MEEKER | If you can’t drive through Glenwood Canyon, what are your choices? My husband, a Meeker native, was confident of an alternative path over Ripple Creek Pass with less traffic than either the Aspen or Steamboat options.
Since I had never been all the way over Ripple Creek, I didn’t understand where we would end up or connect to I-70 east of Glenwood Canyon. I queried Jay if he was sure about this route. He was confident so off we set.
Our destination was in Edwards to deliver art to a client who will only be in Colorado a short while. They offered to delay delivery but with Glenwood Canyon likely to be shut down for weeks, we thought it best to stick with the schedule.
After considering the nightmare of alternative routes and lengthy delays, I cheerfully offered that we would treat it as an “outing” enjoying the great Colorado outdoors. Due to our extended stay in Oregon, we haven’t enjoyed summer in our home state as much as we usually do.
Sure enough, Ripple Creek is just beautiful with tons of wildflowers, amazing vistas, and almost no traffic. Just lovely!
That is, until we hit the stretch of unpaved road with endless washboard, bumping us around and jarring every bone. Even with four-wheel drive, it was a challenging, unhappy stretch for at least 30 minutes.
Cheering us forward was a young moose who darted along side us, across the road, and into the woods. We couldn’t grab our cameras fast enough for a photo but there he was, only the second moose I’ve ever seen in Colorado. A moose at last!
After many summer outings in the Grand Tetons National Park, our family is hooked on moose sightings. That is the top of the list wildlife photo op in the Tetons and rare at that.
Many years ago, our two sons hiked with us up a challenging trail. When we stopped for lunch, we were overwhelmed to see three huge bull moose munching willows just beyond us. Quietly we watched and photographed. As long as we didn’t invade their space, they didn’t approach us either. It was a once in a lifetime wildlife sighting!
Later, my artist husband spent tedious hours on large drawings of these moose. One piece won an award in the “Paint the Parks” exhibition and remains among our most treasured collection of his art.
Fast forward several years when we see the signs while driving upriver out of Meeker that read “watch for moose.” Believe me, we watch and would love to see just one. So far, zero sightings in that area and only one before in Colorado outside Grand Lake.
Was it a long day of driving over Ripple Creek? You betcha. Yet, it was beautiful and special plus a good reminder of Colorado’s beauty.
Sometimes the path less traveled gives you unexpected gifts.
By KAYE SULLIVAN – Special to the Herald Times