Instead of going to Oregon again, we decided to explore Colorado. I haven’t been there since I was really little and don’t remember much of it so it sounded good. We found a good looking place in Avon and decided it would be a great hub to explore the surrounding towns and experience some great fall colors. We knew it was a gamble on weather this late in the year but we decided to roll the dice.
Like my last vacation post this will be a stub article with mostly pictures I took from the passenger seat of the car (Drive by photography or (DBP) as I call it). There will be links to the more specific adventures that we did on out trip.
Day 1: The long drive down.
The wind farm at the base of Spanish Fork Canyon (DBP).
Some great fall color here (DBP).
A little higher up the canyon (DBP).
I love all of the different colors in this canyon (DBP).
Soldier Summit (DBP). 7477 feet, one of the higher passes we had to pass.
Going down Price Canyon (DBP). This is one of the 2 parts of the drive that made me somewhat nervous but it’s not too bad.
Cool rock feature (DBP). Last time I passed here I thought it might have been a named peak, but it is not.
Now the long drive through boring empty flat nothingness (DBP).
Green River (DBP).
Colorado! This is officially the furthest east I have been in my adult life.
The Colorado River and some fall color (DBP).
Some more color (DBP).
I don’t know why I was surprised to see rocks like you find in Moab… it’s not that far away (DBP). I then saw some signs for Colorado National Monument which sounds similar. Might have to come check that out some day.
Now that is an interesting looking mountain (DBP). After Grand Junction we enter another canyon on our way to our destination.
This narrow canyon barely fits the Colorado River, the road and a train track. It’s a bit windy but not too bad (DBP).
Inside the next tunnel (DBP).
We got a little later start then I wanted and it got dark out. I really did not want to drive up an unfamiliar canyon in the dark.. but it happened anyway. As far as driving an unfamiliar canyon in the dark goes, this one was not bad at all.
Hanging Lake Tunnel which is quite a ways further up than the last one (DBP). Also the longest one that we went through today.
Too dark to get any other photos. Drove up the canyon and arrived to our destination in the dark. On the one hand, I hate driving in the unknown in the dark, but on the other hand having the destination revealed to you the next day is kind of neat. After settling in and checking out the local pamphlets we called it a night.
By the by, we stayed in the Christie Lodge. It is like being on a cruise ship, they have everything you could possibly want or need, including several hot tubs, an indoor and an outdoor pool, fire pits, restaurants, games, activities, the works. But the rooms… wtf.. the rooms are terrible. We had a 3 bedroom suite which ended up being two rooms connected. Both sides you enter into the bedroom. Seriously? Our side had the living room and and kitchen which had no stove and only a mini fridge. The other side had 2 bedrooms and a bathroom. There is no way to access the communal living room/kitchen without going through at least one bedroom. Really, really weird.
Day 2: Vail, Beaver Creek, and weather.
When we woke up in the morning we were met with rain. After a quick jaunt outside I could see the snow was not much higher up. I knew this canyon gets quite a bit steeper after Vail so we decided to go up there.
Low clouds above Avon (DBP).
Pedestrian Covered Bridge in Vail.
Gore Creek from the bridge.
Clock tower. The town is very German/Dutch inspired.
Thermometer with freezing indicator. As you can see it is pretty close to freezing. I’ve seen this kind of thermometer back home somewhere but can’t place it.
Looking up at the ski runs above.
Cool pirate ship in a park.
Well, I got a little bit of fall color today.
I found a Vail sign with the elevation. Pretty close to the elevation of some of the ski resorts in Utah that we hike around all the time.
Little covered area and a villa.
Pretty red bird. I want to say it is a cardinal but that doesn’t seem right.
Heading back down towards Avon. pretty canyon (DBP). My mom wanted to push up towards Breckinridge but with the weather, I was absolutely not interested in going over Vail Pass. So, we decided to go to Beaver Creek instead.
Beaver Creek skating rink.
View from one of the hallways.
We had some gelato and wandered around town. Beaver Creek is just another resort. There did seem to be some pretty areas around but it was snowing up here, so we decided to head back into town. After warming up in the hot tub we decided to head down to Edwards and have dinner at the Gashouse. Best surf and turf I have had this far from the coast! It was seriously amazing.
Back at the hotel, we stopped by my new favorite liquor store. hehe. As you can see we are now getting snow here in town. So we decided to hot tub and hang out at the hotel. We met a lot of different amazing people. From Arkansas, Kansas, Jamaica! and Florida. We actually grew really close to the Florida couple and they asked if we would be interested in being Facebook friends. I really do hope they find us, because I would love to continue to connect with them.
Day 3: Eagle River, Midturn and weather.
We found a trail down to the Eagle Valley Trail. I got some fall color next to the river however it was kind of a let down after all the things we had planned on doing.
When we got back from our quick adventure it started raining again. Then it stopped, and then started again, and stopped again. We were thinking about doing a trail up by Vail but didn’t want to go much higher in elevation with the rain going. So we found some in nearby Minturn.
Looking at some peaks above.
From the other direction.
The hills above.
Well it was definitely to rainy to try to get a hike in. We had hoped it would have stopped by the time we got here but it didn’t so we decided to head back to town.
Old railroad track. Doesn’t look like it is used anymore.
Minturn in the rain (DBP).
Somewhere outside of Minturn (DBP).
After that we decided to have dinner at Pazzo’s Pizzeria. We both had pasta and really enjoyed it. Highly recommended for a midrange dinner.
After dinner we warmed up in the hot tubs and relaxed. You know, I keep grumbling about missing out on all the things we planned to do, but it was still a nice relaxing vacation and I am glad we did it. I do regret not at least making it up to Vail Pass, but eh. All was not lost. We did the absolute most amazing hike on the way back home, which is coming up in the next segment.
Day 3: The trip home and Hanging Lake.
After waking up early, packing up and preparing to leave town we realized we have absolutely perfect weather. Of course we do! That’s okay though we have plans to hike up to hanging lake today!
Heading down i70 (DBP).
Down canyon (DBP). There is a layer of clouds down there.
Passing through the clouds (DBP).
Colorful peaks and clouds (DBP).
I think this is entering Glenwood Canyon (DBP). Colorado River on the left.
Very pretty canyon (DBP).
Small tunnel (DBP).
Colorado River (DBP).
Hanging Lake Tunnel (DBP).
So I learned that unless you happen to be staying west of Hanging Lake, you will have to deal with turning around to hike there. If heading east you want exit 125, if heading west you will need to take exit 121, use the turn around to head back east i70 up to exit 125. And vice verse for leaving the area.
Pretty canyon (DBP).
Hanging Lake. This phenomenal, yet tough trail made the entire trip worth it. Click the link to see more of it.
And about 2 hours later we’re back to heading down Glenwood Canyon (DBP).
Passenger train. Honestly, this is the first time I can say I have seen one (DBP).
Colorado River (DBP). I can’t remember how many times you cross it but it it quite a few times.
Cool mountains (DBP).
Fall color and mountain sides (DBP).
Colorado River again (DBP).
Down canyon towards Grand Junction (DBP).
Colors and mountains (DBP).
I love the mountains just east of Grand Junction (DBP). It makes me think of what Bryce Canyon might look like in different conditions.
Amazing texture (DBP)!
Colorado is the first state that has a leaving the state sign that I have seen so far (DBP).
Fun cone formation (DBP).
Oasis phenomenon (DBP).
Desert mountains (DBP).
We decided to drop by the Utah Visitor Center which has a natural garden of local plants, and I was struck by this plant. it took some hunting but I eventually found it’s name Apache Plume.
I’ve seen these on a few trails.
Mountain range above some bluffs.
More fun mountains (DBP).
Green river (DBP).
Random structure in green river (DBP).
Cliff faces (DBP).
With a near full moon (DBP).
Abandoned gas station (DBP). I wish I got a picture on the way in because the other side says: Come on in, we’re open!
Helper, Utah (DBP).
More of Helper. Not much left to this town.
Leaving Helper (DBP).
Worlds tallest coal miner statue. oddly specific but kind of neat. I did find locals call him Big John.
Well, it got too dark to take any more pictures but I think the way down and the way in overlapped just fine. it was a great trip and I am glad we got to go and see some neat new things, and check another state off of the list. Hanging Lake was definitely the highlight of the trip, even though it was an unexpected highlight. I would have loved to explore some more high elevation areas, but the weather just was not cooperating. However, I still had a fantastic time and am happy that we explored somewhere new. And we passed a few new areas that I think I would like to go back and explore one day. Particularly western Colorado there seemed to be a lot of neat things around there to see. So, I don’t think we have seen the last of Colorado.