Friday, July 3, 2015

Aspen and Glenwood Springs, CO: A Hanging Lake and A Dive Tavern (Days 9-10 of 42)

"On The Road Again" ... not just a Willie Nelson song.  Also the RV'ers lament!  Or maybe "Should I Stay Or Should I Go" by The Clash!  Planning just the right amount of time in each place (not too little, not too much) when you're toting your house along with you, is tough to do.  We were bummed to have just 1.5 days in Aspen and Glenwood Springs (in order to make our next stop for the 4th of July week), but two of our favorite Colorado-bucket-list items happened on this leg of the trip.  #1: Behold ... Hanging Lake!


Glenwood Springs is home to this marvel, which is one of the most popular hikes in the entire state of Colorado. It is 1.4 sloowwww-goin' uphill miles in each direction, very steep and rocky and then turning very green and lush.




At the tippy-top is the most gorgeous lake, a rare geologic wonder of a lake formed by ancient travertine deposits that is protected.  You can lookie, but no swimmie!


Continuing to hike up behind the lake is Spouting Rock, where icy water from snow-melt high atop the Flat Tops barrels through a narrow hole in the limestone cliff.




We had arrived at the trail early after multiple Internet warnings about lack of parking.  When we got there at 7:30 AM, we thought "C'mon, there is TONS of parking here, what are they talking about!"  But when leaving at 10:30 AM, we got the picture ... at least 25+ cars lined up, waiting hours for a spot!  So, if you plan to do this hike, believe everything you read ....



After all that hiking and fresh air (gasp!) we were ready to power down some grub.  We love a great "dive" bar/pub/tavern as much as the next guy, so Woody Creek Tavern was on our minds!  #2 on our Bucket List for this stop!



This fun spot is located down along the Woody Creek, about 8 miles before reaching Aspen.  It started as a "working-guy" local's kind of place, but due to great food, strong fresh lime margaritas, live local music, and its location along a major biking trail, the line is always out-the-door with locals and tourists (and purportedly a lot of celebrities, though not during our visit, and it's doubtful Oprah or Brad Pitt would actually talk to us anyway).



The inside is covered in photos, news clippings, drawing, mementos, magazine covers, memorials to friends who have passed, original art, you name it....




The rest of the day was spent in the gorgeous town of Aspen, which boasts some of the most expensive real estate (and high-falutin' residents) in the nation.  When Philip was a bartender in Aspen in the 70's, there was one main street and the rest of the town was falling down.  No more!  We could barely afford to window shop on the multiple streets of shops and restaurants, though the shady cobblestone streets and cool temps made for delightful wandering.




As of June 2015, the median listing price for homes or condos for sale in Aspen is $5,081,388, and thus we kept looking about for the Kardashians or Beyonce or Donald Trump to go strolling by, but sadly the only celebrity we saw was Smokey The Bear's cousin.



We did, however, see everyone's private jets at the Aspen Airport ... at least 50 or more BIG-BIG-BIG private jets parked, and even more zooming by overhead.  Must be nice!






Lastly, Aspen has the famous "Jerome Hotel" and associated "J Bar."  It was built in 1889 and has been an Aspen landmark and local gathering place since then.  At the J Bar, patrons can order the infamous "Aspen Crud," a milkshake infused with numerous liquors that was the preferred (and off-limits) drink of Tenth Mountain Division soldiers training here during WWII.  We did not try one (as it was NOT 5 o'clock there or probably anywhere else either at the time, but the hotel was beautiful.


Next up on the wandering trail is Steamboat Springs, up on the northern Colorado state line.  We will be there for five full days of small-town Fourth of July merriment!  Happy Independence Day from the Lucky Charm!