9/21 to 9/25
Fall leaf season in Colorado is here so Ross and I headed up to the mountains for our annual trip to see the Aspen leaves. We were a bit early on our timing, but it was still beautiful. We started our trip with two nights at Camp Hale near Leadville, CO. Camp Hale is a historic area where they trained the Army in the 10th Mountain Division to ski so that they could access the mountains in Europe during World War 2. Ross is a bit of a history buff and had been reading about this special group and area and wanted to visit. The Camp Hale campground had beautiful scenery and it was empty. We pulled in, set up and went out for a peaceful hike around the campground with views of Aspen trees, ponds, rivers and the valley. The next day we got up and hiked part of the Continental Divide trail that runs through Colorado. We had the trail to ourselves and enjoyed fantastic views and wonderful fall colors. The Aspen were changing color, the sky was a clear blue, and the chaparral in the valley were various colors of orange, reds and greens. A painters paradise!
We set up some camp chairs after the hike and I attempted a watercolor painting. The weather started changing (as it often does in the mountains in the afternoon) and I rushed to get a sense of the scene down on paper. I spent the rest of the afternoon back in the trailer touching it up.
Our excitement for the afternoon was a moose sighting on our way back to our campsite. We were able to sit and watch him walk through the meadow for quite a long time. They are amazing animals, massive in size and strength, and he had a huge rack of antlers. We felt like it was a perfect day.
The following two days we spent at the Difficult Campground outside of Aspen. I think we were a bit early for the majority of the trees, but some had started to turn color. The campground is fantastic, and our site was beautiful and private. The location is also a huge plus since it is close to the town of Aspen but also has some hiking trails that head out of the campground.
We spent the morning hiking the Difficult Trail which is a solid uphill climb. We passed through evergreens and aspens and ultimately reached a great view of the valley and the rushing Difficult Creek.
The afternoon I spent painting the Roaring Fork River. I have been wanting to work on my painting skills in regards to water so this was a great exercise for me.
This short trip got us even more excited for our upcoming adventure in October and November. It is now time to get serious about packing and organizing for this journey west.