It’s probably less than a dozen miles from our home but as we are already compelled to pull over and take in the view. To our delight the day is just brimming with promise.
The road beckons, taking us across the continental divide via Independence Pass.
Please Click on a Photo to Enlarge
A fairly scary road if ever there was one.
The newly installed guard rails do help somewhat.
But the views are simply breathtaking, especially on a day such as this.
Every Autumn there is one weekend when the aspens peak – and this is it!
The colorful kaleidoscope accompanies us all along our way, until we eventually leave the aspens behind as we top 11,000 feet or so.
As we pop out of the trees we are rewarded with a slew of absolutely spectacular views.
Until finally the hut comes into view.
Our group has already assembled.
We join them on the deck for an impromptu bite to eat.
And then set off on a hike.
The hut sits right on the treeline and as we head straight up the adjoining hill it feels as though we are heading to the very top of the world.
Once we reach the top we catch our breath, pose for a picture or two, then set about trying to take in the magnificent beauty of the scene that presents itself.
Just before dusk I head back up the hill by myself to enjoy a little splendid solitude and take in what proved to be one of the most spectacular and dramatic sunsets of my life.
At times like these words simply fail me.
Twilight seemed to last forever.
The shadows rolled over the landscape with a grace and beauty that held me spellbound.
The Rocky Mountains had never appeared so majestic.
And I can honestly say I have never, ever felt so glad (and grateful) to be alive!
I was utterly lost in a moment whereby the world around me seemed suspended in harmonic balance.
Where the mountains mimicked snow, and snow returned the favor by reflecting the mood of the mountains.
As the sun dipped lower and lower the shadows grew more and more dramatic, the colors taking on an almost otherworldly hue.
Although I didn’t know it at the time this oddly spherical hill, with its mysterious pair of buildings, would be the object of the next day’s hike.
But to be honest I was simply mesmerized by the splendor of it all and didn’t know which way to turn for fear of missing a second of this utterly magnificent show of nature.
Incredible vistas presented themselves at every turn.
However, the sun finally bid its protracted adue.
Seemingly with reluctance it finally dipped below the jagged horizon.
Until it was finally… gone.
But there was one final surprise in store as the famous ‘Holy Cross’ that lends its name to this particular range of mountains within the Elk Range came vividly into view as the back-light receded.
And so it was with great reluctance that I traced my way back down to the hut, lingering all along the way to marvel at the sheer beauty of it all.
But I was up before the dawn and decided on the spot to climb the beautiful looking hill from which the sun would peek out a few moments after I snapped this photo.
However, before we could hike we needed a plate or two of flapjacks to fuel our way.
Flapjacks, fruit, home-made plum preserve, Greek yogurt, honey. Hhhhnnnnnmmmmmn, delish!!!!!!!
After breakfast we discovered to our delight that the clouds had decided to put on a bit of a show.
So we took our places on the deck and watched them sail by.
This one was my favorite – and Kris’s too.
Once we reached the top of ‘Sunrise Hill’ to our delight we found we had the perfect view of the previous evening’s twilight extravaganza.
Those little square bumps turned out to be strange little cabins.
So I couldn’t resist posing for one final photo.
Happy as a lark, but sad to be leaving such an amazing place.
Vowing to return sooner rather than later Kris and I headed back down the slope, retraced our path across the continental divide, and were back home well before dark. A more perfect couple of days it would be difficult to imagine!
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The 10th Mountain Fowler-Hilliard Hut Video
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