Destination: Rocky Mountain National Park (Part 1: Alpine Tundra)

Entering the Alpine Tundra Ecosystem

Entering the Alpine Tundra Ecosystem

Unhealthy obsession with Canada? Check.

Ancestrally, I’m half Canadian (French y’all!) so this may be the culprit. One part of Canada I’ve always wanted to see (in addition to all the other parts of Canada) is the Arctic Tundra, but you can’t access this treeless land it until you get way (like, way) north. This will probably never happen for me.

No worries. While in Colorado, I found out Rocky Mountain National Park has its own tundra, the Alpine Tundra Ecosystem, lying above the tree line of the park’s tallest mountains. Driving up Trail Ridge Road you can’t miss the changing landscape or the popular Ute Trail, used by prehistoric people as a pass over the mountains in the summer.

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Driving US Route 64

After leaving the Enchanted Circle Scenic Byway there was a good stretch of road that took me through northern New Mexico toward Colorado. This flat, open type of land is good for thinking. It doesn’t change at every turn and in fact lacks many turns at all, it doesn’t make you work to maneuver through it or ask much of you but to hold a reasonable speed and keep one eye out for antelope.

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One More Day

Road trip 2014

A rough sketch of the miles to come.

One more day before I begin my solo road trip across the Western United States! Somehow I’ve whittled the packing down to a trunk-size wardrobe that will carry me  through coastal, desert and mountain climates.

Trip stats:

  • 60 driving hours (without traffic, and not counting side trips such as national parks)
  • 4,000+ miles
  • 10+ cities through 7 states
  • countless small towns, national parks and side treks
  • several headaches

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