The winter snow has been plowed from North America’s highest paved road. The road opened this week, so Zeb, Soapy Smith, and JB Duck went to the top of Mount Evans. The road begins at Echo Lake.
This lake is 10,600 feet (3,230 meters) above sea level. Echo Lake has a picnic area, a camping area, great fishing and hiking, and a lodge. We love Echo Lake. Starting our trip up, our first stop is Mount Goliath Natural Area, elevation 11,540 feet (3,517 meters).
Mount Goliath Natural Area
This 160 acres protects the Rocky Mountain bristlecone pine tree. These trees can live thousands of years and often grow twisted for a stronger foundation against extreme winds.
Bristlecone pine trees and the Colorado Rocky Mountains.
Of course, our rascal duck, Soapy Smith, decided to sit in this young tree.
Soapy sitting in a small Rocky Mountain bristlecone pine
The plowed snow by the side of the road is really piled high in some areas.
Snow was plowed to open road
The highest paved road in North America is two lanes, mostly uphill, with many curves.
Highest paved road in North America
There are no guard rails, so drivers must be alert. These Yellow -bellied Marmots were under a pick up truck.
Soon we see more animals.
Rocky Mountain Goats
There are many Bighorn Sheep and Rocky Mountain Goats in this area. The road to Mount Evans and the surrounding land is governed both by the US Forest Service and the City and County of Denver. Part of this area is included in the Denver Mountain Park system. Our next stop is Summit Lake Park.
Summit Lake Park
A lot of snow here at 12,830 feet (3,911 meters) above sea level. Summit Lake is still frozen.
Summit Lake, still frozen
We love the way the mountain was carved by glaciers to form Summit Lake. The Colorado Traveling Ducks have reached the top.
The summit of Mount Evans and the remains of Crest House
The building behind and to the right of us was Crest House. Crest House was completed in 1941 and quickly became a popular gift shop and restaurant. Unfortunately Crest House burned in 1979 and as far as we know there are no plans to rebuild. Near the top, we ducks sat in the snow.
Colorado Traveling Ducks in the snow
The elevation at the summit parking lot is 14,130 feet or 4,307 meters. The elevation is important as the thinner air does not contain as much oxygen. Also, for every 1,000 feet above sea level, the sun is 5% stronger. Remember to go slow as you adjust to less oxygen and to wear sunscreen and a hat. Also driving the 14 miles to the top of Mount Evans, you will see landscape similar to driving through Canada to Nome, Alaska. Returning to Echo Lake we see our friendly goats.
Our friends were waiting for us
Through the car window, this goat gets really close and personal.
He likes us!
He is our favorite friend at Mount Evans.