May 30, 2011 – Independence Pass to Aspen

Our Annual Memorial Day trip over Independence Pass”

Today we made our annual drive over to Aspen via Independence Pass.  For the first time we had Phurba along and we left home with the sun shining thinking it was going to be a beautiful day.  By the time we got to Frisco, about 10 miles away from home, it started snowing and the temperature had already dropped about 10 degrees.

We continue on through Leadville and over the pass.  The remains of avalanches were everywhere.  The walls of snow along the side of the road were probably 20ft or more in places, and the places where the avalanches had crossed the road had been plowed and you could see the remains of trees that had be broken like toothpicks amongst the numerous feet of snow.

We arrived in Aspen and the weather had cleared and we continued our drive to Maroon Bells recreation area where we will be camping in a couple of weeks.  We wanted to make sure that the campsite that I had picked out online was going to be suitable for our 5 night stay.  We spent a little time up at Maroon Lake but then the snow began to fall hard and we realized it was time to head for home.

As we headed out of Aspen, still in the city limits, I got to see my first bear.  He was a little guy… thought he was a cub and wondered where Momma Bear was, but Mike said he wasn’t that young.  We got a couple of shots of him from the safety of the jeep.  Maybe next time I will get some better pictures…  Oh well!

Coming back over the pass it was really uneventful for us, but there were other cars or should we say people, that had no business out on the road.  The were in whiteout conditions and the temperature had dropped to around 25 degrees.  The roads were not bad, but he still makes the tourist freak out a little.

We arrived home a little later then expected and a little colder.  Hopefully our camping stay at Maroon Bells will encounter better weather then this trip!

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