As we were driving home from Fort Collins yesterday I started thinking about some of the more memorable trips I have had up or down the canyon. There is plenty of time to think about these, since it is at least a 2 hour trip, and in winter when it is icy it takes even longer. I realized there are many trips I remember so there may be many posts about this.
I think I will start at the beginning. I first went up the canyon when I was a freshman at CSU. It is a beautiful drive in any season but it is especially lovely in fall with the golden leaves. We used to go up into the canyon a few miles and climb onto the rocks beside and in the river (which was very low in fall) and study. We also went up on dates and had picnics and cook outs. There was a popular place up about 10 or 15 miles that we went to for parties on weekends too (not Mishawaka--It was farther up) It was a log cabin type place that burned down. Now there is a huge house built there behind a tall fence so you can't see it very well. The water works was also a very popular place to go--now it is all changed. There was a rope with a cart that went across the river and you pulled yourself across. One of the local Drs. claimed that cart made him rich tending all the injuries from students at the college!
Back then the paved road only went up to Kinnekinik(sp?) and was a one lane dirt road up over the pass and down to Walden or maybe it was dirt to Gould and then paved, not sure. It was not the road to take to Walden for sure! We had to drive up to Laramie and then over Woods Landing and into Walden. About the time we were married, the decision was made to pave the Poudre canyon road all the way over the top and into Walden. It took years but they finally did it and it is a great drive, if a little slow.
One of the most memorable trips I took over that road was while they were still working on it. My Uncle Ed was visiting us at the ranch and he needed to go to Granby for some reason. He and I drove over there early one morning and decided to go over Trail Ridge road to Estes Park and then down the Big Thompson to Loveland and back to Fort Collins and see how the paving was going on up the Poudre. We went right along until we got up to the very summit of Cameron Pass. As we started down the other side it became very dicey. Construction equipment was all around but it was still dirt and very narrow--one lane--and very slippery. We got to one of the curves with the huge drop off and no such thing a guardrail. I stopped and said I was ready to turn around but Uncle Ed said he would drive it across the bad stretch. I said OK, got out of the car and walked it after he drove across it! Bob still calls me a wimp because I was too chicken to drive across it! We made it home without incident but what happened the next night still sticks in my memory and I always associate the 2 events. Uncle Ed and his son, Bob, left the next day--Bob and my birthdays. The next morning was a Sunday, my clock radio went off as usual and I was snoozing when I realized the music was not playing and the announcer was speaking frantically. It was the morning after the Big Thompson flood! We had just driven down that canyon and now it was a disaster area! Many lives were lost that night and the canyon was changed forever.