Friday, July 03, 2009
June 25, 2009: Aspen and Independence Pass
We took a 200 mile round trip south of Interstate 70 today. Going south through Leadville on state route 24 and had lunch at the “Tennessee Pass” restaurant (really good food ☺). Leadville is quite a nice little town situated at 10,000 foot elevation. We passed so many beautiful spots along the way to Independence Pass … one was called Twin Lakes. A little five building village overlooking a lake under some towering 14,000 foot peaks. There were a few cabins for rent here … maybe for the future?
Another hour of climbing a winding state route 82 along a rushing stream brought us to Independence Pass … a high mountain pass connecting Leadville and Aspen. The highest point is at 12,000 feet and is above the tree line and even in late June has plenty of snow. Mountains rose all around us up to and past 14,000 feet … it turns out Colorado has 52 mountains over 14,000 feet. After cresting the mountain pass we began a 10 mile journey down the other side of the mountain into Aspen. This pass is typically closed from the first snow fall through late May. Fran and I were amazed at the number of cyclists who made the trek up the mountain. Not only are they climbing thousands of feet in elevation the air is so thin their lungs must have been burning terribly. I was relieved to find they had support vehicles waiting for them at the top of the mountain.
Aspen was so picturesque just like I imagined but … it was raining and everything we wanted to see was outside. We tried to make the best of it but we were getting tired and ended up calling it a day after about 45 minutes and then started the long drive up route 82 to Glenwood Springs and then Interstate 70 back to Avon. Before we arrived in Avon we decided to have dinner in Edwards at a place called “E-Town” … a part of a planned live / work / play community. Edwards reminded me of a rural community suddenly facing an onslaught of development spreading out from the Vail ski area and encompassing the entire Vail valley.