6.01.2004

From Snowy Passes to Waterfalls

I hope everyone had a good weekend, I know my visitors and I had a good time here! Saturday we went to the Beaver Creek Village for the Blues Brews and Barbeques festival, snacked on some BBQ, had a couple beers and checked out the shops in the village. Most of the day was wet though, and in the early evening the rain changed over to snow! We actually got about 2 or 3 inches. It all melted away on Sunday when the sun came out though.

Sunday we went for a scenic drive. After lunch in the Vail Village, we headed east to Copper Mtn, south over Fremont Pass into Leadville where there was just enough breaks in the clouds to get a view of Mt Elbert and Mt Massive, the 2 tallest peaks in the state. Independence Pass was open, so we opted for the drive over it to Aspen. Its about a 45 mile trip, peaking on 12,095 foot Independence Pass on the Continental Divide. It was cold, windy and snowy on the pass, and due to the snow, there wasn't much of a view. The drive down the Aspen side was interesting, there was a ghost town off the side of the highway, and a spot on the side of the road where we parked and got to scramble up a few rocks for a view of the nearby mountain ranges. We got into Aspen and walked around admiring the town, and the snow-free ski slopes. They look just as steep, but a little less intimidating without the moguls. From Aspen we headed northwest to Glenwood Springs, stopping to stretch with a view of Mt Sopris in the distance. The return drive took us through Glenwood Canyon and its 2,000 foot high rock walls before returning home for a nice dinner at the Mustang Bar and Grill in Edwards. I recommend getting your steak or salmon "Ore House" style, smothered in crab meat and bearnaise sauce.

Monday we took a nice hike, 2 miles in and 1,400 feet up into the Eagle's Nest Wilderness along the Booth Creek Trail. After two hours we were awarded with a 60 foot waterfall that made all the lungbusting worth the effort. The trail starts out steeply, them levels out a bit through Aspen and Spruce forest, and across two streams to a large meadow before the falls. In another month or so the meadow will be full of beautiful blue, purple and yellow wildflowers. The final push to the falls includes a moderately steep trail over rocks for about 30-40 feet of vertical. The overlook for the falls is at the top of them, looking down into the 60 foot rocky ravine. There is this great rock at the overlook to lean over, almost like a natural guardrail, waist high so that you don't feel so exposed to the depths below. You can continue up around the edge of the ravine to a smaller upper section of the falls with more views of the rocky ravine the falls cut their way through. After the walk down we took a drive up to Piney Lake for a view across the alpine tarn to 13,500 plus foot Mt Powell, the tallest peak in the Gore Range.

All together it was a great time, we saw a lot of sites, wandered through 3 different ski resort villages, over the Continental Divide twice, and got to see some of the tallest and most majestic peaks in the state. So who else is ready for a visit?