the girlfriend and myself went down to the Aspen Colorado area for some camping/hiking and to watch "stage 2" of the Pro Cycling Challenge that was between Gunninson and Aspen and had to go over both the Cottonwood Pass (elevation 12,126 feet) and Independence Pass (elevation 12,095 feet) before ending in Aspen

we got there monday night and got camp set up (elevation 9400 feet) and pretty much did nothing that night after making the almost 600 mile drive

on the 2nd day we wanted to go to the Maroon Bells and do some hiking, but the only way to get down there is by shuttle bus and and neither of us were to excited to do that, so instead we stopped by the forest service office to get some info on other hikes and ended up hiking to Cathedral Lake (elev. 11,866 feet) it wasn't a very long hike, only 2.5 miles one way, but we gained 2000 feet elevation in that span, the views were absolutely gorgeous, we started a bit late in the day to do the hike all the way to Electric Pass

the 3rd day we got up and headed up Independence Pass to stake out a spot for the race and ended up about 100 yards down the Gunnison side where we could see 3 of the switchbacks, the crowds on the summit were crazy, there were about 3,000 people within the last 200 meters of the summit, just like the scene on summits of the Tour de France, with just one lane wide enough for the riders and then having to jump out of the way of the cars

on the summit were the following.....a guy dressed as a female sumo wrestler, the Vail bunny, 2 guys and 2 girls dressed up as cowboys and cowgirls riding stick horses with bull whips, cookie monster, a 4 piece bluegrass band, a gorilla, a chicken, a bee, a guy in lederhosens and a giant cowbell, and of course jimi hendrix, and that was just within 100 yards of the summit

went into Aspen following the race and just hung out and have some dinner and a few drinks before heading home the next day

here are some pics from the trip, hope you guys enjoy them, if you ever have the chance to visit this area, i highly recommend it

my hammock setup, hennessey ultralite explorer and warobonnet bmj about 10mi. down for independence pass colorado

the gf's hyperlite with my bigger explorer tarp

on the way up to cathedral lake

cathedral lake, the water was crystal clear

view for the top of independence pass

just one of the switchbacks on independence pass the cyclists had to climb

fans on top of independence pass for the pro cycling challenge, this was about 3 hours before the cyclist arrived, lots more people showed up by the time the race arrived

some of the campers that spent the night on top of independence pass for the race, this is about 1/3 that camped out