"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

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Aspen, Colorado

Our time in Idaho was great. Now it was time to return to Colorado after leaving one year ago. The temps were heating up and the fires on the east side of the mountains were leaving ash on our truck. Bringham City, Utah was 97 degrees when we arrived and the next day in Green River, Utah 106. We found the shadiest spot and let the campground host know that would be ours. Walking the short distance to do our laundry felt like real work in that heat.
Aspen is a ski town in a valley surrounded by 13000 foot mountains that was originally built around silver mining and ranching. Highway 82 runs through the town and makes for slow going and parking that is one of its biggest issues. Friday was not a good day to drive thru town since the Enduro Games were being held over the weekend.

Whenever we are close to the Maroon Bells, we like to ride our bikes from town to the lake. It is a pretty steady climb over 12 miles. We were one mile from the top when the black flies were so bad that I considered turning around. After some swatting of the bugs, I decided to make the last push. A breeze came up as we turned the corner and all was well. We made it. After a brief rest and walk around the lake, we had to start back as the rain was starting. Fortunately, no thunder and lightening.

On the ride down, Mike saw these marmots sunning themselves on some rocks.

There were some easy interesting trails just up Independence Pass from our campground.

The Ice Caves were nice and cool.

Just down the road was a short 0.6 mile hike to Weller Lake.

We  started this blog to keep our family and friends posted as to where we were and so we could look back and remember what we did and felt. Now as we sat down to look over the past year, our heads spin at how fortunate we were to go all of those places. We have had to learn to live together in a small space and find we wouldn't do it any other way. At least for now.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Bench Lake

We decided to hike up to Bench Lake on our last morning. It was 46 degrees at 8:30 as we left the trailhead but knew that it would be warming up pretty quickly. 
The Redfish Trail is 4 miles to the first lake and overlooks the lake from the west as we climbed above it.  There weren't many boats out yet and a pretty quiet morning.

Before entering the Wilderness area, we were required to fill out a permit even for day use. If checked by a ranger and not have you part of the permit, the fine is $5000. We took the time to fill it out and tucked the yellow sheet in our pack.

I took so many pictures as we walked that it took 2 hours to walk 3 3/4 miles to the lake.

The smoke from the fires southwest of us gave a hazy view at times with occasional ash blowing our way when the wind would pick up.
Such a peaceful place for lunch for two as we listened to the birds and watched the fish jump. I guess you probably know, when the fish are jumping, the bugs are out. We stayed a while and used our bug spray.

Fortunately, the clouds came over as we were on our way back on the  returning 3 3/4 miles would have been uncomfortable. We passed several people starting out as we were finishing at 1pm that had a small bottle of water and planned to walk to Bench Lake. I hope they were ok.

The trail was very dusty and dry and would poof like talcum powder with every step, sticking to the sunscreen on my legs..

Looks like we have a couple of long driving days ahead of us after changing our plans and staying in  Idaho longer. The temps in Utah are heating up. On our way to Colorado where we started one year ago.