Thursday, October 13, 2011

ASPEN, MAROON BELLS AND LEADVILLE LOOP


I had set my alarm for 6 am yesterday morning,  but when I woke up at 5:15 I decided to get moving.  I may have gotten 5 hours sleep but that’s doubtful.  I threw together a lunch and had breakfast and was on the road by 6 am.  
There was a lot of oilfield worker traffic on I-70 all the way to Glenwood Springs and then it was rush hour traffic all the way to Aspen.  The Maroon Bells road was really quiet; I saw maybe a dozen cars while I was up there.  It was very cold since Maroon Lake was still in shade and it was at 9580 feet.  The colour was mostly gone but for bits here and there. 
Next, I drove up to Independence Pass which is 12,095 feet and the wind was just howling.  I sure wished I had taken my winter jacket with the gloves and ear muffs in the pockets.  It was sunny and -1C but the wind chill was something else.  There were lots of people up at the top.  One lady fell on an ice/snow patch and couldn’t get up so two of us helped her husband get her back up.  I saw a guy snowboarding in the fairly shallow snow with his dog running along behind.
I spent some time in Leadville but just on the main street.   It seems to be a vibrant town at 10,200 feet elevation and I can imagine the winters are quite harsh.   I had to wait for road work a couple times, once shortly after Leadville and the other at Gilman.  I hit the I-70 about 3:30 and was home in about two hours.  I stopped for ten dollars gas somewhere as it looked like the gas was going to get too low before Clifton.  It was $3.79 per gallon and is only $3.18 in Clifton.  I put on just over 600 kms (375 miles) on my big loop and took about 116 photos.
Today we are going to the monthly Arizona lunch where the local people who winter in Florence get together.  Our time is winding down here in Grand Junction.  I think we will head down the road somewhere on Monday but no idea where as yet.


At the top of Independence Pass

Near Twin Lakes, CO.  

Twin Lakes

The main drag in Leadville, CO



North of Leadville

The little burg of Red Cliff, CO

I thought this log house looked neat

Red Cliff is just up the canyon to the left. There is a narrow entrance road on the left of the bridge where the van is coming out.  The main entrance is the lower bridge and the main Highway 24 bridge is the high one over the Eagle River.  There is also a rail line jammed in there.