Today was a busy day: an easy hike, a beautiful drive, and good food and beer! *laughs
I started out with a hike on the “Narrow Gauge Trail”. It’s a very easy 4.4 mile hike out and back – although, at about the 1 mile mark, you do have to climb over a section of trail that’s now covered with rocks and boulders from an avalanche. Not many people pay attention to the “Trail Closed” sign – like me.
It’s an historic hike that follows an old narrow gauge railroad route of a train that ran from Nathrop to Saint Elmo. The trail hugs the north side of Chalk Creek Canyon, directly across from the imposing bulk of the Chalk Cliffs.
After my hike, I drove up to the top of Independence Pass on State Highway 82 between Buena Vista and Leadville. Originally known as Hunter Pass, it’s the highest paved pass in Colorado at an elevation of 12,095′. At the top, which is also part of the Continental Divide, there’s a scenic overlook with views of Mount Elbert, Colorado’s highest peak and the second-highest mountain in the contiguous United States. You pass through Twin Lakes on the way – where the kayaking looks really promising.
Once I reached the summit, I retraced my route because Leadville, with an elevation of 10,151′, was having it’s 2nd annual BBQ and Brew Festival. It was raining off and on but I was able to try 2 local beers and eat some ribs from 2 different venders for about $20. I had to laugh at the poor guy playing on that big stage all by his lonesome. 🙂