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Black Maroon Pass

Coffee at 5 am for our 6 am pickup.
Coffee at 5 am for our 6 am pickup.

It was Monday and we rolled down into Crested Butte to do shopping and find a place to stay. There is only one RV park in town and they take full advantage of the fact and charge premium rates for the basics. We are limited in our choices and when I see they do not even have space to store and RV for a night I pony up for 3 nights even though we’ll only be here for two.

Dolly’s shuttle said the weather would be good but this is Colorado and I should have known better. I am hoping that Tuesday morning will be good and allow us to get most of the hike done before any weather moves in.

I am up at 5 am making coffee having been awake since 3 am fretting that I would oversleep. Just as well we are ready as I hear this van roll in at about ten to six and we are on our way. Picks up four more in town and we are off up Gothic Road in the dark.

Early morning view back towards Schofield Pass.
Early morning view back towards Schofield Pass.

The dirt road winds up to Schofield pass and we drop down a mile on the other side to the West Maroon trail head. It’s not even 7 am as we get dumped out with a parting; “Hope the weather will be OK”.

The trail will climb 1,ooo odd feet in just over 3 miles to the summit then it’s 7 miles down to Maroon Lakes, our destination just outside Aspen. The clouds do not cooperate and get darker as we get higher. When the corn snow prompts us to put on our anoraks we hunker down and body warmth gets us up to the crest.

Heading up to West Maroon.
Heading up to West Maroon.
Blacker and blacker with corn snow in the air.
Blacker and blacker with corn snow in the air.
Rose at the summit.
Rose at the summit.

The summit brings some blue sky and sweeping views of the surrounding peaks. Would love to linger in it’s beauty but the chilly autumn weather kicks our butt off the ridge and down the trail.

View up to ??
View up to Belleview Mountain (I think).
That's the way down to Maroon Lakes.
That’s the way down to Maroon Lakes.
Pano view down.
Pano view down Maroon Valley.
Hey, blue sky's!
Hey, blue sky’s!
When the sun comes out - take a photo.
When the sun comes out – take a photo.

..

The colors are stunning as we roll down and meet quite a few groups coming up, doing the hike in reverse, a long slog up from this side.

..

Looking back up at ??
Looking back up at the Bells and the way we came down.
Close to the end now.
Close to the end now.

Down at the trail head among all the “tourists” we scout out the shuttle bus that we need to take into  Aspen. I fumble for change as I had read it is an $8 fare but the driver cheerfully informs me that you only pay on the way in and as we did the hike we get to ride out for free, always a good surprise.

Mountain Chalet in aspen.
Mountain Chalet in Aspen.
Max Marolt of Aspen.
Max Marolt of Aspen.

The Mountain Chalet Hotel has a hot tub which we enjoy and then become lazy tourists as we eat and drink our way about town.image

Back to Crested Butte, this time over paved Independence Pass as an alternative to dirt Keblar Pass.

Many thanks to Suzanne for inspiring this hike.

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