I have to say that I under estimated how ambitious this 4 day hiking trip was going to be. I mean look at that photo which seems to be right out of the Sound of Music… how hard could it be? After months of training which included running, hiking, and weight training surely we could walk 29 miles spread out over 4 days. And we did, but not without putting forth some serious effort as we climbed 4 different mountain passes that are close to 13,000 feet.
The day before we found an Airbnb in nearby Carbondale and made our way to Aspen to the trail head you see above. Right from the start the scenery is absolutely beautiful as you quickly climb from 8,100 feet and head towards Snowmass Lake at 11,000. Getting there is easier said than done as the route from Aspen is about 9 miles long and is extremely rocky and uneven with nearly 4,000 feet of elevation gain. By the time we reached our camp site near Snowmass Lake we were ready to call it a day.
For the adventurous backpacker looking to get to the back country in Colorado, the stunning beauty of the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness is hard to beat. In the photo above we had left our campsite and started to climb towards one of four mountain passes we had to traverse. It seemed one step after another gave us yet another spectacular scene. The Maroon Bells are some of the most photographed mountains in North America and it is easy to see why. Once you get above Snowmass Lake with the Snowmass Peak in the back ground you come to appreciate the beauty God has blessed us with. I am writing this on Thanksgiving day and it reminds me of exactly what I should give thanks for. To be able to hike this with two of my kids is really amazing and not something many of us get to do.
I believe this shot was taken as we crossed the Frigidaire Pass. We took the time to have lunch here and rest after climbing over the 12,700 mountain. The terrain looks pretty benign as we sit here resting but getting over the top of these peaks is easier said that done as us “flat landers” take a while to condition ourselves to this altitude.
While our son is an avid hiker and outdoorsman this was our daughters first attempt at a hike of this nature. She did great and really enjoyed this amazing trip. I believe she is hooked and is looking forward to our next adventure.