I woke up from my nap today. Waking up is a good thing. Consider if sleep were not reversible.
It’s been raining in Anchorage — and I mean biblical rain — since we returned from Aspen. It feels weird to experience so much water you begin to fear it. Not a serious fear mind you, like something you don’t understand or think you can’t predict, for instance coming face to face with a grizzly bear. No, this feels more like a rational fear based in respect. Ordinarily water is good, life giving, refreshing, etc. But when’s there so much of it the rivers and streams rise and water carries people and property away. That’s kinda scary.
Speaking of bears — in Aspen the local bears saunter into town to sleep in trees. I’ve seen bears in Alaska climb trees, for sure, even had one of my Airedales tree a bear years ago, but I don’t think bears sleep in trees in Alaska.
Aspen Momma bear and three clubs sleeping in:
Day one of riding we cycled from Aspen up to a place called Maroon Bells. The Bells were shrouded in clouds but the lake was beautiful, and while there we spotted a bull moose enjoying a drink at the far end of the lake.
We descended from Maroon Bells, but instead of returning to Aspen we turned and climbed up to Castle Creek. A mere 1600′ (or so), but it felt harder than that, probably because it was day one and the climb to Maroon Bells had been equal in elevation. Pictured: Me and Happy Wife with our friends Dave ‘n Cindy. Dave had recently completed a cross country mountain bike adventure from Laramie, WY to Chama, NM. Hard to believe he’s in his sixties. After a bite to eat at the sag wagon, we descended back down the same road we’d climbed to Aspen, a road with three week old asphalt. Unless you’re a road biker, you can’t appreciate how sweet that was. I spotted a coyote on the descent.
Day two most of us climbed up to Independence Pass, the continental divide (12,095′). If you ask me that was a very challenging 4200′ of climbing over 20 miles.
Day three we enjoyed a morning descent from Aspen to the town of Basalt, CO. From there we climbed up to the Ruedi Reservoir. I got caught up in a pretty fast pace line with five other riders but fell off the back about three miles from the summit unable to sustain their pace. The last mile or two was pretty steep, but nowhere near as hard or long as Independence Pass. Another beautiful day in any case.
Day four we intended to cycle up to Snowmass, CO for breakfast, about twenty miles from Aspen, but Owl Creek road was closed by the Sheriff. They told us it was for a “medical emergency”, but it turns out some nut with a gun was hold up in a house threatening to shoot passersby. The standoff lasted hours before he finally surrendered to police. I opted to cycle back to Aspen, meet up with the Happy Wife and leisurely pedal about town. We stopped at a sanctuary devoted to John Denver, located on a piece of property he had purchased years ago before his death, intending to conserve it. Happy Wife got weepy reading the lyrics in stone.
Paragliders were a frequent site over Aspen.
The next day we packed up and drove to Longmont (north of Denver) to hang at Dave ‘n Cindy’s house for a few days before returning to the Greatland. Gracious hosts they were. While there, we drove to Estes Park and visited Rocky Mountain National Park, where Elk were easily seen, and the next day Happy Wife went Kayaking with Dave on a lake nearby their house.
What vacation should be.