Saturday, 21 June 2014

Twice as high as Kosciuszko - Mt Evans, The Highest Paved Road in Nth America!

"Haven't we been here before?" - We have just passed the entrance station to the Mt Evans By-way.  The turn off the main road seems a bit too familiar.

Years ago we returned to the same fishing village in France on three separate holidays each time convinced we were going somewhere new. It was an amazing place so it didn't really matter but by the third visit we had started to feel a bit foolish.


We decide we have definitely been to Mt Evans before. D has a soft spot for high mountains you can drive up so it is not really surprising. At 14,130 ft (4,307 m) the parking lot at the top of the Mt Evans Rd is one of the highest. It is another 200 ft or so on foot to the summit. We start the path but find the going too tough at this altitude and turn back.  D doesn't cope well with altitude and I don't cope well with worrying he might have a coronary.

In any other country we would need several days and mountaineering skills to get this far. Here all we need is access to an internal combustion engine. Don't you just love the way Americans will put a road anywhere. At twice the height of Kosciuszko the road to the summit of Mt Evans is the highest paved road in Nth America. It ends at the ruins of Crest House, a former restaurant and gift shop. Can you imagine the New South Wales National Parks and Wildlife Service allowing a restaurant on top of Kosciuszko - In your dreams! Now a haven for big-horn sheep Crest House was partially destroyed many years ago by a propane gas explosion. It was once the highest business in Nth America.

The last time we drove up the Mt Evans Road it was late October, the weather was awful, visibility was pitiful and the road was closed past Summit Lake at 12,830 ft. Today the weather is stunning, visibility is perfect and the road is open all the way. Summit Lake is one of the best places in the States to see mountain goats. We get lucky and see a small herd, one of them up close.  The Lake is almost completely frozen over. Frozen lakes are rare in Australia. This one is stunning.

The view across the Rocky Mountains from the Mt Evans By-way.


An alpine marmot sunning himself by the side of the road.

A wild mountain goat - up close

Summit Lake

The ruins of Crest House.



2 comments:

  1. hi lyn


    Your trip sounds amazing...the photos are great too! The good thing is at least you recognise the fact you have been to this location...you can start to worry when you do not!




    Caroline and i went riding today ...not high altitude and did not have your views but we enjoyed ourselves!


    talk soon

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  2. Hi Fiona,
    Glad you enjoyed the cycling. D and I have driven across to Illinois for a few days to sample some of their rail trails. Tomorrow we hope to ride the Tunnel Hill State Trail. The temperature is in the low 90sF so wish us luck with the heat.
    Lyn

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