A beautiful sunny day and the road is calling our name! Off on an adventure.
We picked up a Subway sandwich in Salida and made the turn toward Buena Vista. In Buena Vista we stopped and enjoyed a chat with Jeff who owns Arkansas River Rim Campground. We have stayed with him on several previous occasions and Brady and he enjoyed catching up. He has a great place, just higher in elevation than we wanted to camp this time. As you drive along 285/24 from Salida to Leadville you have awesome views of some of the Sawatch Range known as the Collegiate Peaks, some of the highest mountains in the Rockies. The section is so named because several of the mountains are named for prominent universities. Nine of the peaks exceed 14,000 ft and several others nearly are that tall. After reaching Leadville, the highest elevation of any incorporated city in the United States, we took US 91 past the Climax Mine and on through some amazing views to Copper Mountain and I70, where we turned around and headed back.
We just couldn’t miss making the Independence Pass drive. It’s just indescribable. The pass is at an elevation of 12,095 ft and is the second highest paved crossing of the Continental Divide in the U.S. With the beautiful weather we had excellent views. including Mount Elbert to the east, Colorado’s highest peak and the second-highest mountain in the contiguous United States. We took a fun stop just below the tree line where a stream meanders through a little valley and beavers have been hard at work. We noted a couple of places along the road where heavy winter snowmelt had caused avalanches taking out a large number of trees in their path.
A long day and so many more places we could have visited, but not this time.