It doesn’t always rain in Colorado, but it (almost) always rains when we go camping.
And this was no exception. We got to Aspen with enough time to set up our tent, drive into town to see what the deal was with Maroon Bells, stop at the market, and get back to the tent before it started pouring. I mean pouring. When it died down a little we went out and started a fire to get dinner cooked (onions, sausage, and peppers) and it was amazing after realizing we hadn’t eaten lunch that day. We ate just in time before the rain started again and went pretty much all night!
According to the weather we knew we had a few hours in the early morning to get a hike in at the Maroon Bells before the next round of storms. We got up around 5 am, and left the campground around 5:45 am. Chris was not into it, BUT on the way to the park we saw a bear running across the street in downtown Aspen! So cool! Neither of us had ever seen a bear before and I am SO happy we saw it from the safety of our car! I tried to convince him that cool things happen early in the morning, but I’m not so sure he is completely convinced 😉
We’ll tell you though, totally worth it. This has got to be one of the most beautiful places we’ve hiked, and we didn’t even get to see the full mountains! At first I was kind of bummed, but after realized all that fog was beyond beautiful and so cool the way it flowed in the valley and up around the bells. I wish we had more time to hike around because I could have spent days there.
Some suggestions I would make if thinking about going to see the Maroon Bells (which you should) are to get up super early and get there around 6 am. You basically have the park to yourself which is so refreshing when going up to a popular park. We did the Crater Lake trail because we didn’t have a whole lot of time; it was really nice and not too difficult of a hike. At least do this trail to the lake, but it will continue on (as do others) which I imagine to be gorgeous. We met some women who were hiking to Crested Butte from there, which if I had known was a thing, would have planned our trip a little longer (I imagine Chris exclaiming a sarcastic “shucks” right about now). I recommend at least a day of hanging out there though. We only had a few hours which was certainly not enough.
So for now, I’ve crossed this off my bucket list, but I’m contemplating putting it back on for a long term goal of getting back and seeing more 🙂 I don’t think I could ever get enough!