What a day of contrasts. This country certainly has it all and of course it’s all BIG.
Leaving Boulder, Colorado a bit later this time as we had family over at our small cabin at Chautauqua – bagels and strawberries – all very civilised from our regular plastic bowls of cereal and a tub of yogurt. Once out of Boulder the countryside quickly became very similar to the green rolling pastures of New Zealand, but then it quickly changed again as we drove through massive canyons, with towering rock walls very close either side of us. It was truely spectacular and again were amazed at the engineering it has taken to put roads through some of this countryside. This four lane highway was divided in 2 – 2 lanes each way, but it was a bit like the Scottish song... you take the high road and i’ll take the low road... because our road was about 40 feet higher than the traffic going in the other direction, so in fact the road builders have built 2 highways. When we could see ahead often we could see that these roads were held up by huge pillars that had been driven into the rocky terrain. Actually that is another thing. I now know why the Rocky Mountains are called this. Because they are – incredibly so. The ground surface is very very rocky, at times you wonder how the vast forestation can in fact inhabit the same terrain because there seems to be no dirt/soil for it to grow in. But they do.
We counted the number of tunnels we went through -13 in all today. Some short, but several were at least a mile long. Imagine digging a tunnel through a mountain this long!
Once through the mountains the landscape again changed. I know i mention this quite a bit in the blog, but it is one thing that has been quite amazing for us throughout this journey.
The scenery became incredibly arid, a bit like NZ’s desert road. Huge plains, circled by mountains.
But it was the scenery as we drove right to the tip of Colorado and into Utah, that was the most stark. Moutnains, turrets of rock that appears like sandstone, grey and completely stark of any plant life. There were plains with strange mounds dotted across it, then these towering edifices of rock in the distance, their tops completely flat, but the hillsides streaked with what appeared to be almost rivulets of rock.
I think i mentioned yesterday about the storm we had just before the wedding started. Well it seems that weather is quite typical of the area and as we left Grand Junction, the storm clouds brewed. Huge bulbous clouds, almost dark purple in color. Thankfully they blew the other way and we never had to drive in the forked lightening that we experienced yesterday.
And so that is our journey so far. We have arrived at Green River, Utah, a kind of blink and you miss it place, but it is surprisingly busy and has quite a few hotel/motels. I think this is because it is on the brink of an area with several national parks. Tomorrow we drive south to Bryce Canyon and beyond....only 10 days and we head home.
Jane and gang