Our intention was to take a casual 4 days to cover the roughly 30 mile loop starting in Crested Butte, making its way towards Aspen and back. When we arrived in Crested Butte on Thursday, the forecast for the remainder of the day was rain. It didn't take much convincing for the group to decide that our Thursday would be better spent fueling up and waiting for the weather to pass Our version of fueling up meant more alcohol than anything else. We knew what we were doing, and we knew we'd pay. It was worth it.
Our goal for day 1 (now on Friday) was to make it over West Maroon Pass and then as far as we were able. Our questionable preparation from Thursday made for a rather difficult hike. Underfed and probably under hydrated, several of us struggled. Personally I was a little panic stricken by this: Am I hung over or is this just way harder than I gave it credit for? As it turns out, it would prove to be a healthy dose of both of those things. As we began our ascent up the pass, I distinctly remember feeling the weight of my pack for the first time.
The reward for the long slog over the first of 4 passes were stunning views and a surprising sense of accomplishment. After a rest at the top we hiked down into the valley on the other side and set up camp. Given the loss of an entire day, and the small progress we were actually able to make on Day 1, we had a long day planned for Day 2.
The following are some of my favorite shots of the day. Below this grid are the entirety of the day's photos.
Below are all of the shots from the day.