The sun was low in the sky as we left Boulder on Friday afternoon, headed southwest into Colorado's rugged center for a weekend off the grid. We summited Guanella Pass around sunset and bumped and bounced our way to a National Forest camping spot just south of Fairplay. (I'd be more specific about where we were but... I have no idea where we were.) A fire was built, s'mores were roasted (bougie tip: Nutella trumps chocolate bars), and the stars. were. incredible.
It was a chilly night in the van, with sub-freezing temps and a merciless airbed that doubled as an ice cube. A hot breakfast of Egg-in-a-Hole made up for a rough night of sleep and we were back on the trails by late morning. We lumbered our way up Weston Pass with the South Platte River rushing alongside the trail, and drove into Leadville for a much-needed Americano fix. After turning around on Hagerman Pass because of snowdrifts, we headed south through Independence Pass.
After drive-thrus of Aspen, Snowmass, Basalt and Carbondale, we headed south again toward Redstone. A turn-of-the-century coal town, Redstone was known for its coke production before succumbing to a bitter stock war followed by a fatal blow from the Great Depression. The Redstone Inn still stands and serves as the mainstay for the town's tourism draw.
With a winter storm looming, we were dreading another night of freezing temps and little sleep. A fluffy hotel bed and a hot shower called, so we answered by booking a room at the Redstone Inn for the night. A glass of shiraz and truffle steak fries made the cost-ineffective decision much more palatable.
The next day, we wound our way home, visiting the funky mountain town of Marble, Lost Lake via Keebler Pass (where we cooked a late breakfast lakeside in the snow), Crested Butte, Cottonwood Pass, Buena Vista and back through Fairplay to complete the loop. The weekend was a fine example of things not going according to plan, but turning out just perfectly in their own way.