Hiking toward Heaven: Maroon Mystery
WHATS IN THIS BLOG:
• My niece and husband came from Australia.
• Golden aspens and blue skies.
• Crater lake carved out by a glacier.
• Iron Mountain Hot Springs.
MY NIECE CAME TO VISIT FROM AUSTRALIA and to see the Maroon mystery. Alyse and her husband, Sam, visited LA, San Fran, and Las Vegas. Then last week they flew into ABQ and I took them for a tram ride to the top of Sandia Peak, a bit over 10,000 ft (ABQ is a mile-high city at 5,000 ft altitude).
A couple of days later we drove my Subaru Forester to Durango where we took lunch. On to Silverton, then the million-dollar highway to Ouray, Colorado. It’s called this because the cost to build the highway was a million dollars per mile (in the 1960s I believe). Ouray is called Little Switzerland because its surrounded by steep and high mountains. After the loud pounding waterfall of Box Canyon, we drove to Glenwood Springs and ate at a fabulous Mexican restaurant called Tequilas.
ON SATURDAY WE GOT UP AT 5 AM TO BEAT THE RUSH AND DROVE TO ASPEN, a popular ski resort. We had to buy tickets for a 25-min bus ride into the park, and the line was long already. When we disembarked from the bus, the view of the Maroon Bells was stunning, and so our hike began.
OUR HIKE WAS 1.6 MILES TO CRATER LAKE, A LAKE CARVED OUT BY A GLACIER. In fact, the whole valley was carved out by the glacier.
The weather was perfect for mid-September, as you can tell by the photos.
September is the start of Fall (autumn) in the USA, when the aspens turn to gold, and we nailed it on this trip. They call them quaking aspens because the leaves quiver with the tiniest breath of air.
The hike is moderately difficult: quite steep and rocky for a half-mile stretch. It was about 1.7 miles to Crater Lake where I turned around. Alyse and Sam hiked further up the valley.
AFTER THE HIKE, WE TOOK OUR TIRED LEGS TO THE NEW HOT SPRINGS. The old Hot Springs was one large pool connected to an Olympic-sized swimming pool. The new one, called Iron Mountain, has only been there a year or two.
There must be close to ten separate small pools with temperatures ranging from 101 to 104 F degrees. We laid back in the pools and gazed at the Colorado river and the mountains, and it felt like heaven!
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PS: I write blogs about Health and Hiking, Science and Energy, and Inspiration and Hope.
Great blog post Ian, I enjoyed the dialog and the pictures are fantastic. Thanks for sharing.
I hadn’t thought about the aspens when I planned the trip, so that was a very nice surprise. And the golden aspens were hugely popular. I have NEVER seen so many hikers on a trail in my life.
I am shocked about Crater Lake. I went there years ago and remember it was the most vibrant blue water I had ever seen. So sad…
Yes it was a shock for us — even though the bus driver warned about it…. he recommended to not take that hike!
Looks like a truly heavenly adventure!
In my opinion, a day hike with a pack on my back, and lunch in the pack, is a journey of peace and spiritual refreshment walking through God’s creation. Thanks for commenting, Karen.
Fantastic photos of the Maroon Bells plus! It’s great that you can still navigate the hiking trails with your repaired hip!
Thank you John. Its been almost 24 months since my hip replacement. Today I played in a pickleball tournament in Kansas and played well. Pickleball is miniature tennis. I thank God for the hip replacement which has held up really well in hiking as well as with bat and ball.