My heart broke into a billion pieces as we packed our bags to leave Aspen. It was way too short of a trip. I had so many plans, so many ideas to make this the perfect morning. I wanted to wake up early, make a warm cup of coffee and find a spot to watch the sun rise over the mountains. But I did not. Rather, I slept in until 8:00 a.m. when the sun was already shining high above us. I think it was hearing the wolves howling all night long that deterred me from getting up for the sunrise. Because of the howling, I was tired and wanted to sleep in. I also did not want to wander in a place I didn’t know, in the dark of night with the threat of being attacked by a wolf.
We ate our complementary breakfast at the Holiday Inn Express then were on the road. The only thing pulling me together and out the door was knowing that we’d be taking the same beautiful drive that we took the way to Aspen along the Top of the Rockies Byway. We stopped every so often, yet not as much as on the way there. We overlooked Independence Pass, a high mountain pass halfway between Aspen and Twin Lakes. Among the mountains is Mount Elbert, the second highest mountain in the continental United States. We stopped in search of rusting white rapids and mines in the mountains.
Our longest stop was in the village of Twin Lakes, Colorado. We traipsed through the fields of this old western town. Dirt paths connected you to hiking trails and to some houses amongst the fields. These houses were merely log cabins and were few and far between. It seemed like a simple way of life here. Yet, up high were less modest homes overlooking the small village below.
The general store in town was truly a convenient store, as it was the only store in this small town. A sign in the window advertised for ice cream, which sounded like the perfect treat for our short rest stop. We opened the old rickety door and made our way across the loose wooden floor boards. The store seemed to be stuck in a time machine apart from the current stock on the shelves. To my disappointment, the soft served ice cream machine had an out-of-order sign on it so we were out-of-luck.
We headed out of the store, ice-cream-less and crossed the street to the scenic overlook. We were back staring at the intense blue of Twin Lakes. Even though I was standing in this same spot no more than 24 hours ago, it still felt fresh. I could look out at this view all day and it was never loose its appeal. I made my way to the foot of the lake, wanting to get a closer look. I thought I would maybe see what made the color so blue when I got closer. As I dipped my feet into the cool glacial lake, I could feel what made the lakes so ice blue. The ground around the lake was so soft that my feet sunk in as I stood by the waters edge, taking in colorful Colorado.