September 12, 2015

Rocky Mountain High . . . and low

Rocky Mountain Low
Here's  what I rode when traveling in Europe 10 years ago:

And here is what I used this past Labor Day weekend in Colorado:

I had to use one of these at the visitors center at the Rocky Mountain National Park

And these at Denver and Dulles airports
This was the first time I've used wheelchairs outside a hospital. I'll save the details for a later post. It's part of my continuing saga about blood pressure and levodopa, but this time with a bit of altitude sickness thrown in. I ended up getting a helpful new perspective on my blood pressure management from an emergency clinic doctor in Estes Park, Colorado.
To be continued.

Rocky Mountain High Itinerary
My housemates Nimesh and Bhawana and I flew out of Dulles Airport about 8 o'clock Friday night. We stayed at one of the Denver airport hotels that night.

For the next three nights, we had reservations at the Estes Park Hotel just outside the eastern entrance to Rocky Mountain National Park but rather than drive there directly Saturday morning, we headed for the western entrance at Grand Lakes. We then spent much of the day leisurely exploring the spectacularly scenic Trail Ridge Road, pulling off to the side of the road frequently to take photos of the elks and other wildlife.

This winding highway in the sky is 48 miles long and 11 of those miles are above the tree line elevation of nearly 11,500 feet where the last stunted, wind-battered trees yield to the Alpine tundra. The visitor center, where I got my first wheelchair ride, is just below the road's high point at 12,183 feet elevation.

Sunday, as I said in my last post, was a highlight of trip for me because we spent most of the afternoon having lunch and chatting with my BNA colleague and friend Bob Velte and his wife Ivy on the deck of their beautiful mountainside house overlooking Boulder Colorado.

Monday, our last full day in the mountains, featured what was probably my favorite drive -- the Old Falls River Road. Unlike the Trail Ridge Road, which is the highest continuously paved road in the nation, the old Fall River Rd. is primarily a gravel, one-way uphill road, punctuated by switchbacks. The slow-paced, 11-mile drive was a delight.

I won't talk about Tuesday which, thanks to United Airlines last-minute schedule changes, got us back to Dulles in the dark of night rather than mid-afternoon as originally scheduled. Using a wheelchair at both ends of this miserable flight was a lifesaver.

Now, Best of All: THE PHOTOS
I am just learning how to use my new iPhone 6 and I've had even less experience using a phone camera rather than a regular.So when I downloaded the photos from my camera, most of them were pictures of my feet and the inside floor of the car. Of the 50-plus photos I downloaded, only five were barely worth saving.

Fortunately housemate Nimesh is an excellent photographer and has a great camera, as you can see from these photos.

Elks Everywhere

A Variety of Wildlife

Scenic Shots

That was my " Rocky Mountain High"  over the Labor Day weekend. Here is John Denver's.:

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