October 1-3, 2021
A friend of mine called me up this past summer and said “Save the date! You’re going on a 20+ mile hike in October with me and two other girlfriends”! Without hesitation I said, “Count me in!”
This fall in Colorado has been absolutely amazing! The fall colors, beautiful October blue skies, warm temperatures and even some snow, and lots of leaf peeping! This girls trip started off with a quick stop in Leadville, and an impromptu visit to Melanzana (where we could only shop from the sales rack since we didn’t have an appointment). We all found a hoodie – so lucky for us that we all walked out with a famous Melanzana hoodie! We then kept driving over Independence Pass, over the Continental Divide, where we continued to drool over the nature that was surrounding us, the awe-inspiring and impressive mountains, colorful leaves, gurgling rivers, and even some deer along the way.
We drove into Aspen where we parked at our hotel we would be staying at that evening, and walked into town. We dropped in at Aspen Brewing Company where we enjoyed a couple of the local beers, and delicious pizza!
Next morning we took the shuttle to Maroon Bells and started our 2-day trek across and over the mountain! Starting at 9,580 ft, and outfitted with hiking gear for all seasons, lots of water, trekking poles, spikes, and food. Along the way we passed Maroon Lake, Crater Lake and over West Maroon Pass.
The first leg of the hike was probably the most difficult with an elevation gain of 3,000 ft. Temperatures were sunny, encountered a little mud, then over the pass, some snow, rain and even a little hail. Aspen trees were still showing beautiful shades of yellow, gold, orange, and even still some green!
We spent the night in Crested Butte at the Nordic Inn and celebrated with a chilled glass of beer and a nice soak in the hot tub. The staff, and accommodations, including an extensive breakfast the next morning enticed me to definitely stay here again!
The next day we started off early with a bumpy 4×4 trip back to the trailhead with our awesome driver, Joey. (note: that the shuttle on the Crested Butte side stops as of October 1st).
We started on the trail at 8:30am back up to West Maroon Bells with the hope of getting back to Aspen to make the last shuttle by 5p.m., to avoid the ‘walk of shame’ back to Aspen. (This was strongly ingrained by our shuttle guide the previous morning.) Funny how the trail looks completely different coming from the opposite direction. Through a little bit of snow, a LOT of mud, some anticipation about hiking up and down the summit (due to the muddiness) a little anxiousness making our shuttle back on time, having great conversations and strengthening amazing friendships with strong empowered women… this hike was by far one of the best experiences of our lives!