Aug 22, 2013

Exploring Colorado's Great Outdoors + Is that Dwight Howard?

My first post about my 10 day trip to Colorado and New Mexico left off at our morning at the Leadville Pack Burro Race. From Leadville, we began to drive towards Aspen. Our first destination was to be Independence Pass on the Continental Divide. Along the way, we made several scenic stops to see the beautiful lakes and mountains of Colorado.

How gorgeous is this? 

There was a small loop trail at Independence Pass that we went on. It was at about this time that I started feeling the effects of the elevation change. Walking even on a slight incline was difficult and left me out of breathe. We took our time walking to the lookout. 

 Once we got there, we saw more beautiful mountains.

A short distance away is Independence Townsite. Independence was founded in 1879 and declined shortly thereafter. Some of the buildings have been preserved. There is also a 1 mile loop hike around the abandoned buildings that we explored. 

Our next stop was a short drive away to a trail called The Grottos. This hike was mostly on large boulders, and eventually takes you to an area where the Roaring Fork River has carved into the rocks to create waterfalls. 

We found the trail to be a bit confusing and wound up getting disoriented while we were trying to find the Ice Caves, so we just headed back to our car instead of wandering more. 

Next, we drove to Aspen to take an afternoon break. On the drive over, we came across a grove of Aspen trees. 

We explored town a bit and had way too many cookies from Paradise Bakery. Later, we decided to hang out in the park, where there were lots of doggies and their humans also hanging out. And wait? Is that Dwight Howard throwing a football around with a bunch of kids??? Why, yes! Yes, it is!

That was kind of humorous because I have no idea who Dwight Howard is, but apparently, my husband does as does every other grown up in the park!

Our final hike of the day was to be Maroon Bells. Just as we were heading over, it started to rain and then when we got there, it was pouring down. We still took a soggy walk around but couldn't do the hike.

Still lovely despite the lack of sun! 

It turned out to be good that we couldn't do the hike because by this time, I was in bad shape. My head was pounding and I was starting to feel nauseous. Maybe it was all the cookies, but I think it was the altitude and the over-exertion from our already long and active day.

We drove to Glenwood Springs for dinner at The Pullman, but I had absolutely no appetite. Did I mention my pounding headache??? Ugh. Raisin Bread had to run to 7-11 to get me some Tylenol. I couldn't even consider trying to eat meat, so I ordered a salad and soup. I wound up not even being able to stomach the soup.

It's too bad because under normal circumstances, I would have wanted to eat the entire menu.

Folks, altitude is no joke. The only other time I have done hiking in similar conditions, I was heavily medicated on Diamox! Don't be tempted to go, go, go like we did and give yourself a day or two to acclimate. 

Paradise Bakery
320 South Galena Street
Aspen, CO 81611

The Pullman
330 7th Street
Glenwood Springs, CO 81601


  1. Drink a ton more water next time and you will be fine