Adventures ● Independence Pass, Colorado
Over the summer during my Western meanderings, I came across Independence Pass. I had to get from Point A to Point B, and I could tell the GPS was leading me somewhere crazy – hairpin turns up the wazoo, windy roads that never ended – I thought I was going to be entering another dimension. And then…I saw it. Carefully driving around the roadkill that had unfortunately met its demise before the first hairpin turn, I began on my journey up. And up. And up. And up. I thought I was already in the mountains, but I clearly knew nothing before ascending.
I came across a parking lot, and I pulled over. I was pulling over a lot on this trip, and it’s why it took me forever to get anywhere (as a side note, my original Point B turned out to be a total dud, so I had to cross back over this exact spot later in the day – only to go over it AGAIN the next day to get to the airport. I’m not very good with planning…)
I spent about two hours in the area – which is over 12,000 feet above sea level – and I was mesmerized. It was the middle of July, but there were large areas of snow covering the ground – I saw people snowboarding down hills. I was in a t-shirt, and both cold and hot. Did I mention the lack of air? Everything was super quiet and hazy.
Despite all the signs that said things like “don’t go off the marked trails!” I couldn’t help myself. C’mon, would you?? I decided to climb to the top of one of the less jagged mountains. It seemed so easy from the parking lot. That in itself took me about 45 minutes to climb (with all my camera gear). I got to the top, fell over and laid down for awhile, then enjoyed the view (such as looking down on pine trees from far above). As I was leaving I (almost) ran into a man who was walking up the hill, and going much higher and farther than I dared. It looked like he was going to walk along the mountain ridge forever when I left him.