Gravel crunched under the tires as we pulled to the side of the road. A drop off sat directly to our right, dramatically framing the overlook we chose to stop and visit for a break on our long drive down the Top of the Rockies Scenic Byway.
Although I’d journeyed along the nearby portion of I-70 countless times over the years, this section of Highway 24 was entirely new to me. Eyes wide in wonder at the tree-covered mountains that surrounded me, I couldn’t help but sigh, “This is so beautiful!” over and over again with each rounded corner.
Truck perched high above the Eagle River and train tracks below, we slipped out of our seats and piled in the bed in the back, hungry and in need of a brief break from our long day’s drive. Luke sat on the tailgate with a cheap flag in one hand and a chicken tender in the other, soliciting honks from other travelers as they passed.
The rain halted but the storm clouds remained, giving the surrounding mountains a mysterious feel. The air was damp but clean, with a freshness only summer rain can bring.
After eating his fill, Luke scrambled out of the truck and ran up and down the length of the gravel pull off, cautiously glancing into the trees covering the hill below and listening for bears. I followed slowly behind as my boy stretched his legs, Jack enthusiastically clutching my shoulder.
We stood together near the edge of the overlook and took one last look at the view. A quick diaper change on the tailgate and one more toddler pee in the bushes, we buckled the kids back into their carseats, fired up the engine, and continued our journey east.