We got up early today to try and get a hike in before the rain came. Today's hike was Shrine Ridge Pass on Shrine Mountain, just outside of Vail. The road up to the trail was 2.5 miles of muddy red dirt/clay and the first sign we saw said, "Caution: Historic Military Weapons Area. Do Not Touch Or Remove Unknown Objects." Grrrreaaat. The road was an old logging trail from back in the day when the mountain was logged to support the mines and growing mining community, and apparently the Army also used the area to test artillery.
The beginning of the trail started at 11,100 feet of elevation and we gained about 600 feet by the summit. The day started out beautiful. The trail was a little muddy and the busiest trail we've been on yet. The 2 mile trail quickly ascended to a 360 degree view of the area. From the top, you could see a beautiful view of Mount of the Holy Cross, the Tenmile Range and the Gore Range. Mount of the Holy Cross is named for the cross shape on one side. It's said that in the 1920's pilgrimages were made to the mountain to pray while viewing the cross. Unfortunately, it was too foggy for us to see the cross.
The mountains have a different blooming season than the foothills and while flowers have been blooming at our home for some time, you could see the wild flowers in the mountains have only recently bloomed. The hills were filled with Indian paintbrush, harebell, and a bunch of other flowers I can't identify. Oh and of course, snow. It just doesn't seem to want to melt.
We took several pictures of each other on the ridge. Check out these two. It was too foggy on the pass to see if we were getting the shots we wanted, so we didn't notice the oddity until we were reviewing our pictures over dinner. Of course once we saw these, we frantically started Googling for deaths on the pass (hence my historical knowledge of the pass from paragraph one) but we couldn't find anything. Odd blur? Or something standing next to me? You be the judge:
We didn't get to spend too much time on the ridge before the rain came, so we slogged back down and decided our next stop. According to Tim's Roadside America app (that alerts him when there are sites in the area that I would never want to see) Leadville is the highest town in the United States. It wasn't far so we decided to check it out.
This fun fact was noticeably absent from town signs, banners, t-shirts, etc. which makes me wonder if it was true. The town was much bigger than we were expecting. Main street was still functioning in original buildings but held sporting goods stores, restaurants, antique stores, etc. The most interesting store was Melanzana. It's a clothing store that caters to outdoor enthusiast and all of the clothes are HAND MADE. They also had a resident dog, which of course scored points with me. Colorado is so dog-friendly!
We also checked out a large, two-story antique store. Tim said it was like Pawn Stars meets American Pickers. We spent a lot of time there and one could easily lose an afternoon browsing.
To reward ourselves for a trail well-done, we had a DELICIOUS pizza in Avon, CO at Gondola's. It was hands down the best pizza we've had since we moved to Colorado. I really wished it was closer to home. Or maybe that would be a bad thing....
The weather is supposed to be nice tomorrow morning so we are going to try and get a hike in before the rain. It's supposedly a very beautiful but very hard hike. Wish us luck..... or look for me on the 6:00 news.