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Tony and I had packed our rented red Jeep (the owner was from Enid, Oklahoma) to drive up into the mountain passes. We begin the first half of the Alpine Loop Backcountry Byway, a 58 mile long stretch, with a view of Lake San Cristobal on our way up to Cinnamon Pass 12,184ft. The “roads” or Backcountry Byways were dirt, rock and mud designed for 4-wheel driving. These roads were originally paths used by Native Americans crossing the region. In the 1880s, these trails were widened and used to access mines. Today, the Alpine Loop is an avenue for exploring nature and history amidst thrilling views and stunning geography.
The word I chose to describe the views as we zig-zagged up and down, and up and down, and on the edge of The Rockies natural beauty is MAGESTIC!!! Every turn of the wheel provided an ahhhhhhhhhh- wow moment and views as far as the eye can see and steep valleys below.
I love to maneuver a Jeep on a pass and then step out and soak up the views, pat myself on the back for maneuvering that last switch-back and peer closely at all the wildflowers, including the state flower Columbine at their peak in July! (Here are some other wildflower names Elephants Head, Lupine, Marsh Marigold, Alpine Sunflower, Fireweed, Alpine Harebell, Indian Paintbrush, Monk’s Hood, Red Columbine, Whipple’s Penstemon, and Parry’s Primrose). We saw small marmots (little furry fat squirrels with yellow bushy tails) and frisky little Golden-Mantled Ground Squirrels (that look like chipmunks), as we navigated the edge of...
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