We climbed our highest peak today!
Before that though, we stayed the night at Twin Lakes, CO. It was a town of about 20-some full timers and perhaps 130-some partial residents. The town itself was exuberantly friendly and one of the few small towns I’ve come through and thought: “I could live here”. The collegiate peaks were right down the road, Mt. Elbert was in their backyard and we were surrounded on all sides by other peaks. The highlight of the stay was the stars. Travis and I sat by the lake for about an hour watching the stars and discussing space in general.
After the stargazing, I braved the 40 degree weather and slept outside. I was entirely out of my element coming from Florida. By 3am I woke up shivering and unable to go back to sleep for a few minutes. I was able to see the Milky Way and be blinded by the stars before I finally went back to sleep.
5am wake up and it was time to ride.
Independence pass has an elevation of 12,000 feet. We started at about 9000 feet in the town of Twin Lakes at the base and it was a beautiful climb the entire way. The ride to the peak was about 20 miles and it was entirely gradual and an even slope; probably my favorite climb thus far and most importantly not the hardest. I’ve never enjoyed climbing a mountain so much.
I was the third rider to the top and every rider waited around for the last riders to make it to the top, cheering on every single person that rode up, even the riders that weren’t bike and build. At around 11am, all the riders were on top. We had a dance party, took group pictures and just cheered until we had no one left to cheer for.
After the summit, we rode down this amazing descent. Along the way we stopped at a grotto that had a glacier inside. It was referred to as an ice cave. It was amazing but it could not compare to our next stop, Devils Punch Bowl. It was this tiny swimming hole that had surrounding cliffs that we inevitably jumped off of. The jump itself wasn’t too high, Alabama had much better cliff jumping, and the thing that really got to us was the cold water. It literally took our breath away. The water was apparently snow run off that stays just that cold year round.
After a single jump, I couldn’t do anymore and started to bike down. The final descent was just as gorgeous as the ride before. Mountainside trees, waterfalls, and just amazing landscapes. I rolled into Aspen, found a coffee shop and really just relaxed and napped there for a few hours before we could get into the host. Aspen is an amazing town, it’s just quite pricey. Bikes are everywhere. Everyone is super active and it’s just a beautiful landscape.
Colorado is definitely my favorite state so far.