“Do you want to go to Maroon Bells next weekend?”
“Google it.” (<— click that link)
Last Saturday my friend (Katie) and I went on a quick trip to Maroon Bells and it was one of the most amazing things ever.
Katie and I left Denver at about 8:30 on Saturday morning. The drive from Denver to Aspen was beyond beautiful. We were those cool kids that stopped at almost every scenic overlook to take pictures. I think I spent 87% of the drive with my mouth open drooling at all the scenery and thinking “Omg. I live here.”
Once we arrived in Aspen we learned that the campground we had planned to stay at were already full, but we decided to just deal with that information later. We grabbed a quick meal, met some friends, then headed to Aspen Highlands to catch the bus.
From mid-June to October 5, you can only drive up to Maroon Bells 5:00pm-8:00am (info here). This information threw us a little off guard and forced us to change our plans a little bit and shorten our hike.
Clearly we didn’t have everything super planned out, but we went with the flow and everything worked out fine.
The bus from Aspen Highlands to Maroon Bells wasn’t just a transit bus, but rather a bus tour. The driver yelled at people for talking and told us facts like:
- It is mating season for moose, so they are more aggressive than normal. Don’t get too close to them, because they could attack you.
- People die all the time in the mountains, so be careful. Luckily the guy who fell off the mountain last month only broke his leg.
- Some weekends are busier than others here.
- Earlier today I saw a marmot sitting on that rock.
All very important things.
Then we arrived to Maroon Bells and it took my breath away.
Do you see why this is the most photographed mountain in North America?!
Katie, Mike, Bryan, and I started the hike from Maroon Bells to Crater Lake, which was about 2 hours round trip. The scenery was, surprise, gorgeous.
Mike and Bryan kept hiking, so Katie and I went back to Maroon Bells, took more pictures, and enjoyed a Busch Light by the lake.
We hung out in Aspen a bit before picking up the guys. At this point we still didn’t know where we would be sleeping for the night, because most of the nearby campsites were full. I thought we would end up sleeping in the car on the side of the road, but luckily Katie’s friends found a spot “6 miles from Difficult Campground on 82, a left at the fork, and 20 minutes down the gravel mountain road to campsite #16”.
It was easier to find that you would have thought.
We arrived to the campsite by about 10:30, enjoyed the campfire, some drinks, and a ridiculous view of the stars (that my little iPhone could not photograph). Then we all attempted to sleep in a tent in the mountains in about 20 degrees. It was not very successful.
Honestly, I’m surprised that I still have all of my toes. However, it was all totally worth it. It only took us about 20 minutes to pack up and hit the road back to Denver the next morning.
This was my first real trip to the mountains since moving to Denver. I am so in love and cannot wait to get back. Skiing season starts soon and I got my Epic Summit Value Pass in the mail, so now I just need to learn how to ski…