Over Trail Ridge Road with Zeb the Duck

A favorite summer drive for us includes visiting Winter Park, a stop at Grand Lake where we enter Rocky Mountain National Park.   We drive over Trail Ridge Road, the highest continuous paved highway in North America.  Exiting the national park at Estes Park we stay there for a little shopping and then return home.   It is a full day, but a wonderful day.   That is the plan for today.   First stop is Winter Park, Colorado.

Winter Park Resort

This is a mountain resort, skiing in the winter and many opportunities in the summer.   In the winter there is a ski train from Denver to Winter Park.   In the summer we love the Alpine Slide.

Alpine Slide, Winter Park Resort

It is hard for mom to get photos of this, but here you can see the half pipe track we use.   Also there is a rider on a sled at the end of the ride.   When we finish, we take our sled and hang it on the line so it can be taken back to the top of the ride.  We ride the ski chair lift to the top of the mountain, get off, walk a little way to get a sled, put our sled on the half pipe run, sit on sled, check our brakes and ride to the bottom of the mountain.   It is really fun!  We can make music here at Winter Park Village.

We can make music.

In the winter humans ice skate on the lake behind us.   Back in the car, we drive to Grand Lake, Colorado.   Grand Lake is the name of the town, but there is a lake, named Grand Lake here.

Boats available at Grand Lake

Hardy souls swim here, but we don’t want to swim in a cold mountain lake.   But these boats on Grand Lake are really fun.   Now let’s enter Rocky Mountain National Park.

Rocky Mountain National Park, west entrance

This is one of four national parks in Colorado, and probably our favorite.   Here I, Zeb the Duck, am admiring the beautiful mountain scenery.

In Rocky Mountain National Park

You may notice dead trees behind me. The Pine Bark Beetle is killing many of our lodge pole pines.   This beetle epidemic is in Canada, the United States and into Mexico, killing trees in the forests.   This beetle epidemic has occurred several times in the past 500 years, but it is so sad to see so many dead trees.  I just love lakes.

Alpine Lake

This alpine lake is so beautiful and so serene.   Driving further up the mountain on Trail Ridge Road, we are now above timberline.

Above timberline. It is too high for trees to grow

The growing conditions at this altitude and temperatures are too severe for trees to grow.  You can see a lake and snow below us.   We were there in August, so this snow is from last winter.   Remember, the higher you go, the colder it gets, so snow in some areas doesn’t always melt during the summer.   On Trail Ridge Road we have experienced incredible mountain scenery.

Beautiful views

We climbed through alpine conditions.  Visited above timberline.   Stopped near Visitor’s Center.

Near Visitor’s Center

Passed through Arctic tundra.  We crossed the Continental Divide.

Crossing Continental Divide

Viewed landscaped shaped by volcanic activity.

All types of terrain here in Rocky Mountain National Park

And descended into the resort town of Estes Park.   We could spend days or more exploring this park and take thousands of stunning photos, but not today.   We enter Estes Park.

Welcome to Estes Park

We walk through town and of course mom always stops at Laura’s Fudge Shop and at the Taffy Shop.   At one of town, we watch the river and listen to the soothing sounds of water tumbling over the rocks.

Scenic river through Estes Park, Colorado.  This is a free photo from the internet.

We love this town and we love this drive.   When you visit Colorado, we encourage you to drive over Trail Ridge Road.

Georgetown Loop Narrow Gauge Train with Zeb the Duck

Today we are going to Georgetown to ride the train.   I love that train.

Georgetown Loop Train. Tickets and gift shop

Georgetown, Colorado is a former mining town.   In 1884 a narrow gauge train was completed to connect some mining towns.    At the time, this train was considered an engineering marvel.   There were horseshoe curves, 4% grades, 4 bridges across Clear Creek and Devil’s Gate High Bridge.   The distance between Georgetown and Silver Plume was only 2 miles (3.2 km) but the train traveled 4.5 miles (7.2 km) to go through the narrow canyon between the two mining towns.   Mining ended, roads were built and the train was dismantled in 1939.   But during the 1980’s, the train was restored and is now a tourist train.   Inside the building we will get our tickets.  We did make the recommended reservations.   We are glad we did.   It is a very full train, and we went on Wednesday.   We leave the ticket and gift shop and wander around.

Clear Creek. Canoe and tepee

From the bridge over Clear Creek, we admire the canoe and tepee.   And we see a small native Colorado animal.

Chipmunk chewing something

We love chipmunks.   This one is chewing something.   His nose is wrinkled up.   The train is coming from Silver Plume.

Train from Silver Plume

Some passengers will get off and stay here, most will get off for about 10 minutes and then get back on.   Mom, our friend and I, Zeb the Duck, are on the train.

On train. More passengers coming.  I do have two eyes!

More passengers are coming.   There will not be pictures of me on the train.   The rails are not level and I don’t want to fall off.   Also mom can’t take good photos with the sun behind me like this.  We are moving.

Devil’s Gate High Bridge from lower train tracks

From the lower track we look up to view Devil’s Gate High Bridge.   Winding around the station, we are now going on Devil’s Gate High Bridge.

We are going over Devil’s Gate High Bridge

We rode this train a couple years ago and I love it.   It is wonderful that we are riding again.   The scenery from the train is beautiful.

Beautiful mountains

We are in a mountain canyon in the Colorado Rockies.   Pulling into Silver Plume station, the conductor tells us we have about 10 minutes here.

About 10 minute stop in Silver Plume

We don’t go far.   Some people started their train ride here, so they get off now.   Maybe a few new passengers join us.   Our train crosses Clear Creek 4 times each direction.

Clear Creek

This is one of my favorite views of Clear Creek.   When the first railroad was build in the 1880’s there were no machines to move rocks.   These boulders were all move by human hands.

in 1880’s boulders moved by human hands. No machinery

We are almost back to Devil’s Gate station, our starting point.

Almost back to Devil’s Gate Station

There was a stop for humans to get off the train if they purchased tickets to visit an underground mine.   We did not.   We want to drive through the mountains when our train trip is finished.

Devil’s Gate Station

We have arrived at Devil’s Gate station and we must leave the train.    But we saw something between Clear Creek and the Rocky Mountains.   Off the train, we need to explore.

Mule Deer

Yes, we did see deer.   This is a young mule deer.   Just love those huge ears.   There are 4 deer here.   We stood very still and all four of them crossed the road in front of us and gracefully climbed into the mountains.   Back in our car, we drive behind Georgetown.   We will go over Guanella Pass and arrive in Grant, Colorado, on the other side of the Continental Divide.

Georgetown, Colorado

Driving up the pass, we stop to look at Georgetown behind and below us.  The aspen trees are changing colors now.

Variety of colors all together

Some leaves will still be green, some bright yellow, some gold and some red.   At the top of Guanella Pass we stop to admire the view from the top.

Guanella Pass area, above timberline.

Again, we are above tree line as we are on the top of the Continental Divide.  Going down toward Grant we stop to admire Geneva Creek.

Water is soothing and beautiful

This is a great day.   The Colorado sun has been shining much of the day.   We love the train.   And our Colorado mountains are beautiful.   The train was less than an hour from home and Grant is about 90 minutes from home.   We hope you explore and enjoy areas around your home also.

Dogs in Costume Go On Parade

I, Zeb the Duck, went to Toby’s Pet Parade and Fair.   This pet fair is a fundraiser for Foothills Animal Shelter.   We love animals.   We love parades.   We love fairs.   So here we are, in Golden, Colorado, a western suburb of Denver.

Welcome to Golden, Colorado

There were more than 200 dogs in costume in the parade.   Many more at fair, but not in the parade.   This was cute.

Spot on banking from Credit Union of Denver. Main sponsor of parade and fair

Spot on Banking from Credit Union of Denver, a major sponsor of Toby’s Pet Parade and Fair.   One category in the parade was look like your dog.

Hot dog costumes

We liked the hot dog costumes.   And what is this?

Chia pet dog

Shrub dog?  Of course not.   This is Chia Pet dog.  Adorable.  Need to solve a mystery?

Sherlock Holmes dog

Sherlock Holmes dog is here to help.   Camper dog is ready to go out.

Camping dog

So many people camp in and around the beautiful Colorado Rocky Mountains.  Another matching costume.

Bee costumes

We love the bright bee attire.   It is autumn in Colorado and hunting season is right around the corner.

Hunting dog

Hunting dog is ready.  Toby, an Australian Shepherd, is Foothill Animal Shelter’s official Mascot.

Toby. Mascot for Foothills Animal Shelter

He was found 3 years ago in bad shape, but recovered and now has a loving, forever home.   Another entry in the look like your dog category.

Look like your dog contestant.

They didn’t win, but they sure got our attention.   We love them.   This dog was not in the parade or any contest.

Not in parade, but loved the lion look

But we loved the grooming and the lion appearance.   Here are some winners from the parade.   In the Macho Dog category.

Winner. Macho dog category

Love the leather.   Biker dog?  Next winner will make most dog owners laugh, and groan.

Winner. Fart Factory

This dog is the Fact Factory.   We like this boy and his dog.

Winner. Look like your dog category

Firemen and winner of look like your dog category.   I, Zeb the Duck, was there enjoying the parade, but I don’t get too close to dogs.   Too many times a dog thought I was one of his toys.   So, I look from a distance.   But this is safe.

Dog treats. We bought some!

We like special dog treats for the dogs in our extended family.   We bought treats with apples in them.   Really sounds good.   Since this was a fund raiser, we did give a donation.   All donations will be doubled by Tito’s Handmade Vodka.   We hope a lot of money was raised for our Foothills Animal Shelter.   We had fun and we think the dogs had fun also.   Maybe we will see you there next year.

Mt. Evans, High in the Colorado Rocky Mountains

Let’s drive on the highest paved highway in North America.   Colorado Traveling Ducks are going to the top of Mt. Evans.  And we will not be more than 2 hours away from home near Denver, Colorado.   First we stop to admire Echo Lake.

Echo Lake

At 10,600 feet above sea level, a short hike by the lake, then a great meal at the lodge,

Echo Lake Lodge

and we are ready to begin our journey to the top of Mt. Evans.

Let’s go to the top of Mt. Evans

This is a combination of Denver Mountain Parks and some Federal land, but our National Park Pass covers our admission.   Our first stop is Mount Goliath.

Mount Goliath Natural Area

Here we see the really old Bristlecone Pine trees, the oldest living things on earth.

Bristlecone Pines

Our bristlecones are only about 1,700 years old.   Some bristlecones in California and Nevada are over 4,000 years old.   Those trees were old when Jesus was born.   We like sitting on this fallen Bristlecone.

Fallen Bristlecone Pine

Our Bristlecone Pines do not get as old as those in California and Nevada because our growing conditions are too good.   They like more wind, more cold, and less moisture.   And we think our winters at this altitude are pretty brutal for growing things.  We are driving our car here, but some people enjoy the challenge of riding a bicycle.  You may notice there are few trees here.   We are approaching timber line.   Above here, the conditions prevent trees and most vegetation from growing.

Hard work to go by bicycle

The road is wide enough for two cars to pass, but not much wider.   There are no shoulders on this road and not a single guard rail to be seen.

Narrow road. No shoulders. No Guard rails.

The drivers need to be careful, and they are.   Each year more cars drive to the top of Mt. Evans, so be aware and be observant.   Look what you may see.

Mountain Goats

As we approach the summit of Mt. Evans, these Mountain Goats are wandering.   Humans do stop to admire and photograph the animals.

Mom and child. Mountain goats

We love seeing these animals.   At the summit of Mt. Evans, there is a parking lot with limited parking, paths to hike, and the remains of Crest House.

On hand rail of remains of Crest House

There are no concessions here, so bring your own water.  Crest House was a gift shop and restaurant, but was destroyed in a fire in 1979.   It was never rebuilt.   At the parking lot, you have reached the end of the highest paved road in North America.   You are at 14,206 feet above sea level.   Be careful.   The air is very thin, meaning there is not as much oxygen in the air as most people usually experience.   Move slowly and stop if you get light headed or dizzy.   If you brought oxygen with you, use it!  And if you are wondering, this road is 154 feet higher than the road to the top of Pikes Peak, a little further south near Colorado Springs.   Let’s head down now.   We love the views along the way.

Enjoy the views

There are some pullouts for hiking and admiring these mountain views.   We are higher than most of the surrounding mountains.

Beautiful views

Small mountain lakes dot the landscape.   Enjoy your time here.  Descending to 12,830 feet above sea level, we stop at Summit Lake.

Summit Lake

The day after Labor Day, the road is closed from here to the top of Mt. Evans.   Usually closed on the first Tuesday of September.   The rest of this road, from Echo Lake to Summit Lake, stays open until closed by snow.   We park here and follow the trails.

Yellow Bellied Marmot wants to go inside

This yellow bellied marmot wants to go inside this building?  We saw a park ranger and he said he opened the door earlier and the marmot went inside.   When he came out, the ranger closed the door.   As he was coming out, he seemed to look right at me.

Yellow Bellied Marmot

Mom, should I be worried?   The sign says he is eating lots to get ready for 8 months of hibernation.   Continuing driving back, we stop to see wildflowers.

This one is producing seeds

This unusual plant is growing and has a seed ball.   Interesting.   But this is my favorite.

Beautiful red wildflowers

I, Zeb the Duck, love red wildflowers.   If you did not drive to the summit of Mt. Evans this summer, we hope you plan to go next summer.   It is beautiful and you pass through so many climate levels.   You will be above tree line.   You will see arctic tundra.   We hope to see you there next summer.

Boulder Creek Hometown Festival 2018

We love festivals.   And we love festivals in Boulder, Colorado.   Labor Day Weekend, the first weekend in September is one of our favorite festivals.   There is a Farmer’s Market.

A Farmers Market in the festival

Yes, we can purchase Colorado lamb and cheerful cut flowers. (Sept 2014)

We like flowers and Colorado lamb

These vegetables are so colorful.

Yum

Makes ducks and humans hungry.   Also so many venders here.

Singing Bowls from the Himalayas.

We love the singing bowls from the Himalayas.   Kids can get inside balls.

Walking on water in a bubble

Doesn’t this look fun?    Or, if you don’t want water, try these bumper balls.

Bumper Balls

And you can watch artists at work.

Artist at work

 

These are great!   But this festival has something special.

So many huge zucchinis

Zucchini Races.   Kids can purchase a giant zucchini.   The wheels are then put on the zucchini for the young human.   There are many choices for these little ones to use for decorating their zucchini.

Work in progress

Now it is time to race.

And the race begins

These races occur every 10-15 minutes, depending when the decorated zucchinis are ready.   Isn’t this fun?  The young human keeps the decorated zucchini.

Zucchini

If you have ever planted zucchini in your garden, you know that it grows quick.   Zucchini is a very prolific plant, so there are always giant zucchinis.   Humans can only eat so much zucchini in one summer.

Racing zucchinis

But that is not all for this festival .   On Monday, the duck races occur.   Of course, we love duck races.   Duck races are to raise money for a good cause.   The organizers of the duck races have hundreds or thousands of ducks that look almost like us.   People or businesses buy (really rent) a duck or ducks.  But they are not allowed to touch the duck.  Each duck has a number, so humans know which is their duck.   All ducks are dropped in Boulder Creek.  And the races begin.

Ducks

Many humans are needed to catch the ducks at the finish line.

Wow! At the finish line

The water carries the ducks to the finish line.

Some of the many ducks

The person paying for the winning ducks receive prizes.   Everybody loves to watch the ducks race down Boulder Creek.   These duck races are very popular and many towns feature duck races in the local festivals.  We hope you watch duck races near you and, of course, think of us, the Colorado Traveling Ducks.

Paint Mines at Calhan, Colorado with Zeb the Duck

I, Zeb the Duck, got to go with the humans to Paint Mines in Calhan.   Calhan, Colorado, is southeast of Denver and northeast of Colorado Springs.

Paint Mines Interpretive Park

Here we are.   Mmmm, this doesn’t look to exciting yet.

Cactus? What is here?

Mom, I’m sitting by cactus and I don’t see anything different.   Walking on wide paths, suitable for strollers and wheel chairs, up the hill we go.   Nice.   A bench to rest.   Look at that.    Down the hill I see white formations.

Bench and a surprise ahead

Now I’m getting excited.

I like this white clay

These white formations look interesting and were unexpected for me.   And more.

White and gold. Great

Now I see lots of white and gold clay.   One of the signs at the entrance said the colored clay was used by naive American Indians to make colorful pottery.

Were these carved?

These formations were all naturally formed.   Sun, rain, snow, sleet, wind and all elements made fascinating shapes.   Walking further, this area looks different.

Seeing some red

In addition to the brilliant white, I am seeing some red clay.   Continuing along, we take another side path.   These paths are more difficult, but look what we saw.

Lots of colored clay

Red, white and gold.   Isn’t this great?  Further along, we now have some red layers in the white clay.

Red layers in the white clay

This is a wonderful place.   And I wasn’t sure we should walk back here?   So glad the humans insisted.   This cave is a natural shelter.

Natural shelter

Humans are believed to have lived here thousands of years ago and I bet they used this shelter.   Oh wow!

Looks like red velvet cupcake with white frosting.

Don’t these look like giant cupcakes?   OK, now you know, we have been eating cupcakes this week.   And ours also had white frosting.   But this is beautiful.

Panorama

We hope this panorama shows you the colors and intensity of these paint mines.   Humans say it is really hot here, and we have been wandering around for more than two hours.   Time to leave.   We have only seen about half of the area.   I bet we will come back here again.

This sign tells much

This sign tells a little about this land.   We liked the sign and hope  you will enjoy it also.   This is definitely a good place to come and explore, learn, and just have your senses filled with the wonders of nature.

Zeb the Duck Visits Clive Cussler’s Automobile Museum

Clive Cussler writes great books, and he owns great cars.   At one time in his life, Clive Cussler, lived in Arvada, Colorado, near Denver.   Mr. Cussler collects and restores classic cars.   At any time,  60-70 of his cars are on display in his museum, near Denver.  Mom and a friend recently accompanied me to the museum.

Entrance to Clive Cusler Automobile Museum

I really liked the first car we saw as we entered.

First car as we entered. 1956 Continental

This 1956 Continental is gorgeous, and huge.

Says it all

Each automobile has a sign to explain the history of the car.   I decided to just show you the sign rather than paraphrase the information.   Look at this bright pink car.

I love this car

This is a 1936 Ford Cabriole Hot Rod.   Mr. Cussler often has a character in his book, Dirk Pitt, drive a car like he owns.

Featured in Atlantis Found

This Cabriole was featured in Atlantis Found.   And this bright red 1953 Allard J2X.

1953 Allard J2X

The 1953 Allard J2X was featured in his book, Shock Wave.

Featured in his book, Shock Wave

This Pierce Arrow was a surprise.

1937 Pierce Arrow Travelodge Trailer

This is a 1937 Pierce Arrow Travelodge Trailer.

Who knew?

And we thought motor homes were relatively new.  This orange car caught my attention.

1929 Duesenberg Model J-140

This 1929 Duesenberg Model J-140 was featured in his book, Flood Tide.   In the 1970s Mattel Toy Company patterned one of its famous “Hot Wheels” on this model.   What is this?   A boat in a car museum?   Of course.

Clive Cussler loves to recover shipwrecks

Clive Cussler has interests beyond writing and cars.   He loves to locate shipwrecks.   With this boat he helped find the H.I. Hunley, a Confederate submarine, the first submarine to ever sink a ship.   This happened during the United States Civil War in 1864.

Numa Survey

NUMA Survey is one of his boats.   You have noticed the popularity of the new electric cars.   But, maybe not really so new.

Detroit Electric Model 97

Here is a 1931 Detroit Electric Model 97.

Did you know this?

Wooden wheels?   Really?

Wooden wheel on 1931 Detroit Electric Model 97

Yes, really.   Here is a photo of the wooden wheel on this 1931 Detroit Electric Model 97.   When you are near Denver, you really would enjoy this museum.   However, it is only opened in the summer.  Check http://www.CusslerMuseum.com for more information.   There is a motorcycle in here.   And so many more cars.   And they are not only clean and shiney, there is not a flake of dust near these cars.   We hope  you visit soon.