"Two roads diverged in a yellow wood... And sorry I could not travel both. I took the one less traveled by. And that has made all the difference." --Robert Frost

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

A Wet Day in Aspen

Leadville, Colorado
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.
I don't know why, but the Continental Divide just fascinates me.  Knowing that rain that falls in one spot flows into the Pacific, while just a few inches away the rain will flow thousand of miles away.


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.

We have noticed that Colorado is one of the most dog-friendly states we've been in.  Aspen is especially dog friendly.  All the outside eateries had doggies and there were dog bowls and free doggy treat offered all over.
We were lucky to be in town during the Farmers Market.  We enjoyed walking around but didn't get any fruits and veggies as it would be a long time before we get back to camp.

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.


Once again the rain cleared out and we figured we'd try some fishing downstream.  Steve had one on but lost it.  We weren't able to catch anything after that.
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.


Some old buildings in Independence.

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!


  1. Best pics of your Colorado trip so far...even if the weather didn't cooperate!! Beautiful!!

    1. Thanks Cori, but wait until the next post! ;-)

  2. Love the photo of the wildflowers, clouds, and snow tipped mountain:) Just beautiful!! The Ice Cave hike looks so cool!! The ice was still quite large. Very cool!!

    1. Oh I could've taken millions of pictures! I sure wish we could've hiked the Bells though.

  3. Wow...the wildflowers are crazy up there, Debbie! Very nice!

  4. Great pics of such a beautiful area. Nice catch there Steve!
    Safe travels

  5. That is not a pleasant drive over Independence Pass but the pictures are beautiful. As you well know, you have to get out early in Colorado To avoid those thunderstorms. We enjoyed the Ice Caves and Grotto Trail also while we were there a few weeks ago. Bierstadt? I look forward to seeing how that went. I bet you made it.

    1. We're in Ouray right now and the weather has not been very nice. We get a couple of hours of decent weather, then rain and thunderstorms. We leave for Silverton Sunday and the weather sure isn't improving the next week. Getting pretty cold already!

  6. Cold and windy sounds wonderful from muggy NY. I'm amazed by the Divide as well - just so hard to "picture" the water splitting in half. Your pics are really wonderful - all the flowers and snow and water look amazing. Love all the bikes. I don't know how anyone retrieves theirs! That is a very hardy fish hook :-) Looking forward to seeing your pics of the 14'er.

    1. I thought people in CA were really outdoorsy. I'm amazed at how the peeps in SW Colorado are! All out biking, hiking, fishing, rafting! Pretty amazing. That rock was a crack up. He really thought he had a nice fish at first, then thought he had a stick or something. Funny to see a rock. That treble hook held pretty good!


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