Tuesday, September 17, 2013

The Majesty of Needles Highway

Part 2, Day Four, Thursday, August 22
After our very nice hike in the French Creek Natural Area, and our surprise visit with old friends, we continued on our way.  The kids were all very ready for a nice swim, after sitting in the back of the hot van while we chatted away with the Timms, the couple we ran into from Joe's hometown. 

So we continued on our way to Sylvan Lake.  The scenery along the Needles Highway was tremendous.  We had picked up a couple of more detailed maps of the areas and the kids had noticed we'd be driving through three tunnels.  Oooh, the anticipation mounted with each curve of the highway.  Until finally, ...

The first tunnel one finds driving north on SD 87.  I believe it's officially called Tunnel 6 or Iron Creek Tunnel.  This seems unnerving until one sees the later ones.
But the views only got better after the first tunnel, each progressively more marvelous and rugged than the last.

A view of some of the Needles formations for which the route is named.  I like the roadway curving along further ahead.

More Needles.  I obviously took this shot out the car window, so the areal is in the way.  But it showed how narrow the roadway is along this stretch of highway.

More pretty views.  I think one of the kids took this shot.  Maybe Sophie.  I love how the dark rock along the right contrasts with the blues of the hills.  And the green leaves in the foreground sparkling in the sun.  Can't you almost see them swaying in the mountain breezes?

I think I took this shot looking straight up.  Joe warned me it wouldn't capture the reality of the view.  And he was right, of course.  But it's still a cool shot.

Another "looking up from the car window" shot.  A bit askew, but only that makes it more cool, I think.

The approach to the Needles Eye tunnel.

And a closer view of the 8'4" wide tunnel
Shortly after the Needles Eye, we arrived at Sylvan Lake, hungry and ready to swim.

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