Michigan's apples, cherries, blueberries, and peaches are second-to-none, so make sure to sample those. Another specialty is the coney dog — a hot dog served with mustard, chili, and freshly-cut onions. Also sample the pasties found in the Upper Peninsula, made from potato, onion, meat, and rutabaga. Foodies adore the Cudighi sausage-patty hoagie topped with mozzarella cheese and tomato sauce. With all those Great Lakes, can freshwater fish preparations be far behind? Hot favorites include whitefish and lake perch served with salad and mash potato.
Precambrian metamorphic rock formed the core of the North American continent during the Precambrian eon 4.5–1 billion years ago. During the Paleozoic era, western North America was submerged beneath a shallow sea, with a seabed composed of limestone and dolomite deposits many kilometers thick. Pikes Peak granite formed during the late Precambrian eon, continuing well into the Paleozoic era, when mass quantities of molten rock flowed, amalgamated, and formed the continents about 1 billion–300 million years ago. Concurrently, in the period from 500–300 million years ago, the region began to sink while lime and mud sediments were deposited in the vacated space. Eroded granite produced sand particles that formed strata—layers of sediment—in the sinking basin.
Designated as an All American Road, Trail Ridge Road crosses from beautiful pine forests to alpine tundra at some of the highest points in Rocky Mountain National Park. The drive is so high, that visitors will climb 4,000 feet in a matter of minutes! Outside of the car, plant and wildlife flourish throughout the drive -- moose, bighorn sheep and around 200 species of alpine plants are a few of the amazing sights that you might see. With a top altitude of over 12,000 feet, slow speeds and deep breaths are recommended. Janine Dawley, www.sharetheexperience.org
Straddling the Continental Divide, the Rocky Mountain National Park covers some of the most beautiful mountains in the world. There are 77 mountains in the park with elevations that range from 7,500 to over 12,000 feet (2,200 to 3,600 meters). Most of the more than 3 million people who visit the park each year spend at least one night in one of the park’s many drive-in campgrounds. More than 350 miles of hiking trails offer visitors the chance to view the park’s wildlife, which includes hundreds of elk, bighorn sheep and deer. There is also the specially built scenic Trail Ridge Road, the highest paved road in any of the National Park in the United States.
Snow-fed rivers tumble over granite boulders in the Rocky Mountains, creating an ideal environment for fly-fishing and whitewater rafting. The state's most famous river -- the Colorado -- flows from headwaters in Rocky Mountain National Park, with alternating stretches of heart-pounding hydraulics and quiet areas where you can wade out and cast your fly. Stay at a Bureau of Land Management campground along the shore, or at private riverside cabins such as those found at Colorado Cabin Adventures 3 miles from Grand Lake. For a more remote experience, stay at Cottonwood Cove, tucked along the banks of the Rio Grande just downstream from the picturesque mining town of Creede.
Brian and I descended back to ~7,000 feet for dinner in a small-town Indian restaurant in Nederland, Colorado, west of Boulder. By then, both our heads ached like a bad hangover, and my lungs literally burned when I tried to inhale anything but shallow breaths. Add generalized joint pain, and I had a full-blown case of altitude sickness. Given that I am a noted hypochondriac, I expected the worst.