Monday, September 10, 2012

No 14er but an excellent hike! Part 2 of 2

After hiking Hanging Lake we headed towards Aspen, Colorado.

"Some place warm, a place where the beer flows like wine, where beautiful women instinctively flock like the sound of Capistrano. I'm talking about a little place called ASSSSSPEN!"

Ok, sorry, I had to get that out of my system......

It was a long drive, about an hour or so, from Hanging Lake, Glenwood Springs, Colorado, to The Maroon Bells, Aspen, Colorado.  As we approached the forest entrance we were informed that we would have to turn around, head back towards the town, and catch a shuttle back up as the park didn't allow personal vehicles to enter between the hours of 9am-5pm.

Reluctant to catch the shuttle and with time to spare we made our way to the nearby ghost town of Independence, Colorado.

  In case you can't read it....

"Founded July 4, 1979 when gold was discovered, Independence was the first community in the Roaring Fork Valley. A thriving mining camp, stagecoach and layover stop for all travel across Hunter's Pass, it became a ghost town in the late 1800's when trains came into Aspen and the gold played out.

In 1980, the Aspen Historical Society, in cooperation with the U.S. Forest Service, began reservation efforts to retain Independence for future generations."
                                                     - Aspen Historical Society

We spent some time meandering about the area snapping photos of the deserted buildings and surrounding mountains. Although there wasn't much to see it was still quite a sight to see nonetheless. The history behind the town of Independence itself makes it worth visiting if you're in the area.

 It was about 4:30pm when we left Independence and headed back towards the forest entrance to the Maroon Bells. Along the way we made a quick pit stop to fill up on gas, grab some drinks and use the restroom. We arrived at the forest entrance just after 5:00pm, proceeded in and parked in a parking lot located adjacent to the trail head of the Maroon Bells lake.

We followed the path towards the lake and were immediately surrounded by massive mountains on all sides of us. The mountains offered some spectacular views of high peaks and vibrant colors of green and yellow.

Continuing on our way we reached the lake and was met with the view of the Maroon Bells just off in the distance. It was an amazing sight to see! It was difficult to capture some good photos as the sun had just set behind the the Maroon Bells as we had arrived.

We continued on our way through the trail and eventually entered into an area covered by numerous trees. We stopped to take some photos as the aspen trees offered some great colors worth photographing.

Because the sun was starting to set and we failed to bring headlamps with us we turned back and headed towards the lake. While reaching the lake we had the pleasure of setting our sights on three moose, two female and one male. We took a few moments to observe and take some photos.

It was quite peaceful watching the moose go about their business. And, what more perfect setting could you ask for!? It was a great ending to an excellent trip. The Maroon Bells are a spectacular sight to see! I can't wait to return and see them capped in snow. Another hike that I recommend for anyone.

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