We said goodbye to Roger and headed to Aspen Ridge. This was the trail we'd come for, and we were looking forward to it. We passed by Bassam Park again, and then we headed into the trail to view aspens and find the ghost town of Futurity. Walt remembered seeing a sign for it many years ago, so we kept our eyes peeled.
We came to forest service road 185.C marked only with a carsonite sign. We stopped only for a picture and headed on. When we got to 185.B we thought that might be the road to Futurity so we took it, only to find it ending at the gate for Elk Mountain Ranch. It looked like we would be saving Futurity for our next trip.
There was a bit more traffic on the trail here than we'd seen on the other trails. When we got to Coons Park we headed up to a campsite, hoping for some good views. We definitely found them. We hung out for a while, taking lots of pictures of the snowy mountains to the west and the aspens below and to the south of us. It looked like it was going to be a very scenic trip.
We got back on the trail ahead of a couple vehicles, but then pulled off into another overlook at the seasonal gate. We'd see them a few more times. The overlooks were just too impressive to pass by.
We passed through the seasonal gate, and we would stop another time for pictures. However, we would mostly continue south along Aspen Ridge through aspen trees and between meadows. There were even some rocky spots made more fun by mud and water. We passed a rental car on its way in and we wondered how it would do in the rocks.
There was another overlook at the southern seasonal gate where we stopped for still more scenery. It was a really remarkable trip, and we planned it almost perfectly. We were a little early to see all of the aspens in their yellow glory, but it was nice seeing them mixed with green leaves, too.
In Marble Quarry Gulch the dirt and rocks turned white. We saw a mine off to the left of the trail so we went to check it out. That was a nice diversion. There were two large parking areas at different levels up to the topmost mine, and we stopped at both. There were two old structures and leftovers from two quarries, but there wasn't much to explore. Still, the weather was perfect so we enjoyed the blinding white scenery and surrounding mountains. We also saw new, white poles making a line through the scenery and wondered what they were for.
When we got to the Turret Trail we did that trail and spent some time at the quarry overlook. We aired up there as the sun was going down. Matt and Walt left as soon as they were done, while the rest of us enjoyed the scenery a bit longer. Eventually, everyone was out of the trail in Salida heading back for home.
We had dinner in Buena Vista at the Eddyline Brewery, and it was fabulous. The food was fantastic, the beers were imaginative, and the service was stellar. We'll be back.