Fall Color: Leadville to Aspen

After getting the Jeep running midday on Saturday, I loaded up Sprocket and we hit the road. We stopped briefly in Glenwood Springs to stretch a bit before pushing on to Minturn and the trailhead.

Glenwood Springs

My vague plan was to hike Holy Cross but when the alarm went off at the trailhead on Sunday morning, I really just wasn’t feeling it. The weather was gorgeous, the leaves were amazing but I had no motivation to push myself at all.

What was in order was a day of epic leaf peeping.

Half Moon Pass Trail

I still wanted to be sure I got a hike or two in so since we were camped at a trail, we hiked it! The hike up to Half Moon Pass was a super enjoyable way to spend the first part of our morning in a super non-hurried fashion. I stopped at the top of the pass to enjoy the views and soak in the sunshine.

Half Moon Pass

Half Moon Pass

Selfie

Half Moon Pass

Holy Cross

The drive back down to the highway was astoundingly beautiful. I’d gotten glimpses of aspens above I-70 on the drive east but after dinner at the Minturn Saloon, it was dark before I drove to the trailhead so I had missed the brilliant colors on the way up.

Tigiwan Road

Tigiwan Road

FSJ Tigiwan Road

Since we had all day to explore, I turned south towards Leadville instead of going home via I-70. I stopped to check out the site of Camp Hale, the home of the 10th Mountain Division. I knew a little bit about the 10th Mountain Division but reading some of the signs at the historic site and at the memorial located at the top of Tennessee Pass reminded me of some things I’d learned watching Ken Burns’ “The War” several years ago. My grandfather loved history, especially World War II history, and to travel—I couldn’t help but think of him and how much he would have loved this interesting piece of history!

Camp Hale

FSJ at 10th Mountain Division Memorial

We poked around Leadville for a bit, checking out antique stores and enjoying a hot apple cider from City on A Hill Coffee. (Yes, Sprocket walks around antique stores with me.) After a bit, we continued on over Independence Pass. It looked a little different from when we were there in June!

Independence Pass

The weekend felt really short because I was so embroiled in getting the Jeep running again but I’m so glad that Sprocket and I got out to enjoy the fall weather! You never know this time of year when the snow will start to fly!

Wedding, Part 21: Impromptu Honeymoon

Headed out of Challis, we turned onto Morgan Creek Road headed for Shoup. We took our time on the gravel leading to taking pictures, looking at cabins, looking at animals, and enjoying the beautiful fall color.

F remembered “a little hole in the wall bar” downriver so we set out to see if it was still there. Eventually, we found it: the M-T Saddle Saloon. A couple of beers sounded like a really good plan so we walked inside and ordered ourselves a round. We sat down on some lawn chairs just off the porch and, as it usually goes, it took a bit for the patrons already on the porch to warm up to us. As they slowly did, we were bought a round of drinks (or two) as congratulations for our wedding.

It cooled off and I started to get sorta hungry. See, we’d been planning on going back up river to a restaurant to get dinner but instead we were having too much fun. We asked the bartender if they had a microwave we might use and provided our own burritos…he provided us with some chips and salsa to go with it.

As we ate, they encouraged us to stick around for the next night. Saturday night at the M-T Saddle is apparently potluck night. The proprietor whips up a big pot of chili and everyone contributes something. We weren’t really sure what our plans were so we tried not to commit one way or the other. Mike let us sleep in the van right outside the bar.

In the morning, we drove down river to the end of the road and dreamed about rafting “The River of No Return” someday. We stopped along the river so Sprocket could demonstrate his amazing jumping skills—we were duly impressed.

After the swimming, we checked out a new bridge over the Salmon. It lead to a hiking trail and we unexpectedly found ourselves on a 7 mile hike with over 2,600′ elevation gain. I was whiny and hungry pretty much the whole way but the view at the top was pretty awesome.

After our hike, we ate mostly unfrozen burritos and washed our feet in the river before heading back to the M-T Saddle for their potluck dinner. Everything was delicious and we were happy to relax for a couple of hours. Just before dark, we decided to press on upriver a bit to get a jump on our drive home the next day. F was also hoping for a milkshake dessert at the Shoup General Store but they were closed when we drove by. We made camp just a couple miles east of Shoup.

In the morning, we crossed over Lost Horse Pass and headed for home.

And thus ends, my internet friends, the wonderful 3Up Adventure wedding trip. We had a wedding completely filled with love, lots of playing in the desert, and even managed to get some adventure in on the way back home. Perfect trip.

A Vagabond Song

Tamaraks at the cabin

A Vagabond Song
by Bliss Carman

There is something in the autumn that is native to my blood—
Touch of manner, hint of mood;
And my heart is like a rhyme,
With the yellow and the purple and the crimson keeping time.

The scarlet of the maples can shake me like a cry
Of bugles going by.
And my lonely spirit thrills
To see the frosty asters like a smoke upon the hills.

There is something in October sets the gypsy blood astir;
We must rise and follow her,
When from every hill of flame
She calls and calls each vagabond by name.

Wedding, Part 1: Departure

I had planned on working Monday and then a half day on Tuesday before the wedding but things sort of fell apart when, on Monday morning, the office manager asked me if I was working a half day and then hitting the road. Right there my motivation to be in the office drained away. Since I’d sort of been given permission (I mean, she had suggested it, right?) I called F and told him I’d be home by 3 and we could go.

So happy we have a van for all this stuff

When I got home, he had the van all ready to go. We put the hitch on the front of the jeep, hooked it up, put the bike on the back of the jeep, and hit the road.

Adventure train

We made a stop in Missoula to hit up Costco, Walmart, and Albertsons for the fresh ingredients and food for the week. The Costco Polish dogs for dinner hit the spot! It felt really good to get back on I-90 and feel like we were on our way “for real.” Monday night we made it to the truck stop in Butte, filled up both the van and the jeep, and crawled into our cozy Sprinter bed.

Sunrise over the Continental Divide

Tuesday morning we were up way before the sun and it started to crest the mountains just as we were passing (back) into Idaho. We made good time down to Salt Lake, fueled up and grabbed lunch at In-N-Out. The haze we’d driven in through most of Montana and Idaho seemed to still be surrounding us but we hoped that in the next few hundred miles it would dissipate. As we descended into Price we were disappointed to note that the haze was still following us. Reaching I-70 I was elated to be almost there but really sad to note that we could barely see the La Sals.

Fall color along Highway 6
Coal seam on Highway 6 descending into Price, UT
Highway 191 heading towards Moab

Once we arrived in Moab though, the smoke didn’t matter at all—it felt so good to finally be there! We drove to Danette’s house where we washed the van and the jeep and just finished as she and Robin pulled into the driveway. We got to catch up and discuss our plans for the wedding and relax with a beer or two before heading to bed.