side of the road. It took a while, but we hiked to the top. We were too busy hiking, resting and taking it all in to get a picture of the actual path we hiked but we did capture a few from the top. The picture below is around 2/3 of the way up the mountain.
The uninterrupted views of nature were amazing! But it was cold and windy. Even on the mountain tops where the sun was shining, you could still find snow.
Snow! At the end of July? Yep! And Nick didn’t miss an opportunity to throw a few snowballs. It was just as wet and cold as you would expect.
We finally reached the top and grabbed a family photo. You can see we are looking almost straight across at the top of neighboring mountains. We aren’t certain of the final elevation here, but we were likely several hundred feet above the 11,990 feet sign!
The decent was a much quicker and easier trip. You could feel the relief with each few feet you descended. This gave Emmitt a better chance to explore and he thinks he discovered a dinosaur tooth!
On the drive back down the mountain, Nick noticed smoke coming from the truck an a few misses of the engine. After some research he discovered the high altitude was likely causing the issue and it resolved once we had descended below 10,000 feet.
We also stumbled upon two different crews working in the area using aircraft. We ran into a local who gave us the scoop. The helicopter was transporting concrete to a ski lift on top of the mountain and was contracted for $7,000 per hour. The Chinook was a crew working on avalanche control and contracted at $13,000 per hour! Later at the campsite we saw the Chinook fly away for the day. We assumed it was at least a $100,000 day.
We stopped for lunch at Smashburger in Dillion, CO followed by a quick grocery trip to buy a few essentials. On the way back to camp, we stopped along the road passing Lake Dillion. Levi brought his LEGO boat and wanted to try it out. Emmitt helped build a barrier from the waves with drift wood.
Around late afternoon, we headed back to camp to relax and cook dinner which consisted of Salisbury steak made from deer meat, grilled zucchini from our garden and a banana split fluff dessert.
Just as we finished dinner a small storm rolled in which gave us the perfect chance to curl up and watch movies before bed.