The Continental Divide

Crossing the Rockies

These travels occurred in late September/early October 2021. The posts are gathered under the ‘Travel’ category (top right of page) and numbered to indicate the order in which they should be read.

Post 5

The train between Colorado and Salt Lake City passes through the Rockies and the Continental Divide; through not over. The Moffat tunnel is about 6 miles long and actually passes under the Continental Divide. The Continental Divide separates the watersheds, meaning the storm runoff, snow melt and rivers; on the east coast all flow to the Atlantic Ocean while those on the west side travel to the Pacific. We were shown one lake (?) about the size of an Olympic swimming pool that drains on both sides of the divide and is reported to be the only body of water that straddles the continental divide. Wikipedia has an interesting explanation and map if you want more info about the divide. I posted a photo of the view from train while in the tunnel for your enjoyment. : ) Coming down from the Rockies on the west side looked similar to the climb – still beautifully towering peaks so close it seemed like I could reach out and touch them. Suddenly we were on a flat wide open area surrounded by mountains. It felt like we were in a flat bottomed bowl where the floor area was desert-like with scrub brush and sandy, gravelly soil. Occasionally there would be small herds of cattle. Most were ignoring our intrusion on their quiet day of munching whatever was available, while it seemed the young ones were curious and watching the tourists whiz on by. I’m convinced my descriptions don’t adequately illustrate the astounding natural beauty of the area.

Amtrak delivered us to Salt Lake City late at night without issue. A quick taxi ride to the Radisson and we can relax a bit after a 35 hour train ride and before tomorrow’s 9 hour bus ride to West Yellowstone.

The pic of water is the lake that straddles the Continental Divide. That’s the entire lake (and it would not qualify as a lake at home).

Published by barnberry

Well over aged 60 (well, OK, a lot more than that...) father of one outstanding young woman, unworthy husband of the most patient and talented woman in the world, retired small business owner, lover of all the wrong foods, political junkie and resident of NH. A conservative with a libertarian streak, and a thoughtful, impish, dedicated curmudgeon.

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