Beginning the first leg of our California road trip, we left Denver this morning, headed west on Interstate 70. Climbing through the Front Range, we crossed the Continental Divide at the Eisenhower Tunnel and entered the vast watershed of the Colorado River. After dipping through the Blue River Valley, we crossed Vail Pass and descended along Gore Creek and the Eagle River to the Colorado itself.
Following the Colorado, we snaked down Glenwood Canyon and, just west of Glenwood Springs, cut through the Grand Hogback, entering the Colorado Plateau, a landscape of mesas, buttes, plateaus and cliff-lined valleys. Passing Battlement and Grand Mesas to our south and the Roan Plateau to our north, we then drove along the Book Cliffs (Cretaceous in age), that rise along the north side of the Interstate from Grand Junction to Green River, Utah. Leaving the Colorado, we entered Utah where the La Sal Mountains, a massive laccolith near Moab, loomed to the SSW; after crossing the Green River, just east of the Waterpocket Fold, we turned north on US 6 toward Price, Utah, passing formations of Mancos Shale carved by the Price River and its tributaries.
Beyond Price, the highway climbs onto the Wasatch Plateau where, at Soldier Summit (7477 feet), we left the watershed of the Colorado River and entered the Great Basin, dropping from the Plateau and through the Wasatch Range to the urban corridor of Provo and Salt Lake City. Tomorrow, we cross the Great Basin on Interstate 80, headed for Reno and Lake Tahoe.