Outdoor Movies in Basalt

What a great new community event! The Basalt Chamber has lined up summer movies in the Park every second Saturday. This Saturday kicked off the series with the Princess Bride. Lots of people enjoyed the movie and the community gathering together under the moon and stars.

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July 4th in Aspen

July 4th is always so much fun in Aspen. We volunteered to help with the annual Aspen Valley Ski Club barbeque fundraiser in Koch Park – what a great view of Aspen Mountain!2016-07-04 13.15.53

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One of the best things about living in Aspen is that we have a great little airport. Although small it is our gateway to the wider world. I have been neglecting this blog as since winter I have been traveling! On returning from Costa Rica Aspen Highlands was open for the weekend so I hiked the Highlands Bowl and showed friends at the top photos of swimming off an island 2 days prior… Aspen Mountain was open for skiing Memorial Day weekend so got some turns in after returning from Australia and Mexico but missed the skiing on the last open weekend as we were off to Europe. Great to see friends and family…. we truly are fortunate to have the best of all options from here. Remember to check out the real estate pages on this blog or simply contact me if you want to know more about property here 🙂

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West Snowmass Creek Trail

FINALLY I started my long-standing quest to hike West Snowmass Creek Trail. This trail links Snowmass Lake trail and Capitol Lake trail, so I see the trail signs every time I hike those trails and have long wanted to do that link. But it is not a closed loop and the two trailheads are not close together, so to do the whole trail would require a car at both ends. Given the steepness of the Capitol trailhead access road this has been a sticking point to date. This year I had the bright idea of doing this in two halves; firstly from the Snowmass Lake side, then later (on another day) doing the Capitol Lake side of the link, with the goal of getting to wherever I got to from the other side, thus doing the whole trail in two separate attempts. Yesterday I decided to start from the Snowmass Lake trail (25 minutes from Basalt) and see how far I could get. It is hunting season so I wore bright orange and I was very glad I did! I saw two hunting groups and one gunshot was fired quite close by.

The beginning of the trail is a stream crossing about 45 minutes from the Snowmass Lake trailhead – VERY cold water! I got to about 2 hours in past here; some places are quite steep, and some are a really pleasant walk through pine and aspen forests and pretty meadows. Hiking poles are handy for the small waterfall and brook crossings. There is a fork in the trail about 1.5 hours in, where going left would take you to a small lake or pond at the top of the creek; the right fork goes above this meadow towards Haystack. At this point I realised that the trail probably goes around Haystack to my right rather than going between Haystack and Mt. Daly. This top meadow in the last photo below where you get a great view of Mt. Daly (right) was my turnaround point for the day. Next time I will start from the other side and see if I get to this meadow 🙂

beginning of West Snowmass Creek trailaspens on West Snowmass creek trailMt Daly from west snowmass creek trail

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Crested Butte 2015

Wildflowers en route to crested butteThe rain all May had me thinking that this would be the best wildflower year EVER! So I really wanted to do the Crested Butte hike around the beginning of August but couldn’t make it until yesterday…… turned out to be perfect timing!!!! I have never seen the flowers like this before. It turned into an eight hour hike with nearly 200 photos along the way (normally it is a 6 to 6.5 hour hike for me over West Maroon Pass starting at the Maroon Bells trailhead – I am not a particularly fast hiker!). My daughter couldn’t come and I was sad for her to miss this amazing display of stunning beauty but I did make a Shutterfly book 🙂 It was Todd’s first CB hike and I told him he truly got the best of it!wildfloers - crested butte hike

Wildflowers on the Crested Butte hikeWildflowers on West Maroon Pass

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Eagle – Thomasville road

Past Thomasville, which is at the far end of Ruedi Reservoir, about 25 pretty miles from Basalt, there is a sign that says the road goes to Eagle. Once, from Eagle, I went to Sylvan Lake and all my instincts told me that this road should connect Sylvan Lake to Thomasville. Ever since, I have really wanted to do this drive so today was the day! When we got there in Todd’s Subaru 2WD we saw a sign that warned the road is impassable when wet. A bit nervously we looked at the clouds which definitely had rain in them but decided to chance it. So glad we did…. the weather held and the scenery was absolutely spectacular. I realised we were on the other side of the mountain range that you see when you drive from Leadville to Minturn. From one spot we could see that whole mountain range through to Mt Elbert by Twin Lakes I believe – photo below. And sure enough we did come out at Sylvan Lake 🙂 🙂 🙂 From there we went to Gypsum then back via I70  to Glenwood Springs but we could have gone over our local Cottonwood Pass back of Gypsum (also not a good idea when wet) to Basalt. A later plan is to go from Basalt to Thomasville to Eagle to Minturn on US 6 then Leadville -Twin Lakes – Independence Pass – Aspen -Basalt. Or Leadville – Hagerman Pass (with my Jeep) – Basalt. There is soooo much to do around here – I love that I am always finding new adventures so close to home!

Eagle - thomasville roadsettlers cabin near Sylvan Lake

aspens eagle-thomasville

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Blue Mesa and Kebler-Ohio Passes

Blue Mesa at sunset

Blue Mesa is a large reservoir past Gunnison on the way to Montrose. I hadn’t really thought of it as a water-skiing alternative to our local Ruedi (30 minutes from Basalt) or the staple Lake Powell (5 hours from Basalt) but if you drive over Kebler Pass then turn onto Ohio Pass about 7 miles before reaching Crested Butte it is only 2.5 hours from Basalt which is ok for a weekend trip. And the drive is spectacular! So I was lucky enough to manage three water-skiing trips to Blue Mesa this year and hope to return next summer. Here are some photos of the lake and the drive taken in September and early October.

Castle like mountain seen on Ohio Pass roadKebler Pass in FallKebler pass fall coloursOhio Pass fall colours

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Castle Creek Fall 2015

This year due to all the spring rain in May the fall colours were not quite as spectacular as last year. But they were still good! Here are some photos I took in September on the 20th and the 26th on the Castle Creek road just outside of Aspen.fall up Castle Creekfall castle creekfrom Little Annies trailLittle Annies trail

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The Grottos by Aspen

The Grottos are right on Highway 82 as you go over Independence Pass. You can park at the day use area where there are some picnic tables (and restrooms) then walk around over the usual rock formations which look sort of like the rocks melted – unique to this place – and sit by the Cascade waterfall. The Roaring Fork river comes down through here on its way to Aspen about 15 minutes drive away. I took two of these pictures in June with exceptionally high runoff – very spectacular, and then the other two in September – calm and peaceful…

Grottos in JuneGrottos cascades in JuneGrottos in SeptemberRoaring Fork at Grottos

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Capitol Lake and Capitol Pass

Last year when I hiked past Capitol Lake to Capitol Pass I made a promise to myself to do it again this year. So today was the day! The weather was perfect and I made it to the trailhead by 9:45am to give myself enough time without feeling rushed. The steep part of the road to the trailhead was quite rutted this year so I put my Jeep into 4 Lo for the first time on this road. That made it much easier. I was very surprised to see a Prius at the trailhead! By now there were not many wildflowers left and the wild raspberries were all gone but it was soooooooo pretty! I only saw one other person and not until I got to the lake. Then we watched two groups descending from the knife-edge ridge that leads to Capitol Peak. I went ahead to the Pass which was every bit as stunning as I remembered. This whole hike always makes me think of my Grandma’s favourite hymn “How Great Thou Art”. The scale is of such grandeur it is literally breathtaking. This year I went a little bit further down the steep descent hoping to find a connection to the trail that leads to K2 but decided to turn around after 5 minutes due to how steep it was. I arrived back at the trailhead at 5pm – 6 hours round trip to the Lake with an extra hour to the Pass and back – perfect 🙂 The last photo below looking back at the Lake from the Pass shows Mt. Daly in the middle of the picture.

Capitol Peak seen from the Ditch TrailCapitol Lake looking towards Capitol PassFrom Capitol Pass looking back at Capitol Lake

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