Maybe breakfasts are my thing, but today started with another triumph in the form of a mushroom and kale omelette (this time the making of Little Nell). All set for a day of exploring the Aspen area, we drove about half an hour up to Independence Pass. On route I saw paragliders landing after an early morning glide around the East of Aspen trail, and also noticed the Aspen trees becoming more and more yellow, until I was surrounded by golden landscape – with the fall foliage looking this spectacular, I could see why this was such a good paragliding spot.
People often talk about places being like a ghost town, well, I actually ended up at one. A deserted old silver mining town from the 1980’s, Independence Ghost Town is made up of narrow, winding streets lined with wood cabins and sits right between two huge mountains. Empty and eerily quiet, it was as if everyone had upped and left yesterday. From this silent haunt, my next stop was Red Mountain, which offered a different kind of quiet, with the affluent serenity of life behind hidden mansion gates. It has incredible views down to Aspen town, and public trails that access Hunter Creek Valley and beyond. I stopped in the town for a bite to eat at a little café, before making my way back to Maroon Bells (this time by bus from Aspen Highlands, as you can’t access the bells by car after 8am) where I kept an eye out for roaming moose and chipmunks, which are just some of the wildlife to frequent the area. It was a beautiful afternoon to explore the trails around the Maroon Bells; great fodder for anyone carrying a camera, so I was in my element.
My final evening was spent at a hip Italian restaurant called L’Hostaria, which had a steady flow of hungry locals coming to feast on fresh pasta and delicious wines. Outside, it was a perfect late summer evening and the streets of downtown Aspen were full of people soaking it all up, as they made their way to different bars and eateries. I thought of the bears lolloping through the lush green mountains all around us and hoped they’d found themselves a dinner that was a satisfactory as mine. It was the perfect evening to reflect on my adventures in Aspen Snowmass.