If you had just worked 13 days in a row, what would you do with your day off?
For me, the answer was hit up a farmers market and then drive up to over 12,000 feet above sea level on a road that vehicles over 35 feet are forbidden. Toss in a few cliffs, hairpin turns and less than 2 lane road, and you have yourself a day along Independence Pass.
We took an excursion to explore this area, having been told that it is a beautiful drive. Well, I am all over something like this. Plus, since the people telling us this live here in Colorado–where, in my opinion, every drive is beautiful–I had to take them on their word. We started cruising through Aspen and quickly realized that there is no clear boundary between the town and where the scenic drive began. The drive is littered with pull offs, campgrounds, hiking trail heads, and day use areas. We stopped at a few, either to see the scenery, take a break, or get out and stretch our legs.
|This day use area offered a cool stream to play in. We only got our toes wet.|
We continued our climb, stopping at the town of Independence, founded on….you guessed it, July 4th.
|Going down the path into town.|
|Information for you nerd types.|
After getting winded from walking up and down the side of a hill at an even higher elevation than we have become used to, we continued our trek to the top. Soon enough, after a few final switchbacks to get the adrenaline pumping, we made it.
|Say it with me, some water flows this way, some that way. That is why it is a divide.|
Yes, I know, we had to pass the Continental Divide to get into western Colorado, but we did not have the time or opportunity to make a deal of it at that point. That, and we crossed it in the middle of a tunnel on our initial drive West. Talk about anticlimactic. But not this time!
It was a beautiful day, sun and clouds. One thing that I love about Colorado is how you can see the weather approaching and just how bad it is. While we were up on top, we could see a storm blowing towards us. We had enough warning and lead time that we were able to almost get back into Aspen before it started to rain on us.
And to try to share the same view/experience, here are a few panorama shots that I put together from the lookout point at the divide.