I love a good road. Well, really, I love traveling. And who doesn't?
But why roads? They quite literally connect us to everywhere we need to go and to most of the places we want to go. In a sense, I think, roads are a physical representation of the possibilities and adventures that lie ahead. So, for this post, I will be taking a look at some of the neat roads I have encountered on my travels. Each photo will either be of a road or taken from the road – sometimes perhaps both!
One of my favorite roads I have repeatedly traveled is the Colorado icon, Trail Ridge Road, seen above. It is the highest continuously paved highway in the United States, and offers stunning views to match the elevation. The above photo is of a landmark along the road known as “the Rock Cut.” When traveling from east of the Continental Divide, seeing this section of road is a sign the summit of 12,183 feet is near.
The road in the foreground of this image is the Lahaina Bypass, on the island of Maui. Before joining back up with the main Honoapiilani Highway around the island, the road passes in front of the town of Launiupoko. If you were to follow the valley behind the town, you would eventually find yourself in the stunning ʻĪao Valley. As much as I would like to say I had traveled on this road, I have only traveled over it. Hopefully you appreciate the view the same way I did!
That does bring up a challenge I sometimes face when on the road: taking pictures safely. Snapping photos of highways is a lot easier when you aren’t physically on them. But other roads that I am traveling on require stopping off to the side in order to get a decent shot.
Thankfully, that is a lot easier to accomplish on less-traveled roads. The shot above is from the aptly named Trough Road, in Colorado. The “trough” it follows is actually the Colorado River. Here, I pulled off to the side to snag a photo of the morning mist wrapping around the mountainside.
Speaking of stopping on the side of the road to look at clouds, here is a misty afternoon near the town of Captain Cook, HI, on Hawai’i Island. This photo comes courtesy of Hawai’i Belt Road, which circles the entire island.
I was unprepared for the amount of rain I would receive during my time in Hawai’i, but I was also equally surprised by how little it bothered me. As a native Iowan, I always enjoyed watching the clouds and curtains of rain roll over the prairie. Something I never had the opportunity to see, at least until this moment, was watching clouds roll off the slopes of a mountain and over the ocean. I still consider myself an “ocean noob” so this was truly worth stopping to watch.
Here we have another aerial photo of a road, this time of the Queen Ka’ahumanu Highway and the gravel trail leading to it. Also located on Hawai’i Island, this highway winds through multiple different kinds of terrain, two of which you can see here. The dark rock you see is basalt, the result of lava flowing over the land. Until very recently, I had never been to a place where the ground was not dirt, but rock (hence why I took this photo). Not only that, but volcanic rock is also exceptionally sharp. I was more than happy to enjoy these rocks from afar!
Some rocks I like to appreciate from up close, though, would be these ones along Colorado Highway 7. This road winds from Estes Park to Lyon, sometimes cutting through rock outcrops like this one. This shot was taken on the southern side of Estes Park, facing Twin Sisters Mountain. This particular rock cut sort of makes me think of a gate, or a doorway, signifying you are leaving or entering the town. Incidentally, it actually does serve as the marker for separate fire districts.
Lastly, I wanted to show you a photo of the aforementioned Trail Ridge Road, albeit in wintertime. The nation’s tallest highway isn’t plowed in the winter because there is simply just too much snow. But just because the road is closed does not mean there are not still ways for people to enjoy the park – it just requires some creativity. I sense a potential poetic meaning somewhere, but prose is my strong suit.
I have included two extra photos (both of me, I know) in this post, just for fun. I think it is unfair to only ever portray my best photos, and it feels disingenuous sometimes to receive praise for my nicer ones. Truthfully, I take a lot of photos that aren’t up to my standards for sharing with people. These two are ones I haven’t published either because they are out of focus or because I was in the middle of sinking up to my waist while trying to get a shot.
In either case, they aren’t really what I would describe as “good” photos. However, they do serve as a good reminder that a lot of trial and error (lots and lots of error) goes into producing the photos I do decide to publish.
I hope you get a laugh out of those two. I may share some more photos I goofed on in a future post, so if you thought those were funny, be sure to sign up to get updates sent straight to your email!