Location: Maroon Bells in Snowmass Wilderness (near Aspen)
Date: July 18,2011
Behind me are two of Colorado's fourteeners - the spectacular Maroon Bells! The north end peak is called North Maroon, while the south end peak is simply called Maroon. Both of the “Bells” are over 14,000 feet high so it is called "fourteeners".
The rugged and uneven Maroon Bells are among the most photographed mountains in the world and the subject of immortal Ansel Adams portraits based on a marker inside the Aspen Higlands Center where visitors pay the $10 fee and wait on the bus that goes up to the Bells for $6!
For local mountain rescue teams, the beautiful Maroon Bells are known as the "Deadly Bells",because the mountain has claimed many lives in the past few years. Although not extremely difficult to climb, the rock is downsloping and according to the marker is unbelievably deceptive for a novice climber .
Beautiful or Deadly, Maroon Bells to me are the most spectacular scenery I have ever seen! The craggy bells, lakes, wildflowers and meadows blended so well that even an amateur photographer like me have easily snapped tons of postcard perfect photos! Nature at its best!
But Maroon Bells are not only for lovers of nature's photography. There are plethora of hiking trails at this picture-perfect alpine terrain for every level of fitness. Here are the three trails I have spotted during my visit and snapped a pose. Come let's walk:
The Maroon Lake Trail is the mellowest and easy on the legs and lungs while affording a gorgeous lakeside strolling. We followed the trail to and around Maroon Lake and ahhh, what an unparalleled nature experience!
The Maroon Lake Scenic Loop Trail is easy to moderate, but requires more than two hours to finish the 1.5 mile round trip. Anyway, we just leisurely walked until we came to a bridge which gave us two finest options - cross the bridge, or turn right. Our gut feel led us to choose the narrow trail on the right which lead us into an aspen forest. At that point, we came across a cascade but only had a slight view of the Maroon Bells .As we moved back down though, I had a stunning view of the Maroon Bells that I caught in this photograph!
On the same signage as the Scenic Loop Trail, is Crater Lake Trail to the right. The trail brought us into a thick aspen forest which provided the shades. We also found a comfortable spot to eat our lunch wraps while enjoying easy the panoramic view around us.
The summer hike was a breather. A nature's pure delight. A true garden paradise!
(This is part of the 5-week US Summer Vacation series, which took place from June 30, 2011 to August 3,2011
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US Travel Posts