After a morning run along the Rio Grande River path, Mike and I took the RFTA bus to Maroon Bells, two fourteeners (mountains higher than 14,000' elevation) in the Elk Mountains near Aspen.
The bus driver told explained how glaciers formed the U-shaped valley, told us about the wildlife in the area, gave tips on the best hikes in the area, and made us laugh with stories about the area. We hiked around Maroon Lake,
and headed down the Maroon Creek trail over rocks and scree where we saw three marmots, past wildflowers, through stands of pines and aspens and along narrow trails lined with wet, green grass and bushes.
The bus driver warned everyone to stay a safe distance away from the several moose who live in the area. We didn't expect to see the moose, but as we walked down the access road, we stopped and watched a moose standing in the creek.
After a bus ride back into busy Aspen, we rode the gondola to the top of the mountain. The town of Aspen is located at just under 8000', and after a 15 minute ride the gondola took us to the Sun Deck at 11,212'. We looked out over the snowy mountains in the White River National Forest and waited out a rain/thunder/lightning storm before riding the gondola back into town.
Tomorrow we're back on the motorcycles, headed south through the Rockies to Gunnison. We're ready for high mountain passes and more amazing mountain views.