"Of all the paths you take in life make sure a few of them are dirt" US Forest Sevice

Friday, August 12, 2016

Aspen trails

We were dry camping in Difficult Campground on Independence Pass using our solar for electricity and no Verizon except in town. Even with doubling the price of parking there was none to be found. We usually research our hikes on the internet before heading out. We looked at the map from the visitor's center and found a hike that looked about 3-4 miles round trip on Castle Creek Road but not sure about the elevation climb. We had never been up that road before and it was a  beautiful drive.
Once we arrived at the trailhead, we realized there would be quite a bit uphill. We climbed 2000 feet in 1.5 miles to an altitude of 11,200 feet. After being gone for a year, I felt the lack of oxygen and moved pretty slow.

Once we arrived in the bowl, the views were awesome and the  bowl huge. We had hiked 7-9 miles before arriving in Colorado. But I had to call it a day after 1 1/2 miles.

The picture I took at 11,200 was too  blurry to post. this one had to do. It doesn't look like I will be climbing any 14ers this week.

East End Aspen Trail starts at our campground and leads 4 miles into town. We found this was a better choice for getting around. The parking with our big truck was impossible.


We found the Holden/Marolt Mining Museum as we were riding along the Marolt Trail on the west side of town.
In 1891, the Holden Lixiviation Mill sprawled over 22 acres at the edge of Aspen, boasting state-of-the-art technology and industrial design. Just 14 months after the new plant opened, Congress demonetized silver and the mill went bankrupt. Mike Marolt purchased the property for a dollar in 1940 as a family ranch. This site is unique. It tells the stories of both Aspen’s mining and ranching heritage.

A section of the city is for walking and cycling with the roads blocked from traffic.

A few weeks ago, while in Lassen National Park, we met a couple that do volunteering in the Tetons. We told them we were headed to Difficult Campground and they asked that we tell the volunteer, Roy, when we got there that they said Hi! He was tickled when we told him. Small world.

Previously, we had stayed in campgrounds on the Maroon Bells Road but on Independence Pass this time. The site was pretty sunny but once the afternoon clouds rolled in with a breeze causing the aspen to quake, we were good. The campgrounds above us had some bear problems. We made sure to put the grill in the bear proof bin after grilling salmon.

Off to Lake Dillon


  1. Sure is some pretty country and I noticed the thinner air at 8000' so can just imagine what you experienced.

    1. I am glad you made it. That is a bit of a drive from Buena Vista which is beautiful itself.

  2. Wow, that's quite a hike! A lot of elevation gain in a short distance and at high elevation—no wonder you had enough at 1.5 miles! It looked beautiful, though. Good idea to lock up the grill in a bear proof box after cooking salmon. :-)

    1. I could hear my heart pounding in my ears and breathing a bit too hard. I usually can push through difficult hikes. Not that day.