Aspen Day Trip and Hiking in Carbondale
Friday, June 8th cont’d
After leaving Maroon Creek Road, I continue east on Hwy 82 through Aspen and on towards Independence Pass. This is the first time I have driven to the pass. The road is paved all the way but pretty narrow. Going up the west side, there were two short sections that are about one and half lanes. I was in a group of vehicles both times, and we made it through both sections with no one having to back up!
The road follows the Roaring Fork River drainage up to the headwaters. It is a beautiful drive with the green valley and snowy mountains.
The road then climbs up to the pass, which is quite a large area. There is parking there with some interpretive signage and a short trail on the south side.
Looking towards the continental divide…
Looking southeast with La Plata Peak in the center. La Plata is one of the 14ers that I have hiked and is one of my favorites.
On the north side of the road, there is a small lake that was still icy.
I enjoyed the drive up and it wasn’t as scary as I thought it might be 🙂 After taking a few photos and enjoying the view, I head back down towards Aspen and on to Carbondale.
Sunday, June 10th
The two days spent repairing my cabinet interfered with some of the hiking plans I had. Sunday I did get in one of the hikes. The Thomas Lakes Trail is just about three miles further up the road from my camp. There was a beautiful meadow of flowers at the trailhead. The trail starts at 8,635ft.
I was surprised how many flowers were already in bloom. I could identify a few but I need to refresh my memory for most of them.
Saw one patch of scarlet gilia…
After about a mile walking through the forest, the trail comes out into a high meadow. Most of the yellow flowers are dandelions. They were rampant throughout this whole area.
And I love the white columbine. There was some along the trail plus a lot along the road to the trail head.
Looking back down the trail towards the east, the spruce and fir forest in this part of Colorado is so beautiful.
At about 3.5 miles, the first lake is reached. It is small and surrounded by trees.
A short distance further is the larger lake, sitting at about 10,200ft.
From here the trail continues another three miles and 2,800ft of elevation gain to the summit of East Sopris. It is one-half mile across the saddle to West Sopris, which interestingly is the same height as East – 12,953ft. But the lake is my turn around point for today. This was a great hike. The trail is good, gets a little rocky as it nears the lakes. Although this is a very popular trail, it was not crowded today. It was nice to get in a decent hike at elevation. Overall an awesome day!
Sunday is my last day here in Carbondale. Carbondale is a neat town and this area is so beautiful. I would say it is one of my favorite areas of Colorado now.
Monday I am headed to Denver for a few days to take care of some business there. So long Mt Sopris – I’m so used to seeing you every day, it’s like saying goodbye to a friend!