Tuesday, 06/01/04

Today I drove Alt US 14, WY 120, WY 296, and US 212. Impressive scenery throughout, especially the mountain passes. My map does not show the name or height of the pass on Alt 14, but the sign said 9430 ft at one of the observation points. The road is closed in winter, and I was driving past snow on the ground. On WY 296, it is Dead Indian Pass, a mere 8,048 ft high. Stunning scenery and sharp curves.

What more can a Miata driver want? A Miata driver can want US 212.

On US 212, it is the Beartooth Pass, at a staggering 11,000 ft. I drove narrow paths between banks of snow too high to see over, through which snow ploughs had cleared a path for the road. The air was thin. The early evening landscape had a surreal appearance. I was driving through vast expanses of frozen snow, pine trees, blue skies and yellow skies and thunderstorm-black skies. Next to me were the frozen snow plains of what my mind told me were the tops of the highest mountains. But they were not high at all, they were right next to me on my level. And I just seemed to go on at 11,000 ft forever.

Again I did not make much progress to my destination. Maybe I should choose one? Nah.

Topo USA says my maximum height was 10,972 ft. That is consistent with my GPS telling me my maximum height was 11,000 ft, not 10,900 ft. But the official number for the height of the pass is 10,947 ft. A limitation in how Topo USA and the GPS compute height? Anyway, I was plenty high. Never took my Cessna 152 up that high.

Pictures (click for larger size):