Overnight at around 1
230am the pounding on the roof sounded like
the clouds had won out with what was either very heavy rain, hail, or both. Then again around 330am the same thing. I was just glad I’m near civilization if it’s going to rain all day. Around 4am cars started flowing into the parking lot here and there. Got out of the car around 520am not hearing any raindrops and looked up at a sky filled with stars!! The weather here can change as fast as a woman’s mood (artistic license).
It was much colder so hopefully at higher elevations, this was snow, but you won’t know until it begins to get a bit lighter. And finally, the icon had snow on it with some swirling clouds, but whether they would be lit by the beautiful first rays of light was iffy because, although the eastern sky had some clear patches, clouds were racing through as well. So when the time is just right for the perfect light, it could be obliterated by some errant cloud raining on our collective parades (much smaller crowds today compared to the weekend). There could even be cloud cover so the sun would never light the peaks at all. It is all controlled by someone larger than ourselves, and you either get lucky, or just make the best of what is. As it turned out, there was not much of the magic pink light on the clouds as they flew by, but the sun did hit the peaks and it was pretty neat finally something happening in the sky. After packing up, we headed out toward Kebler Pass, but it began to sprinkle sporadically, although we did stop a few times for a little photography, but not much for the rest of the day as they rain continually increased in intensity through the day until at times it was a downpour. We ended up in Marble, which seemed to be a very, very depressing town of rundown homes, but is a big stop because it is the jumping off point for another Colorado icon, Crystal Mill. After talking to one of the locals about a Kebler spass Road, we found out about Lost Lake, which has a campground and is supposedly very beautiful. We decided to kill some time by finally having a good meal at Slow Groovin’ BBQ where they had two gian smokers out front smoking away. Actually it was the only place in town to eat. I had the pulled pork with cole slaw and beans, all of which were really good, and talked to the owner about NC BBQ, and found out the owners, looked like college kids, were from Ohio but they had some pretty good food for me, but Denis had the ribs which he said were dry.
It continued to rain in the way to the turnoff for Kebler Pass and decided to pass the afternoon in Paonia where we sat at the local coffee/wine bar Back Country Bistro. Surprisingly, it did a brisk business for a weekday with what seemed like a lot of locals coming in. The big draw for us was Wi-Fi; but for some reason, I couldn’t get cell service. Stayed there a good 3 hours and decided to spend the night at Paonia State Park, the nearest campground about 17 miles back up Route 133. On the way I came around a curve and saw some mountains whose peaks were still shrouded in clouds, but who’s flanks were completely covered with fresh snow! What a sight. It was still raining when we got to the campground and Denis pulls up next to me and said the Bells would have a lot of snow from all this too, and that with the prospect of clearing, the magic light may hit the newly frosted peaks. So back to Aspen we drove,driving through a bit of snow going back over McClure Pass and of course stopping at McDonald’s again to pass away some time before heading to the campground again for the final, final attempt at the perfect image of the Bells. We’ll keep our fingers crossed. I guess giving it a day more before going up to Kebler will help with the foliage since we continually hear that parts of it are still green and other parts are peak. Hopefully, everything will work to our advantage to give ourselves the best opportunity for successful images.