Friday, August 07, 2015

Sunset on Mount Evans

Logged off from work an hour early yesterday and rode to nearby Mount Evans to see what we could see.

I was riding Scarlett, my 2014 URAL Patrol Sidecar Rig, and about 90 minutes later we'd transited around the southern edge of the Metro Denver area and arrived at the Fee Station for the Mount Evans Highway aka CO State Road 5.

The fee takers had gone home, and it was a bit before 5:00PM, so I just kept on heading up the mountain as would several others later on.  It's a state highway, so the fees collected are for using the two "natural areas" and parking at the summit parking lot.

Beautiful evening for riding, it was a bit cool up on the summit so I had to don my liner for my riding jacket and switch to heavier gloves, but that was it.

No snow up on top of course, except in the deeper crevices that don't get much sunlight.  Having ridden up to the summit of Mount Evans many times, and having a couple of hours to wait before Sunset, I elected to walk up the rocky trail up to the top of the rockpile next to the summit parking lot.

I'm so out of shape, I had to take a couple of breaks on the way up.  Of course, hiking in riding gear with helmet was probably not the best choice I made.  Besides, at above 14,000 feet (4267 meters) the air is a bit thin you know, so that's my excuse.  :)

Oh, just to brag about my home state, there's two fourteener mountains here where one can ride a vehicle all the way to the summit, Mt Evans and Pikes Peak.  According to wikipedia, only 9 mountains in the Alps are higher in altitude and none can be reached via car.  I will admit though, the Alps, seeming to sprout right out of the nearby valley floor, appear much higher and definitely are quite majestic.

Fourteener: Mountain whose peak is above 14,000 Ft or 4267 Meters.  There's apparently 53 mountains in Colorado which qualify for the title of Fourteener:  LINK

 A view of the summit parking lot (14,130 ft or 4306 meters) from about 
halfway up the rock pile's trail.

 One of the "smoother" portions of the rocky trail that leads
one to the top of the rockpile.  Some portions, you have to 
negotiate bigger boulders and rocks.

 The views from the top of the rockpile (14,275 ft or 4351 meters)

 A view from the top of the rock pile of the 
summit parking lot and observatory.

 Echo Lake

 Distant Peaks

 Panos from the top of the rock pile

The walk down the rocky trail was a bit easier and harder.  Easier since it was downhill, harder due to my riding boots not really offering the flexibility required to negotiate the rocky terrain and obstacles.

 The Rock Pile

 There were many mountain goats in evidence this evening.
There was a small herd of them clustered about the rest room 
building, and I saw several more on the way up/down the mountain.

About an hour before sunset was to start, I decided to start motoring back down the road to look for a good spot to pose Scarlett by for the sunset lighting.  Here's some shots I took on the way to the spot I chose:

 Near mile marker 13 (I think)

 Caught this marmot in mid-munch, he froze stock still
waiting for us people to leave I guess.

 You can see for miles.....

 The sun setting behind a nearby mountain peak provided
nice lighting for these shots

 Hairpin turn typical of the Mount Evans Road

As I came around a turn perhaps a third of the way down, I saw this nice lighting of the mountains by the sun which was still pretty high up in the sky, though partly occluded by clouds.  I decided this was the spot to await sunset.

Shots taken as the sun neared the distant peaks in the background and sunset began, this was perhaps a little before 8:00 PM.

As the western horizon glowed a weak yellow color, I saw that it was lighting up the skies to the east nicely:

Shortly after the last two shots, it was time to go as I had perhaps 9-10 miles of mountain road to negotiate in the dark.  Darkness approached very quickly as I descended, pointing out how weak my headlamp is when no nearby lighting sources are present.

Made it to nearby Idaho Springs and the junction with the I-70 super slab after 13 miles of twisty riding in darkness conditions, needless to say, I wasn't going very fast.

Rode the I-70 super slab all the way back to the E-470 exit which I took to once again go around the metro area along it's southern edge.  Got home safely a little after 10:00 PM, tired, hungry and weary.

Still, Scarlett did great, got some good shots I think, and the riding was pretty good!

Here's a link to a 2010 ride to Mt Evans with fellow Uralisti:  LINK


RichardM said...

Really nice sunset photos. What headlight do you have? I think I remember you posting about it but I don't remember when.

The only peak I've been up to over 14,000' was Mt. Whitney in CA and that was a long hike up. I guess we made it longer by approaching from the west some 45 miles. No roads up there but a great view to the east.

redlegsrides said...

Thanks RichardM, 45 miles of hiking? arrgghh.

I have a headlamp I got through Amazon, but not the same one you have. I'm going to buy the one you got for your rig now. Just have to find it again, unless you've a link perhaps?

You must come to Colorado, let's ride Mt Evans and Pikes Peak in our rigs.....

redlegsrides said...

oh, and of course, RichardM, you'd stay with us.

SonjaM said...

Doing commercial pics for Ural again, Dom? AMAZING views. If I were more mechanically inclined I'd buy one on the spot. At one point in the future I'd really like to visit, and you have to take me to see what you see. Thanks for sharing these stunning panoramas.

redlegsrides said...

SonjaM, my home is your home. Anytime you and Roland, or just you if logistics dictate, want to come to Colorado....Martha and I await.

Thanks for the kind words, from your mouth to Ural's ear.....

VStar Lady said...

Absolutely stunning vistas again! Dom, I love hiking and I love riding but I wouldn't hike far in riding gear and I wouldn't ride at all in hiking gear. It's a dilemma.

redlegsrides said...

Thanks VStar Lady, I had all the hiking allotted to me in this life used up in the Army, what I did to the top was more of a trudge.

Oz said...

Great photos. I love the ride up Mt. Evans. This July I was leading a group of riders with plans to go up Mt. Evans. We got there and the road was closed due to road damage. We were told it would be ready in August. Hated not getting to ride up. It is such a fun ride with amazing views.

redlegsrides said...

Thanks Thomas, I normally don't ride up either Mt Evans or Pikes Peak Roads in the summer, preferring a bit of snow with my scenery. I went because I got a notice from co dot saying the road was open finally from the repairs you encountered.