We also have a pot-luck dinner every Thursday night, then game night afterwards. Tonight we made a new chicken wing recipe that came out really good...Sweet and Tangy Chicken Wings. I highly recommend this recipe, its quick and easy and tasty...a great combination :-). The game we played tonight was called Left Right and Center. It was easy and fun...another good combination :-). Last week we learned Cards, Jokers and Marbles. Sandi and Joe had the game board, and we all had so much fun that we all want a set ourselves now! Jack, Joe and Al are plotting how to make the board themselves, so hopefully by the end of the summer we'll have our own set to carry around with us :-). Candy Bar Bingo on Saturday nights has also been a hit. So far, we're having a good time here :-).
So, a week ago last Tuesday, we decided to take a day drive over Independence Pass to Aspen, and visit the most photographed location in all of Colorado...The Maroon Bells Snowmass Wilderness Area in the White River national Forest. When we arrived there, we could see why...but we'll get to that point soon :-).
First we headed up to Independence Pass
a twisty curvy road on our way to
12.095 feet elevation!
Once again we found snow (great to roll in)
along with awesome views!
As the road started back down towards Aspen, we reached the ghost town of Independence
Click on the picture for a larger version and you can read the history...or go here.
Close-ups of some of the buildings
Hey, I found a nice boarding house for anyone that comes to visit us..any takers??
This beautiful mountain bluebird struck a pose for me
The road became very narrow and hairpin curves as we came further down the pass. A couple of spots were only wide enough for one lane, and you had to be very careful going around curves...slowly and watching for vehicles coming from the other direction! We did meet one truck at one point, who had to back up to a wide enough spot where we could safely pass each other. It was a bit intense, but I can't even imagine what it was like before it was paved!
Upon reaching Aspen, we stopped at a "deli"..or what passes for a deli in this area of the country :-). Johnny McGuire's was interesting to say the least, but they had very good burgers that we ate at a picnic table outside. Now here's where my naivete comes in play, :-). I asked where there was a public restroom, and was told go downstairs, go past the LEAF store, and the restrooms were in the back. I had seen the LEAF billboard and thought to myself, I should check it out, fresh veggies...umm, nope. Check here for what the shop is in reality! 'Nough said.
So on we went to the Maroon Bells Wilderness Area. After mid-June, the area is so popular that private vehicles are banned, and you must take a shuttle bus to the main trailhead area. That's why I wanted to get there before the shuttle service started, as I was unsure of whether the dogs would be allowed on the bus.
As you can see, the aspen trees are starting to look awesome. It must be unbelievable in the fall when they turn gold.
A marmot by the side of the road greeting people as they drove by
The first view of the bells...so named for their bell shape
Maroon Lake is the gateway to a few trailheads leading into the wilderness...we chose to walk the length of the lake and then walk the 1 1/2 mile waterfalls loop
A beaver lodge at the far end of the lake...no sign of the beavers though. I guess they don't like the dogs splashing around!
The waterfalls...not exactly what I pictured, but ok!
Heading further into the wilderness
This marmot was NOT happy with us, I laugh every time I see this picture. He was definitely yelling at us for disturbing his peace :-).
Unlike other mountains in the Rockies that are composed of granite and limestone, the Bells are composed of metamorphic sedimentary mudstone that has hardened into rock over millions of years. Mudstone is weak and fractures readily, giving rise to dangerously loose rock along almost any route. The mudstone is responsible for the Bells' distinctive maroon color.
Every direction was a different, beautiful scene. The color of the water was unreal. So clear, and so many shades.
I just can't decide my favorite picture...I need some help! Which one is your favorite? Unfortunately, the wind was cranking pretty good, so the water wasn't calm enough for one of those beautiful reflection pictures.
The afternoon shadows were beginning to get long, and we wanted to get back over Independence Pass in the daylight, so off we went back east. It was an awesome drive, that I highly recommend for anyone in the area. Sadly, my pictures just don't do justice to the beauty of the area, but I tried! We are so enjoying this area, and so glad we are spending the summer here.
Until next time, thanks for reading, thanks for comments, we really are happy that folks enjoy our ramblings and photos. Have a great weekend, and we'll see what we can find to write about for next week :-). Oh, and the entire set of photos can be seen here if you wish!