On day three of our trip, we covered a lot of ground. We slept in a little bit (being on the road wears you out!) but we were off to Aspen Mountain before the afternoon. We were able to ride the gondolas all the way to the top. The scenery and atmosphere was so wonderful, I never wanted to leave. The ride on the gondola was a nice slow ride, and gave the best view of Aspen right behind us.
When we stepped off of our ride, we were at an elevation of 11,000 feet. The air was so fresh, and the smell was amazing. We headed straight for the mountain top restaurant, as planned, and ate the cheesiest and most delicious pizza I’ve ever tasted. I love New York style pizza, and it was the best treat to enjoy as we looked across the stunning view of the surrounding mountains and valleys. After we had our fill, we enjoyed a few games of checkers while we waited for the next nature tour to begin.
On the nature tour, we learned about how most of the valleys were formed, the types of mines Aspen used to have, and how to tell the difference between a Fir and a Spruce tree. Even though I had taken the tour before a few years ago, it was still enjoyable. (Most likely because the view was amazing.☺)
After a lovely few hours atop the mountain, we headed down in search of a delicious snack. We were suggested an ice cream place called Paradise. After walking up and down on the same road for about 10 minutes, we actually found one of the hardest license plates. Alaska. I was a little too excited to cross it off our list of plates, and snapped a picture for my app. Finally, after more confusion from the Apple Navigation, we found the place a few steps further than the pin point on the map. It was nestled in between a few shops, a tiny bakery, and it was packed full of people. We ordered a few scoops of ice cream and a sugar cookie. I have to tell you, if you ever visit Aspen, Colorado, you need to stop by Paradise. It was the best ice cream I have ever had in my life. I had a scoop of mango gelato while Riley had the usual vanilla, and they were just so perfectly soft, yet not melting, and not too cold. The flavor was so delicious, we ate them both right away. When we finished our mouth watering treats, we decided to head to the Maroon Bells for sunset.
We arrived at the shuttle station, thinking we could only take a bus, and we were told we could just drive ourselves, but the gates closed at 6:00 pm, in just 5 short minutes. So we skipped the fees and ran back to our car to try to make it before they closed. It was just a few miles away, but it took us about 20 minutes to actually arrive! Colorado is full of winding roads that you forget how long it takes you to get to places because you have to drive so slow. When we finally reached the gates, we were surprised to find out that it was still open, and I don’t even think it closes until nightfall because there are campsites there. Regardless, we arrived with plenty of sunlight to spare. It was pretty cloudy and sprinkling a bit when we got there, but one thing we learned on our nature tour was that the weather in Colorado changes so quickly, we weren’t really worried.
And we were right not to be because, in less than ten minutes, the weather cleared up above us, and gave us some nice light to explore by. The view at the bells is so beautiful and breathtaking, it almost looks as if you’re staring at a painting, Most of the views near Aspen look that way it seems. We took some nice shots while enjoying our surroundings, and we even walked on a few trails around the area. We even found a few geese just relaxing by the water with their little goslings. It was such a peaceful sight, I didn’t want to leave.
As the sun started setting. we made our way back to the hotel in Snowmass where we walked to the mall and enjoyed a few hamburgers, then relaxed in the hot tub for a while. The day was very fulfilling and I was so happy to be back in Aspen. We talked about our plans for the next day, and finally got some shut eye.