You can bury your face in a map for as long as you like but until you set out to see all those little dotted lines with your own eyes, you never really know what you’re going to get. Could be a total bust, could be unbelievably cool. Well, spending the prior evening glued to a variety of maps totally paid off and Coffee Pot Road was unbelievably cool. God only knows how many times I’ve been chugging down I-70 and have passed the Dotsero exit thinking nothing of it. Now I know that just past Dotsero is Coffee Pot Road. An ever so windy, steep road leading to nowhere, yet, in a sense it leads to everywhere. In about the first half of this 30 mile road we climbed from about 6,200 feet to 10,800 feet and in that 30 mile stretch we drove through high desert, aspen groves, tundra and alpine forests. We encountered thousands of sheep, stood above the canyon walls of Deep Creek Canyon and walked alongside crystal clear water at Heart Lake. Later that afternoon we settled in for the night amid another golden aspen grove with the forest on one side of our camp and a never-ending sea of sky on the other.
The only bummer of the entire day was the haze that had settled in to the valley below from several wildfires in neighboring states. From what we know of the area, without the haze there would have been panoramic views of the Gore and Sawatch mountain ranges. That’s all the reason I need to go back.