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Conquering Mount Sopris near Basalt, CO.

Jessica.Olson's picture

Thomas Lakes: CARBONDALE CO - Thomas Lakes as view upon the climb to the summit of Mount Sopris.Thomas Lakes: CARBONDALE CO - Thomas Lakes as view upon the climb to the summit of Mount Sopris.At the top of the mountain there were several windblockers built from the stones. Our group discovered two memorials, one to a young man who died in an attempt to ski one of the slopes of Mount Sopris and another to a man whose ashes had been scattered from the summit. Another group summited while we were taking in the view, and we quickly realized that both of our groups included a Colby College alumnus. As they reminisced and took photos I looked around, orienting my position in the Roaring Fork Valley and in the state based on the peaks and highways I could see from this point. I believe I could see all the way to the Lone Cone in the southwestern corner of Colorado! The yellow and orange of the aspen leaves contrasted beautifully with the deep forest green of the pine trees and the cerulean sky. A recent dusting of snow made the surrounding peaks an even more majestic sight. Large birds soared above and below us. A group of smaller birds flitted by, diving towards the rocks on face of Mount Sopris.

After several pictures and a lot of relaxation, we forced ourselves to begin the long trek down. We went through the scree field to tree line and through the trees to Thomas Lakes. The sun still peeped over the peak, so we decided to swim in the icy cold water. One dunk underneath was enough to refresh us, and we continued on wearing our warmest clothes with our wet clothes dangling from our backpacks. The end of the hike seemed to stretch forever as we anticipated a warm car and the burgers and beers we would eat when we reached town. The light filtered through the yellow aspens and surrounded us in an unearthly glow. We popped out from the trees and into the parking lot just in time to see the sky turn pink and orange in a stunning sunset to cap an incredible day.