The Maroon Bells of Colorado
The weather did not look good for our time in Aspen (October 17-24), with rain on most days and thunderstorms on others. That’s the problem with travel during the off-season – had we come a couple of weeks earlier, we may have experienced better weather and definitely more of the bright yellow leaves on the trees. That being said, with the Aspen’s gorgeous white bark, they were quite impressive with no leaves at all.
We decided to head to Maroon Bells on our first day, since it was close and if things didn’t go well, we could always return on a drier day. Clouds covered most of the mountains and a stiff wind made any reflection in the water impossible, but the pictures we took had a gloomy, moody quality which I love about shooting in the almost-rain and we trudged along.
“A reflective lake and two giant snow-striped mountaintops, named Maroon Peak and North Maroon Peak, anchor a blissful panorama exemplified by a symphony of color that changes with the seasons.
Located just 10 miles west of Aspen or 16 from Snowmass up Maroon Creek Road off Hwy. 82 in a glacial valley, the 14,000-foot peaks (fourteeners) truly epitomize the beauty of the Rocky Mountains. Hiking trails provide access to plenty of photo-worthy scenes in the White River National Forest, including hypnotizing wildflower fields and fly-fishermen seeking catches in tranquil Maroon Lake.
More than 300 million years of geologic activity, including sedimentation, uplift and erosion by wind, water and ice, are credited to the creation of Maroon Valley. According to the US Forest Service, the mountains received their distinctive maroon coloring from the weathering of hematite, an iron-bearing mineral, while Maroon Lake occupies a basin that was sculpted by Ice-Age glaciers.” – READ MORE
Once the rain really started coming down, we called it a day and headed back to our home away from home for the week. We poured ourselves a cold one, sighed and turned on some HGTV. For all four of us, this trip would not be a run-ourselves-ragged trip to see everything we could – it was mostly about relaxing, de-stressing and enjoying each other’s company in some pretty beautiful surroundings. We had no problem wasting the afternoon catching up with a cocktail. We were so relaxed, we had our dinner delivered that first night (and another night as well).
As you can see by the pictures below, the area leading up to the lake was stunning and photo-worthy and you could tell it was only going to get better from there.
The second day, things were looking up, so we tried again. When we arrived the tops of the mountains were clear of clouds and there was the beautiful reflection on the water that we had hoped for! Thanks to Laurie for the beautiful picture of Jim and I (top), taken on our second visit in as many days. October weather is sometimes tricky and the snow-striped mountains behind as well as the reflections on the lake are what most people look for in a great picture of the Maroon Bells. Good thing we got pictures when we did, because by the time we left things had started to decline. We did take some time to hike up a couple of the trails and capture some of nature’s wonder in this fabulous place.
The trails were well-maintained and not too steep, but loaded with beauty. Not too many people were around during this off-season visit – another thing we like, but I’ll bet this is gorgeous in the warmer months when the wild flowers are in bloom.
Bear and moose are often seen around here, but of course we didn’t get that lucky. We did enjoy the peace and quiet though – and the fresh mountain air.
This was a great day. Stunning scenery and good friends in beautiful Colorado. We are already thinking ahead to our next trip to Colorado, whether it’s Aspen or not remains to be seen. Click here for plenty of hiking trails in and around Aspen.
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