After a long weekend exploring the Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs, hiking to the incomparably beautiful Hanging Lake, soaking in the natural hot springs of Glenwood Springs and hiking around Aspen, Amy and I were ready to spend a relaxing week in Boulder before our next adventures would begin a few days later.
On our drive back east from Aspen, we wanted to take a road other than I-70 to see some new sights and take more of a back road route home. Without realizing it, we were on the road that would take us across the Continental Divide via Independence Pass — a 12,095 foot elevation.
According to my trusty pal Wikipedia, this road (US-82) is “the highest elevation of a paved Colorado state highway on a through road, the second-highest pass with an improved road in the state, the fourth-highest paved road in the state and the highest paved crossing of the Continental Divide in the United States.” OH OKAY. And we found it by accident. Colorado is just full of damn surprises.
While in Aspen we had been surrounded by a steamy day with hot hot temps and the occasional sun shower, at the Continental Divide we were met with crisp blue skies, a temperature in the 40s and snow… SO MUCH SNOW. And in June!
“Occasionally I have come across a last patch of snow on top of a mountain in late May or June. There’s something very powerful about finding snow in summer.”
–Andy Goldsworthy, British sculptor, photographer and environmentalist
It was blustery up at 12,000 feet, and there were people paragliding (I think that’s what this is called…) with snowboards along the little slopes! It was so cute. Good for them. Those people were living their lives.
After making our way down the aspen tree-filled, breathtaking eastern side of the Divide, we reached the tiny little town on Twin Lakes, where we got some snacks and soaked in the views before heading back to the Denver ‘burbs. Just like in Aspen, my photos could never do the place justice, but take a look at some of these pictures for a taste of what it was really like.
Have you ever been to the Continental Divide — in Colorado or elsewhere?