My summer in Colorado was in full swing and my next destination found me nestled above a couple of lakes. Here I was to start my longest period of time being along, but first, new friends.
The route from Silverton to Twin Lakes is a bit longer than I usually drive in one day at around 230 miles. It also, shockingly enough, involves multiple mountain passes, which tends to slow down forward progress.
Monarch Pass, at 11,312 feet, was my final pass of the day and marked the first of many times across the Continental Divide during my summer in Colorado. Of course one has to mark this event with a photo op.
Meeting people on the road is one of the many joys of this lifestyle. Sometimes you don’t click. Sometimes you do.
Kym and Kevin had been on my radar for a while. They had pointed me in the direction of the place in Silverton I stayed. But I had never met them. So it made perfect sense to commit to camping with them at Twin Lakes, right? 😉
Fortunately they turned out to be the kind of people I gladly call friends. Otherwise it might have been an awkward week. Whew, crisis averted!
Kym and Kevin were having family stay with them for a bit and graciously invited me to hang with them as well. I ended up staying 3 weeks in the general area of Twin Lakes North.
The first 6 nights I was hanging with Kym and Kevin in a spot where we could see and hear other campers. The next 2 weeks I found a more secluded spot at the end of a gravel road that I almost didn’t get back out of (thank you 2 wheel drive Jeep!).
Spectacular views abounded at both locations. Seriously, the scenery never got old. Views of the lakes. Views of the mountains. Sigh, yeah, it was great!
I arrived at Twin Lakes after a long day of driving and doing errands in the last big town I would pass through. And it started to rain right as I pulled in. At least it waited until after I climbed the hill that otherwise I would never have made up.
Due to the late hour and the rain I planted my rig in what seemed like a decent location. I woke up the next morning and surveyed the scene with fresh eyes and wondered how I managed to stick my rig between some trees. And then I wondered how in the hell I was going to get it out of there and shifted over 50 feet to a more suitable location. Yeah, that was fun! It may or may not have involved trimming some tree branches and a whole lot of back and forth maneuvering.
Ultimately I ended up perched on the side of a hill (literally – with huge boulders behind my wheels just in case) so that I could get the perfect view of the lakes between two pines. The length we go to for the million dollar views…
Once Kym and Kevin departed I relocated about 200 yards to the west. I scouted out locations and found a secluded spot, big enough for maybe 2 rigs, at the end of a kinda sketchy gravel road. After a 1.5 mile drive to relocate a couple hundred yards, I was at the perfect spot to enjoy some peace and quiet. Until the 4th of July came and the amateur campers were out in full force. I love me a good holiday!
Fittingly, on the 4th of July I decided to check out Independence Pass. Located between Twin Lakes and Aspen (which I visited on another day – NOT my kind of town!), Independence Pass straddles the Continental Divide at 12,000 feet.
This is a very popular destination, especially on a holiday. Fortunately it’s super simple to get away from the crowds, who only go on the paved walkway to an overlook.
I took off down a dirt trail following the spine of the Continental Divide. About 2.5 miles later I find myself standing on the edge of a cliff looking at mountain goats off in the distance. I’m early enough where I’m the only person. The views are breathtaking there at 13,000 feet. I literally felt on top of the world. The calm was indescribable. Not a bad way to spend a part of the holiday.
Interlaken Historic District
Across the lake, accessible by trail or paid boat ride, is Interlaken Historic District. Built in the late 1800’s, Interlaken was a happening resort back in the day. Today it’s a nice place to walk to as you imagine what it once was.