We finally get out of Denver---OF COURSE -after stopping to eat---these people LOVE to eat! Sam has volunteered to be our driver since she actually lived and worked in Colorado for a period of time after college. She thinks we should take the "Scenic Route". Since I have driven the interstate route quite a few times and ALWAYS love driving the by-ways---WHY NOT? This was probably our worst decision of the day!
We took the exit to Route 82 and followed it all the way in---let me begin by telling you the first part of this route was absolutely beautiful! WELL in fact---every moment was beyond my ability to describe beautiful! We drove through the towering stairsteps to Heaven that ONLY God could have created. Every turn is followed by more breath-taking scenery. Groves of aspen cover every inch that your eye can see. Rushing rivers and streams with rapids running down them like the waves of the ocean. The road splits the mountains--or so it seems--like thread being pulled through the eye of the needle. As we drove through these towering giants, it dawned upon me just how truly insignificant I am in the grand scheme of eternity and yet God chooses to love me. What a gift!
THEN the FUN part of the ride---some of the road consists of going up and up and of course down and down---using switchbacks to get you up over the mountain and then down again. Occasionally the road narrows to one lane---creating SLOW going---and then there is the view down the side of that mountain. The part I saw---when I wasn't looking at the car ceiling while humming "Amazing Grace" was just heart stopping. If you have never taken the scenic route--you should at least once---once may be enough for me!
Our troubles began when we stopped at the Continental Divide---our first skirmish over 12,000 feet---that is a LONG way up for flat-landers! We walked up to the overlook and then decide a short hike was in order---to see what is even further up there. Jim announces he is nauseated (WARNING---SHOULD HAVE HEEDED) so the girls all take off. Sonja and I look back after a short jaunt and the other two have stopped but are waving us on. Shortly we decide perhaps we should go back and drive on to Snowmass. When we get back to the car--Jim is sick and Cindy has a migraine headache. Time to get DOWN from the top of the world!
It takes a LONG time to cover those last miles and get them down to lower altitude--which is still high for us 8000' to 9000'. Hairpin curves and narrow roads do nothing to ease their distress. It seems to take an eternity to go those last 30 miles.
We had to stop twice going down for Jim---he is really sick---as he leans over to throw up---he passes out---BOTH times! I do not think I have moved that fast in a long time as when I jumped out of that car when I saw him go over. We are thankful for our nurse/hiker Sonja who promptly goes into action. She tries to convince Jim to go to the hospital to get an IV---but he would not hear of it. We slowly limp in to our hotel instead and immediately put those two to bed.
So we have two in bed suffering from a good case of altitude sickness and our plans were up in the air. We had already decided to take a day hike the next day to acclimate--but only tomorrow will tell the plans from there.