Independence Pass to Craig, CO

Independence PassWe left Leadville early on another sunny and for a change, a clear day without wildfire smoke. We headed for the second highest paved through road in Colorado, Independence Pass, which in is the Sawatch Mountains on the Continental Divide and 12,095 ft. in altitude.

After crossing the pass we were headed towards the world famous Aspen, CO - winter playground of the rich and famous. The city, founded in 1879 has a population in excess of approximately 8,000 and sits at 8,000 ft. in elevation.

Posing at the PassThe traffic was heavy and we rode through as we had a lunch appointment in Rifle, CO. At Glenwood Springs, we turned west on I-70. The ride to Rifle was uneventful, but there is going west, at the South Canyon exit, an opporunity to look to the right at the face of Storm King Mountain where in 1994, 14 Prineville, Oregon U.S. Forest Service Hot Shot firefighter lost their lives fighting the Storm King Mountain fire. There is a trail that follows that taken by the firefighters.

We arrived in Rifle for a lunch with one of Bill's family - just right a big salad and bowl of fruit. As the temperature had risen considerably, everyone welcomed the unheated meal.

From Rifle we headed north to our stop for the night in Craig, CO. Craig is well know for its large elk herd and hunting opportunities. It is a city of over 10,000 residents. Coal mining and ranching comprise much of the industry in this area along with the recent exploration and extraction of petroleum.