We started our weekend of trails by meeting in Aspen at the base of Aspen Mountain. Everyone was at the meeting place on time and we quickly headed up Aspen Mountain Road, cutting across the ski slopes and starting the Richmond Hill trail. We soon stopped to air down as the road was beating us up at street tire pressures.
We followed Aspen Mountain Road until it became Richmond Hill Road and continued on this road at about 11,000 feet in elevation admiring the views. We soon came to the intersection with Little Annie Basin Road. After a short discussion about continuing on Richmond Hill Road, we opted to save the Richmond Hill trail for another time and drop down into Little Annie Basin instead in order to get to Pearl Pass sooner. The road was wide and smooth, and although 4-wheel drive wasn't required, some opted to stay in low range and let the engine do the braking. We made good time down through the basin, enjoying the views around us. There were quite a few old mining sites and we wondered how the miners fared working at these altitudes. We also wondered if the mines were affected by avalanches as there seemed to be some chutes where avalanches could be likely in the winter.
Several spurs led of the main trail, but these all seemed to lead to private property. In fact, the "No Trespassing" signs seemed almost as plentiful as the wildflowers. After reentering the trees, the road was better maintained with oil on the surface to control dust.
After passing through a small settlement, we were soon at Castle Creek Road. We headed south on this road towards Pearl Pass. There seemed to be some type of bicycle event going on as we met many bicycles on this road. The CB radios came in handy here informing those behind the leader if there was oncoming traffic or bicycles in our lane. It wasn't long before we were at Pearl Pass.