After Boulder, I spent several days in Aspen, Colorado. My only plans were to photograph the much-photographed, Maroon Bells and that is just what I did. I made five trips up to Maroon Lake from the town of Aspen and it was an adventure each time.
I had just arrived in Aspen and went straight up to Maroon Lake after eating lunch. It was icy and cold up there but the main thing was that I wasn’t acclimated to the high altitude. I was breathing heavy from just walking around the lake shore and sloshing through the snow trying not to slip on icy patches. After an hour and a half I had a big headache from the altitude so I decided to go back to my car and sleep for two hours til sunset. On the way back to the car, a woman a few years older than myself (not bad looking either) struck up a conversation with me asking me if I’d seen any birds. I wasn’t there to do any birding so I didn’t have any insightful info for her. It was her first time up there too. Or maybe she was lonely and secretly hoping I would ask her out on a date. 🙂 Either way, it goes to show that any place special enough is worthwhile to visit no matter the weather.
After sleeping for an hour and a half in my car, I felt even more nauseous and was a mental thought away from opening my door and throwing up in the parking lot but I managed to pull it together because that would have been embarrassing. Then decided to drive down the mountain back to town since I didn’t think I was in any condition to shoot photos. Somehow as I made it down to the forest entrance, I felt better so I decided to turn around and head back to Maroon Lake! I didn’t travel all those miles just to wuss out so I ended up shooting photos til it was dark outside.
The next morning I woke up at an ungodly hour to drive back up to the lake before sunrise. It was snowing lightly in Aspen but as I went further up Maroon Creek Road the snow was heavier and the clouds got thicker to a point where I couldn’t see anything anymore since it was still pitch black outside and the road was getting thick with icy powder. I got scared and stopped 3/4 of the way up to shoot road photos and aspen trees. I saw an even crazier photographer, whom I saw later at sunset, in a 4WD pass me and go all the way. That night, we were the last two people to be up at the Maroon Bells. I left before he did and ate dinner downtown. As I was getting back into my car, I realized he was parked next to me and was going to dinner himself. Such a random occurrence since I had parked several blocks away from the restaurant.
During my last day in Aspen, the photographer and I were the only two people at Maroon Lake to shoot the sunrise in 24 degree windy conditions. I asked him what if he saw anything the previous morning in that snowstorm. His response, “All I saw was clouds.” “That’s what I thought, I saw you driving up in that storm but I was too scared to go all the way.” I’ll go to certain lengths to get my photos but it’s not worth risking my life for pictures.
P.S. I don’t understand all the people who go through the trouble of driving up to the Maroon Lake parking lot to only stop their car for a minute or two then drive off. Apparently they didn’t realize they could see a beautiful lake with a perfect reflection of the Maroon Bells if they had gotten out of their car and walked past the outhouse.
See more of my scenic Colorado pictures.