Fall Color: Leadville to Aspen

After getting the Jeep running midday on Saturday, I loaded up Sprocket and we hit the road. We stopped briefly in Glenwood Springs to stretch a bit before pushing on to Minturn and the trailhead.

My vague plan was to hike Holy Cross but when the alarm went off at the trailhead on Sunday morning, I really just wasn’t feeling it. The weather was gorgeous, the leaves were amazing but I had no motivation to push myself at all.

What was in order was a day of epic leaf peeping.

I still wanted to be sure I got a hike or two in so since we were camped at a trail, we hiked it! The hike up to Half Moon Pass was a super enjoyable way to spend the first part of our morning in a super non-hurried fashion. I stopped at the top of the pass to enjoy the views and soak in the sunshine.

The drive back down to the highway was astoundingly beautiful. I’d gotten glimpses of aspens above I-70 on the drive east but after dinner at the Minturn Saloon, it was dark before I drove to the trailhead so I had missed the brilliant colors on the way up.

Since we had all day to explore, I turned south towards Leadville instead of going home via I-70. I stopped to check out the site of Camp Hale, the home of the 10th Mountain Division. I knew a little bit about the 10th Mountain Division but reading some of the signs at the historic site and at the memorial located at the top of Tennessee Pass reminded me of some things I’d learned watching Ken Burns’ “The War” several years ago. My grandfather loved history, especially World War II history, and to travel—I couldn’t help but think of him and how much he would have loved this interesting piece of history!

We poked around Leadville for a bit, checking out antique stores and enjoying a hot apple cider from City on A Hill Coffee. (Yes, Sprocket walks around antique stores with me.) After a bit, we continued on over Independence Pass. It looked a little different from when we were there in June!

The weekend felt really short because I was so embroiled in getting the Jeep running again but I’m so glad that Sprocket and I got out to enjoy the fall weather! You never know this time of year when the snow will start to fly!

Summer! Roadtrip!: Part 4

When we came down from Grand Mesa, it was time that I cleaned up a little bit. After traveling a lot, I’ve gotten pretty adept at not appearing like I’ve gone quite awhile since showering. When I had really short hair, the gas station or fast food hair wash was pretty painless but I still do it because you can only deal with dusty greasy hair so long:

After my McDonald’s bathroom shower, we continued up through Crawford to camp near the north rim of the Black Canyon of the Gunnison. I’d visited the south rim of the canyon before but had never made it around to the north rim. Sunrise on the rim was pretty fantastic.

Black Canyon of the Gunnison

From Black Canyon, we took Crawford Road to Paonia where we took a quick break for coffee and a breakfast burrito at Nelle’s. (Amanda may be ruined for all other breakfast burritos forever.) We continued up over McClure Pass, taking some time to walk around on top, and then down into Marble. (The marble for the Lincoln Memorial came from here!) Marble was beautiful and I can’t wait to come back and explore some of the jeep roads in the area.

Our next destination was Independence Pass just outside of Aspen. I’d never been in this area and it did not disappoint. I can’t wait to get back and get on some of these peaks.

My clothing for exploring the snowy pass might not have been the most appropriate but maybe I’m just becoming a local?

We decided to camp near the bottom of the pass and return for some sunrise photos in the morning. Our camp was right next to a rushing stream and I slept like a baby with its white noise. It was kind of hard to get up in the morning since I was so cozy but sunrise was amazing and I was glad I was up.

Post photo time, we drove to Leadville and got coffee and then continued on towards Keystone. After dropping my jeep off at our campsite we headed out for a vehicle tour of the area. We drove out through Montezuma:

And then over Loveland Pass and on to Georgetown and up Guanella Pass:

Then I decided that what Amanda was missing on her Colorado adventure was some beer tasting so we checked out Backcountry Brewery in Frisco:

It was quite a whirlwind tour of Colorado but we covered everything from desert to high mesa to canyons to high alpine. Amanda was a great travel partner—Sprocket and I would be happy to travel with her anytime! Finally, I discovered that sleeping in the FSJ with the tailgate window down in early summer temperatures was pretty much the most glorious thing ever: