Detours aside, its Colorado at last!

Trip Start Apr 08, 2005
Trip End Apr 09, 2006

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Monday, August 15, 2005

Just a few miles west of Brideport is the National monument of Chimney Rock.

Chimney Rock is a mound of rock on an otherwise flat countryside, it was used in the mid 1800's as a marker for men travelling to the markets in St. Louis, Kansas and Chicago.

Despite Fergus's wishes to climb the rock, I adamantly refuse. "Beware - rattle snakes are common" signs are the only instructions I need to ensure I will never climb the rock. Instead, we take a couple of photo's and listen to the distinctive sound of the rattle snake in the distance.

It is easy to feel the awe and curiosity the pioneers experienced when they saw the most famous landmark on the Oregon, California, and Mormon Trails. Chimney Rock is known as the most famous landmark on the Oregon-California Trail, but it had made an impression on earlier residents of the area as well. According to early fur traders, Native Americans named the rock - "Elk Penis" after the penis of the adult male elk. This made more sense to those who had lived for centuries on the plains, than comparing the rock to a feature from a white man's building - a chimney. Anglo-Americans, however, being prim and proper overwhelmingly preferred the more delicate name "chimney."

Our second stop is Scottsbluff. The story goes that in 1828, a fur trapper by the name of Hiram Scott was wounded and deserted by his companions. He gained a certain immortality by making his way to a magnificent formation of bluffs along the North Platte River before succumbing to his wounds. It was for Hiram Scott that Scotts Bluff National Monument, Scotts Bluff County, and the city of Scottsbluff have been named.

We drive South West to Wyoming and stop off for a breather at a lovely lake with mountains on 3 sides.

Its Southbound again until we reach the popular tourist attraction of Estes Park. We drove the 32 mile from the city of Loveland to the entrance of Estes Park, through the Big Thompson Canyon which is a heavily wooded area of scenic beauty with rugged cliffs and high mountains bordering the Big Thompson River. The road follows the river and winds around walls of granit. On arrival in Estes Park we have no trouble getting accomadation (its a Monday!) and have a short orientation of the town. Its very well landscaped, with numerous little shops.
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