Boondocking - National Forest
The weather was not cooperating again as thunderstorms were on and off as we headed out for our last chance to hike in Aspen but the views along the way were fantastic!
Driving up the pass it was one beautiful view after another. Valleys, mountains and rivers.
The top of the pass is 12, 095 feet in elevation. Even in July, there were snowcapped mountains and it was quite cold and windy.
There are some nice walking paths that take you out to appreciate the views and keep the fragile plants and flowers safe. We got lucky as the thunderstorms stopped for a bit and a little blue came out.
B E A U T F U L !!
The reflections from were amazing too as the low clouds moved in.
There were a couple of very nice hikes we wanted to do in Aspen. A hike to the Maroon Bells was top on our list. Click on the link to see the amazing picture of it and you'll see why! I really wanted to see the wildflowers. There is a reflective lake and two giant snow-striped mountaintops. Because the landmark is so popular, there is restricted access to the area. You can drive to and from the area before and after certain hours during summer. Otherwise you have to take the public bus for a fee. From Labor Day to the end of September, buses to the area only run Friday through Sunday. This is a perfect time to visit, when the aspens are changing color.
Once again, thunderstorms kicked back up and prevented us from taking the hike. So we continued on to the town of Aspen.
The town is full of flowers everywhere. Very pretty.
A nice water feature that must keep the kids busy when it's hot.
Cute baby Alpacas.
Bikes are huge here! Looks at all the colorful, clever decorations. Lady Bugs below.
The prices are just as big!
Peacock bike anyone? On sale for only $1590!
We didn't want to keep anything in the truck, but I knew these warm, bacon covered mini-maple donuts had no chance of actually making it TO the truck, so we bought the last 7 and promptly ate them all! Delicious! The miniature cacti on the wreath was tempting to buy for the door, but it's still snowing and cold here once and a while and figured it would die if I kept it outside and forgot to bring it in. So I passed.
The gondola ride looked like fun, but it was still storming out.
Flowers, flowers, flowers!
On the way back the rain let up some so we didn't want to pass up on the Ice Cave hike. The Ice Caves are in a long cavern where small pools of water freeze and create the ice cave. The Grotto Trail is also found here. We did both in the light rain. They were beautiful and I'm glad we did them.
It's can be hard to tell in the pictures, but you can see the ice down in the caverns. The ice is there year round.
The color of the water makes the ice look glacier blue. Heart shaped ice down in the cavern.
Water gushing out of the caverns at the other end.
Except for Steve. He hooked onto an actual rock while reeling back in.
It's hard to see in the above picture, but the rock is about the size of a lemon and right above his thumb.
I can't believe the hook stayed on the rock!
Down the pass you come upon the ghost town of Independence. There were many buildings and a lot to see. We would've loved to hike down to it and investigate more, but it was still cold and windy and we were still wet from the earlier hike. We just took some pictures and read about the town.
We absolutely loved our time in Leadville, but it's time to lift the jacks and move on.
We try to summit our first 14er! - We attempt hiking up Mt. Beirstadt over 14,000ft. Did we make it? Did I avoid Altitude Sickness this time? Check the next blog post for some amazing pictures!