Monday, June 19, 2017

Independence Pass, Colorado, Part One


I'm so sorry for my two week absence from blogging.  My new computer took longer to arrive than I anticipated and then I had a problem with being unable to download the Google Picasa editing program, which I have been using for ten years, as Google no longer offers a download of the program. I tried their new Google Photos format and did not like it at all for editing. In my opinion it is much less user friendly than Picasa. After much searching of Google forums I did find a Picasa download I could trust, offered through a third party, so I'm happy to say I'm back in business!

Whenever my husband and I drive west on I-70 we reach a portion of the road where this view of the Rocky Mountains--seen in the photo above--is ahead.  It always reminds me of the John Muir quote: "The mountains are calling, and I must go." At the end of May we heard that Independence Pass had opened for the season, and we decided on the spur of the moment to take a drive there, as we've heard from many people what a beautiful drive over the continental divide it was! Come along for the ride, as I'll take you with me through my photos....and remember, all photos and collages will enlarge when clicked on.


We soon passed through the Eisenhower Memorial Tunnel, The highest vehicular tunnel in the world, at 11,013 feet elevation.


There are steep grades of descent after coming out of the tunnel, which always raise the hair on the back of my neck in terror, so thankfully my husband remains well in control as the driver while I take photos....


,,,,and soon we are passing ski resorts...


...and breathtaking mountain scenery.


We were supposed to enter Independence Pass going west near the town of Leadville, but we made a wrong turn which lead us away in the wrong direction, so instead we decided we would continue west to Glenwood Springs, and then turn back towards Aspen and drive back through Independence Pass going east.


We passed some beautiful and interesting topography along the way. Living in this state makes me wish I had a degree in geology so that I would understand all the different rock formations that I see.


We entered the Glenwood Canyon Area--excuse the glare on the car windshield in this photo.


Driving through the canyon made me feel like I entered the world of J.R.R. Tolkien. High and deep craggy canyon walls surrounded us at times and mesa steps covered with moss and shrubs.


I almost expected to view a Hobbit, or two, waving at me from one of the ledges!


Distinctive reddish sandstone cliffs surround Glenwood Springs


We drove through the town without stopping, and turned east, but we have a trip planned to visit Glenwood Springs later in the year.


Soon we had a beautiful first view of Mt Sopris.


Mt Sopris is a twin-summit mountain in the northwestern Elk Mountain range of the Rocky Mountains. The 12,965 foot (3,952 m) mountain is located in the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness of White National Forest.


Soon we entered Aspen. At slightly less than 8,000 feet elevation the snow had almost disappeared from this world renown ski area. 


This view near the town reminded me of a scene from Europe.


We passed through the town...we will definitely return again one day...


,,,and headed east on Highway 82 towards Independence Pass


We passed many magnificent aspen groves along the way, which made it apparent how the town of Aspen had gotten its name.


Highway 82 also passes through the White River National Forest topped with snow capped mountains...


...and even more aspen trees that were in spring bloom.


At certain points the highway narrows down to one lane and reduced speed is required


Cars stop to allow opposite traveling cars pass by.


All the while the views surrounding us are endless!


Highway 82 is twisty curvy but does not feel dangerous. There are pull offs where one can camp, picnic, find restrooms and take hikes. The Grottos Trail is popular and passes a waterfall.


As we continued to drive to higher elevations we began to see snow on the ground, even though this was late May. Because of heavy snowfall in this area Highway 82 is usually closed sometime in October through mid to the end of May.



We saw another 14,000 foot mountain, La Plata Peak ahead. 


When we passed the ruins of an old mill alongside the highway we knew we were approaching the ghost town of Independence.

Please click on photo to enlarge
We pulled off to a parking area to explore this once thriving mining town of 1,500 people and over forty businesses.  

I'll show you what we saw in my next blog post, Part Two of our journey over Independence Pass!


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44 comments:

Mersad said...

The beautiful white peaks in the distance are calling out to visitors, to get closer and to explore. I really like these shots of nature combined with the winding roads and highways. What a gorgeous drive!

Mersad
Mersad Donko Photography

Daniela said...

Your mountains are all so charming, darling Pat, the most beautiful I've ever seen, and you're right, Aspen recalls to my mind too a German or Austrian place, it's really lovely !

Wishing you a most lovely new week,
I'm sending hugs and ever much love to you,
with sincere thankfulness

XOXO Dany

The Joy of Home with Martha Ellen said...

Pat, your photos are always so lovely! The magnificent mountains are too beautiful for words. I especially like the first photo and the John Muir quote. I'm looking forward to part two of your time going over Independence Pass. Have a great week. ♥

Rajesh said...

Beautiful place to drive through. Love the views of snow capped mountain peaks.

From the Kitchen said...

Absolutely stunning vistas!

Best,
Bonnie

eileeninmd said...

Hello Patricia, I went thru the same thing with Picasa and Google Photos. I agree Google Photos is awful. I am glad I found a download of Picasa for my new computer too. I would love this road trip, the views of the snow capped mountains are just gorgeous. Lovely collection of photos. I love that John Muir quote too. Happy Monday, enjoy your new week!

Maggie said...

So it's not jus me that has issues with Google photos? Luckily I still have Picasa on my laptop but will ahve to use GP on my phone when next we go travelling.
I so enjoyed taking this drive with you today, Pat, what stunning scenery - endless vistas of trees and mountains with cute towns here and there to stop and investigate. Wonderful, thanks for sharing with the MM crowd this week.

Michelle said...

I think Colorado has the best vistas. We have always enjoyed our visits there. I understand your computer problems. Despite having protection software downloaded on my computer, I have picked up a "hijacker". Have to get that taken care of ASAP.

Ciao Chow Linda said...

Glad you're back in business with your computer. Mine is now six years old and acting wonky and I know I should look into getting a new one - but I procrastinate. Like you, I've used Picasa and may be asking for your help in the future. Love all your photos and excursions, Pat.

Carol @Comfort Spring Station said...

Fabulous photos of a beautiful area. I'd love to drive through there.

Vee said...

Fun that your way turned upon way and that you had a new adventure. I do suspect that you'll return again. Stunning scenery...glad that you were able to get an editing program that you know and like. Your comment about wishing to be a geologist made me grin as I know a geologist who grew up in Maine, but makes his home in Colorado for that very reason. Bet the state is crawling with geologists! 🤓

Tom said...

...what an exciting park of the world, it's just beautiful.

Ruth Hiebert said...

Wonderful,awe inspiring scenery.I don't know if I would enjoy one lane traffic through those mountains, but maybe the scenery would dispel some fears.

grownchildren.net said...

You had me at the John Muir quote. What a beautiful area you drove through. And oh those mountains. We (East Coasters) love Vermont and your photos made me wish we were leaving for the Green Mountains tomorrow--instead of in two weeks.

NC Sue said...

Beautiful scenery!
Thanks for sharing at https://image-in-ing.blogspot.com/2017/06/tidying-up-nest.html

Linda W. said...

What a lovely drive and mountain views! thanks for taking us along with you.

~Lavender Dreamer~ said...

Those winding mountain roads can be quite scary...I don't know how I would take it now! But what beautiful scenes and you took some great ones even from the car. I would love to go digging in some of those areas looking for gems! lol Hugs!

jeannettestgermain said...

Love the ski slopes, and the aspen groves (are aspen the same as birches?). Yes, I have the same, not minding at all hubby driving those dizzying ascents and descents of mountain tops!
Many thanks for sharing these with All Seasons! Glad you are able to be back in blog business:)

Barb said...

Some of my favorite scenery in your post,Pat. We often make the drive to Glenwood/Carbondale area to bike. In the off season, we like visiting Aspen.

Al said...

Beautiful photos - I love that part of the state and almost went to Independence Pass right after it opened this year.

The Furry Gnome said...

Oh, those mountains!

Yogi♪♪♪ said...

What a road trip you took us on. Very daunting to this flatlander.

Kristina Rees said...

Your photos arebeautiful. My husband and I did that drive last summer. Our daughter got married Vail. Such gorgeous country

Lady Fi said...

Wow - the mountain scenery is gorgeous!

Angie said...

So it's not just Montana that still has roads closed in May due to remaining snow! I am so impressed that you would adjust your plans after making a wrong turn - that is something that I am working on! Beautiful mountain views!

Sylvia said...

Pat, It was nice to the trip a little different. Thanks for sharing your photos. Have a great week. Sylvia D.

Alycia Quiltygirl.com said...

Beautiful!! I love those towns too - can't wait to see what you discover!

Kristy LifenReflection said...

WOW, that is amazing. I haven't been to Colorado since I was child.

Lowell said...

That was quite a trip! Thank you for sharing these beautiful photos. And thank you for your comment on Lowell's Photos. Our eldest daughter lives at 9000 feet between Canon City and Salida - near a little town called Cotopaxi. When we've visited there, we brought our golden retriever and took her everywhere, including on a train ride out of Leadville! I love the state and all it has to offer, but I prefer staying at lower elevations (I do not like heights!).

Thanks again and best wishes. Hope to hear from you again.

Su-sieee! Mac said...

Wow oh wow! I want to take that drive through stunning beauty.

Ruth Rieckehoff said...

The scenery is so varied! That wrong turn ended up being an excellent mistake. Oh Colorado, how I would love to see you!

bettyl-NZ said...

This post has some fascinating scenery! I love the church steeple and the old mill. Here in New Zealand there are many, many places where you have to wait for traffic coming the other way, so I feel for ya!

Sharon said...

All that snow! What a lovely drive. We recently visited Lake Tahoe and the mountains were still covered with snow. I love this time of year, before the snow melts in the summer.

Wandering Wren said...

Computers !!! I am so impressed with your photos Pat from a moving car, one way to take your mind off the hair -raising ride?!
Good to have you back.
Wren x

NatureFootstep said...

Amazing trip and great shots. Thanks for sharing.

At Rivercrest Cottage said...

Thanks for all the beautiful photos! We just returned from California and went over the Sierra Mountains into Nevada, and we were amazed at all the snow almost to Reno.

Light and Voices said...

Glad you were able to use Picassa in your new computer. Photographs are splendid as were the sights. Colorado is just so majestic and beautiful!

Spare Parts and Pics said...

Gorgeous mountain scenery and amazing views! Thanks for taking us along on your trip, and looking forward to Part 2!

Lady Fi said...

What gorgeous scenery!

Esha said...

Your mountain shots were so so beautiful. I could have almost been traveling down that road with that awesome mountain view going along. Your post is fab and I must mention that I really liked the John Muir quote too. Happy weekend to you! :-)

The Gathering Place said...

Beautiful! We once spend a weekend in Colorado Springs and my sister lived in Glenwood Springs, so I know it is beautiful there. We need to visit that stunning area again. Those mountain roads can still take my breath away (literally!

Lowcarb team member said...

Oh Pat, your photos are lovely.
I always like seeing mountains and your photographs show them so well.
What a trip.
Looking forward to Part Two!

All the best Jan

Ida said...

Wow that was quite a drive. So many beautiful scenic views. It was a pleasure to go along on your journey here.

Rambling Woods said...

Wow...I would not want that drive in bad weather.... I went from PC to MAC and also ended up searching for the photo editor that I also use and found it....Why Google dropped it is beyond me....I love John Muir's writings and I am reading some essays of his..Michelle