Day 2
Trail Ridge Road - Berthoud Pass - Top of the Rockies

US-34 heads west from Estes Park and climbs rapidly into Rocky Mountain National Park.  The climb includes enough switchbacks to make sure you're awake, but is mostly gentle curves with a lot of elevation change.  The road climbs to about 12,183 feet at Trail Ridge Pass before dropping to Grand Lake and intersecting with US-40 at Granby. 

Head south through Fraser to Winter Park, then climb back to 11,315 feet and cross Berthoud Pass.  Then drop through a series of switchbacks and gentle curves to I-70 at Empire and on to Georgetown.  Catch I-70 again and exit at US-6 to climb across Loveland Pass at 11,997 feet. 

US-6 skirts the Arapahoe and Keystone ski areas and follows the Snake River to rejoin I-70 at Silverthorne.  Take I-70 west around Lake Dillon to Frisco, then head south on Colorado 9 to Breckenridge.  Retrace Colorado 9 to Dillon.  The first day route covered about 175 miles.

Leaving Estes Park and entering Rocky Mountain National Park, US-34 climbs quickly.  You look back over Estes Park, which refers not only to the town but also to the valley between mountains which the pioneers called "parks".

Rocky Mountain National Park has 114 named peaks over 10,000 feet, with 78 topping 12,000 feet.  The champion is Longs Peak, towering 14,255 feet.  The scenery is breathtaking.

The mountain range in the background is called "Mummy Range" because an early prospector thought the range looked like an Egyptian mummy lying on its back with hands folded across its belly. 
Trail Ridge Road (US-34) climbs the mountain in a series of switchbacks.  Note the elevation change from the valley floor to the level this picture was taken.  You can follow the road from the valley floor in the left-center of the picture to the mountain-top at the right center.  What a ride!!
As you near Trail Ridge Pass,   a field of snow beckons the adventurous.  Three inches of snow fell on Saturday, June 17th before this picture was taken on the following Thursday.  Trail Ridge Road is closed from November through May each year.  It was also closed for a couple of days after the June 17th snowfall until the snow could be cleared.
Pat and Judy have a friendly wave for the camera before engaging in a snowball fight.

The wind in winter here can top 200 miles an hour and the temperature plunges to minus 60 degrees F.  Snow can be 30 feet deep.  Summer highs are usually in the 50's.

Trail Ridge Road climbs in graceful curves,  meandering for 11 miles across stark tundra that looks like a part of Alaska had been transplanted to Colorado.
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