Saturday, October 22, 2011

Lariat Loop Scenic Byway, Colorado

We are now parked just outside of Denver in Englewood. And I am very happy that a hard frost has not hit this area yet. Fall foliage is seldom seen this late in the year here in Colorado. Oaks and aspen leaves are just turning, primarily we are seeing trees which are a brilliant yellow in color. Those trees can be seen in the picture below, that picture was taken just outside of Coors Brewery, which we toured Thursday.
Coors Brewery is in Golden, Colorado on the Lariat Loop highway. The scenic highway is described as "40 miles of western adventure". Our first stop along this drive was at Red Rocks Park and Amphitheater. The red rocks are towering 400 feet sandstone formations. The rocks provide the best musical acoustics in the world, musical groups started performing there in the late 19th century. Locals say that actually it was used earlier than that by the Ute Indians for their dances. In the 1940s the Civil Conservation Corps built an actual theater among the rocks. From the highest level of this amphitheater we had a good 200 mile panoramic view of Denver. The park is in an area where the Great Plains meet the foothills of the Rockies.
Sadly most people only know of the park as a place for concerts. It is also 868 acres of park land where many wild animals roam, including mule deer which we saw casually roaming around the parking lots of the theater. Many years ago dinosaurs also roamed here, Dinosaur Ridge was our next stop. At the Ridge we took a guided tour to see the fossilized bones and tracks of those ancient animals. In the picture below is one of the fossilized dinosaur's tracks, pointed out to us by our very knowledgeable guide.
Three hundred plus dinosaur tracks and a dinosaur bone quarry are on the ridge, all representing five different time periods in the Age of Dinosaurs. Our day on the Lariat Loop ended at Lookout Mountain where Buffalo Bill's museum and grave is located. After seeing those places we headed back to the city so we could listen in on a rehearsal of the Broke Bridge Band, in which our niece Heather performs with her singing and fiddle. The band plays some awesome bluegrass music! It was a perfect ending to our very long day.

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