Saturday, August 23, 2008

Independence Pass

Jay has been wanting to drive over Independence Pass for quite awhile now. He also wanted to see what Aspen looks like since we now live in a ski town. Independence Pass is on highway 82 between Twin Lakes and Aspen, Colorado. The pass has such a high elevation that it is only open a few months a year due to the snow in this area, and it would be way too hard and dangerous for road crews to keep it open in the winter. The east side of the pass is a piece of cake for awhile until you reach the switchbacks, some with a speed limit sign of 10 mph.
A view from the top.
From the overlook at the summit, you can see one of the switchbacks we just came up.
The summit of Independence Pass, elevation 12,095 feet. That's really high for a paved road! There was a crowd of people parked on the summit, so it was no problem getting someone to take our picture.
On the west side of the pass you see the Independence ghost town.
There are a few informative signs at the top of the ghost town.
This is the Independence General Store. The Aspen Historical Society actually has a small store set up inside. Garrett and Savanna bought some bottles of 24K gold flakes.
I just realized that when we visit a ghost town, Savanna is usually wearing her tie-dye "Peace Dog" shirt. She really brightens things up.
The twisty, narrow road becomes even more so on the west side of the pass. There are a few stretches of road that narrow down to only one lane. We were lucky not to meet another car while we drive down.
When I was a kid my grandparents drove a full size van so that the whole family could pile up inside to go on trips. My grandma and mom are scared of drop offs on the side of the road, so they never really liked Independence Pass. The last time I was up there with my grandparents, my grandma said, "Well at least they put up a guard rail here." My dad said, "Ah, this van would flip right over that!" That was meant to be a joke, but I don't think my grandma thought it was too funny. Me and my dad still laugh about it, though.

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