I've posted the highlight photos with captians on MySpace. If anyone wants to see them & you don't know how to get me on MySpace, click the link to the left, under 'good vibrations.'
The flight to CO was long (9 hrs in air) but clear & smooth the whole way. Pops only had to dodge a bit of rain showers once we were about to land in Leadville. We landed there a) because my father likes it & b) because the elevation is above 10,000' in town & it's a good place to acclimate if you're going to be hiking & c) it's still the highest airport in N.Am. at 9,927'. We stayed there a couple days before flying to Aspen to catch the bus up to Maroon Lake where we started the hike.
Pops & I planned on hiking 4-5 days across the 4-pass. We ended up spending 6 nights, 7 days. It was snow packed, especially on the N-face peaks, which is what we crossed for the 1st 2 passes, Maroon Peak & Frigid Air Pass. After sliding down 100' by steping in some soft snow, Pops sprained his ankle on the rock that stopped him. After going over the 2nd pass & realizing that the next 2 would have just as much snow, we decided to re-route. Due to high, High waters (we're talking raging whitewater in many places, some we crossed, some we didn't dare) we had to re-route a couple times. Our 2nd re-route was to cross under Genevea falls, about a 5' across gorge that angles down forever, one of the white-water havens. The current was way too swift & our doom too much to recover, so we sat around enjoying the scene, watching a mule deer that felt comfortable enough with us to lay down, moved a log to attempt another bridge. It wasn't going to work, so we headed back to where we came from. The plan-to go up the Cliff Trail above Genevea lake, cross there (less swift, hopefully & probably not less cold) & hope that there weren't too many patches of icy slope like we encountered prior. Most of the hike was on the S-side so we were good. Any snow that we encountered, we could handle & for the most part the trail was easy enough to find, as opposed to our 3'-10' patches of hope after hours of being off trail prior. After the Cliff Trail we took a Jeep road from hell, continuous up-climb for miles! On the 7th day, we ended up coming out in Marble & hitched a ride to Carbondale to be able to catch the bus back to Aspen, where the plane was parked. The folks that gave us a ride (Micheal & Lisa) own a store in Redstone & just moved here a year ago from Tuson, AZ. They gave us the "tour" about Marble & Redstone, both of which are tiny towns but interesting nontheless.
Upon our return to Aspen we stopped by the White River Forestry station to tell them about our time up there. Shoot! I still need to send photos to them too. Carla, a really super fly rescue lady there gave us high fives for breaking the trail to & over the 2nd pass (she also said we were lucky). She also wanted to know every detail about the trail conditions as this was a record snowfall year & folks are calling them all day about trail conditions.
I just returned last night from CO & house shopping in Nederland. I put a bid in on a house, but with this new counter-offer I think I should just walk away from the beauty that it is (I don't want to scrape to be able to visit NC). I also looked at near a dozen of other homes & I have a feel for the neighborhoods, so looking over the Internet will be easier. I'm under contract with the Realter until Sept. so she'll be at my beck-&-call until then too, at least. Wish me luck!