Friday, October 03, 2008

Into the aspens

My little hike with Sophie didn't start out the way I planned. I slept late and had to run errands in the morning, so we didn't get up to the mountains until early afternoon. Even though I knew there was weather coming in.
Really, you ignore weather warnings at your peril here. At Echo Lake we got out of the car to the rumbling of thunder. Ten minutes later there was lightning and thunder right overhead. Then a torrent of hail. (If you click on the photo above, you can see it coming down more clearly.) We beat a hasty retreat.
Farther down the road it was wet and windy, but I figured if we got into the trees we'd be all right. I left a Burger King bag on my car seat to prove I wasn't a hippie and set off on the Devil's Gulch Trail. Mine was the only car parked there; it's not a well-advertised spot.
The trail is really a road, albeit a very steep and rocky one. I wouldn't dare try taking the Subaru up it. I only saw one guy in a pickup, hauling an ATV, and later two girls heading up as I came back down.
This is what I came to see:
Sophie has a taste for beauty, too. But just a little taste.
I set my camera on a rock to take this.
Though the road is initially quite steep and rocky, once you get near the top of the ridge it levels out and is easy walking.
That's Mount Evans in the distance.
Had I started earlier, I could have gone much farther, but I didn't want to drive back in the dark, and Sophie doesn't have quite the stamina she used to. But all in all it turned out to be a nice day.

To get to Devil's Gulch, take I-70 to Idaho Springs, and then the Mount Evans Road (Colorado 130). There's a hairpin-ish turn at Ponder Point, and Devil's Gulch is about a quarter-mile above that on the left. There's just a wide shoulder for parking.


  1. These photos are stunning!!! What is with the Hippie Hate?

  2. Pretty! Such gorgeous colors! And I can't go anywhere this weekend. Boo.

    Is there like a Devil's Gulch in just about every town? Gem Lake is on a trail off Devil's Gulch Rd in Estes Park!

  3. Beautiful scenery and colour!
    Loved your non-hippy message :P
    The mountain looks amazing in the distance..will you conquer that one day? :D

  4. Nice photos! I like that one of the wet winding road.

  5. dang, you are not much more northerly than am but the altitude changes everything....

  6. Wow... it's beautiful!
    My area's getting some weather change, but nothing as cool (pun intended) as CO yet. It's gotta have something to do with the altitude; I'm gonna have to convince someone to go to the mountains with me next weekend and see.
    Amazing photos!

  7. Mimi, dunno about the hippie hate, except there's a lot of 'em in Colorado. And plenty of hippie haters, I guess. (Hence our purple status on the political map.)

    Thanks, Julie!

    Manisha, there's a certain lack of imagination in naming places, I guess. Welcome to Springfield! Maybe you can get out next week.

    Gina, that's the very easiest one to conquer, in fact. You can drive almost to the top. I have, though, climbed Mount Bierstadt, which is its neighbor and also above 14,000 feet (4,267 meters).

    Thanks, Kevin!

    dog, I'm south of you, in fact, by 1 degree of latitude (70 miles). But you're at sea level and Denver's at 5,280 feet. These photos were taken at 10,000 feet.

    Euphreana, yep, it's all about the altitude. Still pleasant in Denver, mostly in the 70s. Head to the mountains for a taste of winter!

  8. Four of us hiked Ptarmigan Trail (just north of I-70, Exit 205) yesterday (Saturday). It was cool and gray all morning, so around noon, we turned around because the wind started picking up and the clouds darkened. I will try to post something on soon -- because it too is a fabulous aspen hike from another extremely easy to reach trailhead. Pretty soon, the leaves will be down -- and hunting season will make some trails (those with rifle hunting) a bit to risky for my taste.

  9. Beautiful pictures!! I love living here, sometimes I forget just how lucky we are.