The Rock Creek Road continues on past the stage stop and eventually comes back to highway 134 further up on Gore Pass. There is one obstacle that kept us from continuing on up that road.
In one spot, the road has to go right through Rock Creek. Yesterday, the water in the creek looked a little too deep, so I balked on going through. We have been brave enough to go through the creek on other occasions, but it was usually during the summer months when the stream flow was lower. We sure didn't want to end our beautiful tour yesterday stuck in the murky depths of Rock Creek! Now if you are calling me chicken, I don't mind, because you're absolutely right!
There are other roads turning off of the Rock Creek road that are open for vehicle travel, and we drove down one of these a few miles. But this was time consuming, and we still had many miles of beautiful country we wanted to tour in front of us.
So we returned to highway 134 to the outskirts of Toponas. There we turned off and took the county road that goes in the same direction as highway 134, only it's on the opposite side of the railroad tracks.
That route takes you by a couple of old abandoned homestead buildings and finally returns back to highway 134.
When we got back on highway 134, we continued on into the town of Yampa. Yampa is a beautiful little place, which still has some very old turn-of-the-century buildings.
In Yampa, we got on the Scenic Mountain By-Way. This route will lead you over Dunkley Pass, then Ripple Creek Pass and down onto the White River and eventually into Meeker.
At the bottom of Ripple Creek Pass you can turn off and go up to the beautiful Trappers Lake, but we didn't do that on this trip because of the limited time.
We continued on down following the White River, and the colors along the stream bed and on the hillsides I think would have been absolutely beautiful, but we were facing the sinking sun, and you know what that does to our eyesight.
Well, as usual, I've got the story ahead of itself. I forgot to tell that we took the side road that goes up Marvine Creek. That's a beautiful and narrow stretch of road that climbs up the mountain and ends at two National Forest Service campgrounds.
Lots of beautiful scenery along that route and when you get to the end of the road there is Marvine Creek dashing and churning on its way down off the mountain.
When we got to the turnoff that heads back over Yellow Jacket Pass, we took that route and that put the sun behind us. This is a beautiful stretch of road this time of year because at the beginning it goes through lots of country with steep hillsides and rugged draws.
The hillsides are covered mostly in scrub oak, chokecherry and serviceberry. A little color was showing in these, but they're not to what I would call the beautiful stage yet. This route takes you by the Thornburgh Battleground and Monument. I've been by the monument dozens of times, but still I can't pass that spot without my imagination taking hold and taking me back in time to the date of the battle that raged on that spot.
In my imagination sometimes I'm an infantry soldier. Other times I'm one of the Warring Indian Party. Either way for a few minutes, and a mile or two on each side of the monument, my mind is certainly not on the present!
Anyhow it is wonderful that there it is a monument dedicated to the soldiers that lost their life on that spot, and another monument to honor the Native Americans who also died on that spot during the battle.
Gosh, we finally got back home just before dark with a tired butt from sitting so long. But the aching butt was more than worth it. In that one busy day of driving and sightseeing, we had seen more beautiful autumn colors and mountain scenery than most people get to see in a lifetime!
This autumn in Colorado is certainly worthy of distinguishing as different, at least. Gosh, we have found places where the foliage on all the trees and bushes is still green; we have found places where the foliage has already turned and the leaves left the trees, and of course we have found places where it's absolutely heavenly beautiful.
With all the snow they had from the earlier storms this past week, we have driven in mud and snow, and we've put more miles on the odometer than you could imagine possible in such a short time on these mountain roads. But by golly. We did it. We saw it. And we loved it. And as soon as I rest my butt today, I'm ready to do it again!