Aspen, Colorado (Fall 2016)

The Fall in Colorado is one of my favorite times to explore the mountains. By the time Fall rolls around, the crowds generally dissipate in the high country. The cooler temperatures also make for very pleasant hiking weather. In addition, the more limited range of temperatures within a given day results in less heat build-up, which in turn decreases the potential to be chased off the hills by lightning. It is always recommend that one begins their hiking day early, but a slightly later start is more acceptable with the decreased lightning probability. On the other hand, the Fall is also more susceptible to snowy weather as it drifts away from the Summer.

Unfortunately, I was smacked upside the noggin by the other hand last year when visiting Aspen, Colorado. The plan for the weekend was to enjoy the fabulous Fall foliage and to run the Golden Leaf Half Marathon trail running race. The Golden Leaf Half is a race that a few of my friends have loved for years and I was looking forward to experiencing it first hand. However, the race made the difficult decision of canceling the event as a result of the rainy downpour and eventually snow the day before. I don’t envy the position that the race directors were in, but the weather on race day itself was actually pretty good; so, it was sort of frustrating that the race was canceled. I understand that they exercised caution to protect the trails and runners from potential injury; however, I feel like the race may have been unnecessarily wary. Then again, I wasn’t in a position of responsibility for runner safety, so it is much easy for me to question the decision.

I was really hoping to visit Maroon Lake to see the foliage frame the spectacular Maroon Bells. Unfortunately, the bombardment of rain and fog in the Roaring Fork Valley really didn’t support the idea. Those sights would no doubt have been gorgeous, but I still enjoyed the views from around the valley. Since the race was canceled, my friends and I decided to run up further up the valley on the East of Aspen Trail. We had an enjoyable run and made the best of the day, but it was still disappointing not being able to run our race. On the way out of town later in the day, I decided to drive over Independence Pass in search of more beauty. Well, it turned out to be a good couple days, but perhaps a return is in order. I’ll grade the weekend as N/A Incomplete.

Here are some of favorites pictures from the weekend:

Snowmass Ski Area
Aspen Mountain
View from the rugby field in town
Our run along the bike path (East of Aspen Trail)
The trail transitions to gravel/dirt as you head up further.

Looking up toward Independence Pass


1st picture from the drive up to Independence Pass

Independence Pass

From Twin Lakes at the bottom of the pass