Yesterday started off just wonderfully in Scottsbluff (the town is one word), NE, when we got to the Scotts Bluff National Monument (two words) at 7:30AM. There was a ton of ground fog, which kept things cool, but was kinda funny when trying to view an 800-foot tall monument. So, we followed trails and got a bunch of exercise (about 4 miles total), enjoyed the museum, and then the sun started to come out. At that point, we:
--walked through a narrow pass where the stone ground was still worn in grooves from the (get this) 350,000 emigrants and their oxen who passed through this famous landmark between the 1840s and when the RR was completed. I had not known that this was the largest *voluntary* human migration in history. Winding our way through this path, all signs of modern life disappeared and we could actually be present to the vast expanse of prairie and get a little taste of what it must've been like. Really moving.
--drive through 3 tunnels to reach the top of the bluff and get views that were emerging from the hazy/foggy morning
All in all, one of our favorite national park/monuments. Very good experience of the history there as well as being dog friendly (very rare!).
Then we hit the road again, taking small roads through backcountry NE and Wyoming. Did a drive-by of Cheyenne--looks like a great Western town to explore. Very busy at the moment as its big annual festival was going on, so we pressed forward into Colorado. Stopped at a park in Greeley to have a picnic lunch. Had to flee rapidly--heat was over 100. Not pleasant picnicking!
Made it to Estes Park, Colorado, and our campsite at 8200 feet. Whew! It was low 80s when we arrived and then a delightful 53 degrees to sleep in. The campground itself is quite funky, but neat--all smaller campers and tents. Here's a Where's Waldo photo of the terraced hillside--we're up there somewhere ;-)
Off to Boulder to visit our friends. Since they're much lower and in the heat, we're consigning Mr. Nick to a "spa" experience at a kennel for a few days to keep him safe. It'll be interesting to see how that goes, but we feel like we can do some serious playing now!