Another October Birthday-HB Shane!
~Wednesday, October 21, 2020~
First of all, a shout out to our amazing son, Shane. Happy Birthday buddy. We’re so disappointed that we can’t be together for your birthday (a first ever), due to our travels. Thank goodness for FaceTime. Cheers to another year of enjoying life.
The two attractions of the day were 1. Driving the Independence Highway and seeing 2 ghost towns along the way and 2. Visiting Aspen. One thing we’ve noticed being at high altitude is that the highest peaks surrounding us (around 14,000 feet plus), don’t look that high. If you were at sea level, they’d be absolutely enormous. They are enormous, but I guess it depends on your perspective right? We chose this day to take the 32 mile highway because the weather is a-changin’ this weekend where this section of highway may be closed due to snow. The only other route to get to Aspen would be a 3-½ hr. drive on highway 24/70 instead of 1-½ hrs. via Independence Highway. Though it wasn’t as scary as the Million Dollar Highway near Ouray, CO, this highway is not for the timid; steep inclines, steep drop-offs, tight winding roads, and narrow stretches that can only fit one car at a time. It’s like they gave up on the center yellow line in sections. When we finally made it to 12,095 feet at the Continental Divide, we had realized this was the highest the truck has ever been.
This is actually the highest paved spot you can drive to at the Continental Divide. Pretty cool. And it was cool. High winds meant for hats and jackets. We got some good scenic shots then headed back on the highway for Aspen. Along the way, we stopped at the silver mining ghost town called Ashcroft Ghost Town. This once booming town in the 1880’s had a population of 2,000. Unfortunately, as quickly as it grew, it also went bust. In just 5 years, the population dwindled to 100.
The silver mines were just shallow deposits.
Then we finally made it to Aspen, CO. We’ve always wanted to check this ski town out, though it’s a bit more chi chi than we like and our pocket book likes. It’s a larger town than I expected, and the lifts nearly start in the town, which surprised us. And I guess I was expecting a much more grandiose, elaborate entrance to the Aspen Mountain Ski Resort. I completely get the attraction of this winter playground. The homes and the town are stunning. Of course I couldn’t resist asking Siri what the median price of a home in Aspen was. Answer…….$2.5 million. O.k. I guess I won’t be reaching out to any realtors here anytime soon. And the other amazing thing is, most of the homes here are 2nd homes for people.
Driving back, near the Continental Divide spot we were at previously, the small number of cars in front of us came to a halt as we saw a police car with its roof lights on. Our assumption….there must have been an accident and we would have to turn around and drive the 3-½ hrs. home going the other route. Thank goodness we were wrong. Apparently there was a commercial being filmed at the Continental Divide spot where they had to shut down the highway for only 10 minutes. In no time we were on our way. Even with the sun setting behind the mountains, we decided to stop at the first ghost town established in the Fork Valley….Independence Ghost Town. This was a prosperous mining town, established around 1880, with a population of 1,500. But in about 10 years, the miners and their families were lured to the Aspen area with a warmer climate and better jobs. At around 11,000 feet, it’s no surprise that this town became quickly deserted. And who wants to live at that altitude where there’s snow on the ground from October to May?