Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Days 5 & 6: Hanging Lake and the Independence Pass

As I mentioned in the last post, the bartender at Sammy's was very helpful in planning the next leg of my trip.  He told me about a great spot called Hanging Lake, which is right outside of Glenwood Springs, CO.  He highly recommended that I get there early due to large crowds, so I took his word for it, and was up, packed, and in the car headed east by 0500.  The park was about an hour from Rifle, and the drive there was beautiful.  I was the first one in the parking lot, grabbed my walking sticks and headed to the trailhead.  The trail was actually pretty short, maybe a mile and a half to two miles, but it was a tough climb...but totally worth it.  When I got to the top of the trail, I had free reign for 45 minutes to take as many pictures as I could without trying to work around other people.

My attempt to take a picture of myself up there, haha.

This is called Sprouting Rock!

As I started to head back down the trail, the first person was arriving at the lake...perfect timing, because there was a stream of people heading up!  I got back down to my car and hopped in to head to Aspen.  Once I got into the town, I stopped at the local ranger station to ask some questions about camping.  They recommended driving up the Independence Pass and finding a spot along there.  I bought a map from them and hit the road, headed for the Lost Man Trailhead in White River National Park.  This was the only night I didn't have to pay for a camp spot, so that was a bonus!  I just parked at the trailhead and threw my stuff in my pack and hiked in to find a camp spot.  Because I was carrying more stuff than usual, unfortunately I decided not to take my good camera with me.  Luckily, I was able to get some pictures with my phone.
Yes, I'm pretty much an eagle scout now...or the girl version of that...I started my own fire!

The campsite was so peaceful.  It was near the reservoir and only 200 feet from the trail, but I didn't see anyone after 8pm.  When I woke up the next morning, I drove up to Leadville...more on that tomorrow!


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