THE MOST BEAUTIFUL TRAIL I EVER PUKED ON!!!
|The Manitou Incline|
|The Incline doesn't look like much from this view at the start.|
However, those stairs soon become more like climbing a ladder
with the angle of accent reaching 69 degrees!
|The view of Manitou Springs from the top of the Incline.|
Since the Incline is too dangerous to hike straight down
there is a 4+ mile trail around the mountain back to town.
|The view from our campsite in Twin Lakes.|
While in Twin Lakes we toured the towns of Leadville, Frisco and Breckenridge. Frisco and Breckenridge are cute, up-scale ski resort towns which reinvent themselves into summer resorts with tons of outdoor activities.
My favorite trip from Twin Lakes was over the Independence Pass. I've been over a lot of mountain passes and Independence clearly rates among the best. The views of the snow capped Rockies overlooking mountain valleys with waterfalls and meandering mountain streams were spectacular. The pass is over 12,000' above sea level and at the top the mountain meadows were in full bloom with a riot of colors from the alpine wildflowers.
|A view from the road up to Independence Pass.|
|An alpine meadow at Independence Pass.|
Aspen is the town at the other end of the drive over Independence Pass. Aspen is a big ski town located in a pretty valley. The town defines the term "up-scale" with corresponding rip-off prices and heavy traffic congestion. However, in addition to Independence Pass the town is the home of Maroon Bells National Recreation Area. Maroon Bells is one of those not-to-be-missed day trips featuring a beautiful ride up a mountain valley to alpine lakes which are surrounded by uniquely shaped and colored peaks.
|Maroon Bells National Recreation Area.|
The highlight of the Maroon Bells trip was that the "Meandering Moose" finally got to see a moose casually catching a bite to eat in one the park's streams.
|The meandering moose of the Maroon Bells.|
|Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park|
On the day we toured Crested Butte there was a huge art festival. As we were walking into the festival we saw 2 police officers carrying shotguns and running toward us. It turned out that a fun-loving, very large black bear decided to attend the festival. After passing near some of the artist's tents it became a little agitated so it decided to enjoy the festival from a convenient observation post high in one of the trees.
|The Crested Butte bear hiding in a tree overlooking the art festival.|
The town of Crested Butte is another ski town but had a less pretentious feel to it. We enjoyed the festival, had lunch, and toured the scenic mountain area before being driven out by a huge thunder-boomer.
|Crested Butte area.|
|Crested Butte area.|
This is the conclusion of our 16 day experiment to live "off grid." In other words, stayed in camping areas with no water, electric or sewer. We lived only off the water we carried and were powered solely by the sun. This presented a few challenges but our living expenses were dirt cheap. Even after 16 days it looks like we could go a few more days before needing to dump and bring more water on-board. This is good practice for us as we plan to do a lot of boondocking this winter.
Tomorrow, it is off the Ouray, Silverton, Telluride and the Million Dollar Highway.