Day 5 – Rocky Mountain High 2017: Great Coffee, Independence Pass & Lincoln Gulch

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Good morning all! We have emerged from the wilderness and Verizon has graced us with LTE. Lots to catch you up on! Let’s you and us pretend its last Wednesday, alright, good!

This morning we arose much later than anticipated. The adjoining rooms did wonders for all the sleeping beauties and dudes of TeamHovis. Just enough together, just enough apart. E, being the sweet-natured giver, volunteered for floor pallet duty while Poppy and Gman split the bed.

The whole team was excited to make our way to our campsite for the next 4 nights (originally supposed to be 7… more on that later).  Lady Coach’s new found affinity for coffee reared its head so we stopped for breakfast and ground goodness at Buena Vista Roastery. Lady Coach loved the place and it might be her new favorite spot. The chorizo empanadas, sticky buns, and quiche were pretty fantastic as well.

Off like a herd of very satisfied turtles, we hit Hwy 84 North around 10:30am. After a spell, we hooked a left at Twin Lakes, CO onto Hwy 82. TeamHovis has been on many of the best drives the United States. California 1 and Hwy 101, Going to the Sun Road, Chief Joseph Hwy, Blue Ridge Pkwy, and countless others – it is safe to say that Hwy 82 is the best high alpine drive in the US. We barely fit under the 35ft length maximum with the gear trailer behind the Excursion; however, we had no trouble with the switchbacks and several single lane wide sections. The drive starts off in the shadow of Mt Elbert and then makes it way up to 12,000+ feet. The high valleys were beautifully in bloom with yellow flowers. When we reached the pass most of the team needed to use the restroom so we all piled out. The female members of the team were doing a lot of complaining about being cold… brrrrrr. Then a snowball fight broke out and there was no more complaining.

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We would be camping for the week in the White River National Forest’s Lincoln Gulch Campground about ten miles west of Aspen. The campground is a gem tucked away between towering cliffs on all sides at the confluence of the Roaring Fork River and Lincoln Creek. The road in is rough and narrow alternating between sheer drops and sheer cliffs on both sides of the road. There are no reservations in the campground and only 7 spots. Arriving on Wednesday allowed us to grab spot 1 right beside the Roaring Fork. The river dropped about 100′ in elevation adjacent to our site making for a spectacular waterfall. Great sound for falling asleep to each night.

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We spent the next hour and a half setting up camp. Then we made a late lunch of sandwiches. The Coaching staff realized we were short on propane and a few other supplies so Coach grabbed up Poppy and made a run into Aspen. Wow! It is a beautiful spot. It does have its downside as a mountain retreat – the burger joint is most likely adjacent to a designer boutique. It felt like more of a spot to show off, than a place to let go and enjoy the mountains. Oh well. Also, the town is way under parked so there is no quick in and out of any service and due to real estate prices the stores that stock the essentials are terribly small and under stocked. In short – if you want to eat out and look good – Aspen! Poppy grabbed a nap on the way into town so shopping turned into cuddle time. Coach did not mind. On they way back to camp a moose was spotted and befriended about 50 feet from the truck!

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While Coach and Poppy were away Gman, E, and Lady Coach explored the river and rock climbing around the site. The Roaring Fork valley is loaded with great climbing spots and rarely did we go half a day without seeing someone scale an enormous cliff face or boulder a tough route. One of the most popular climbs in the area was about 100 feet from our campsite and watching the climbers take on the cliff was always great fun.

After playing a bean bag game Gman created using a ladder golf set, the day ended with a tired TeamHovis snuggled up in their sleeping bags – it was a cold night with temps in the 30’s.

See you “tomorrow”.

 

 

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