Day 5 of 14
Day #5 of our 14er project presented yet another day of travel. Sure, there’s over 50 14ers in Colorado, but in order to keep our hikes around ten miles or less we had to do a little bit of driving. Luckily, this project has helped make our travel days a lot more exciting.
Like any good day, we began with a couple of Americanos from The Coffee Trader (Coffeeshop #5) in Grand Junction. The day-old bin of pastries had a jalapeno and cheese scone that made for a perfect breakfast snack, too. This coffeeshop came highly recommended by our new friends we met at Peach Street Distillery on Day #4.
We took our coffees on the road so we could get an earlier start on the beautiful 23-mile trip through Colorado National Monument on Rim Rock Drive (Scenic Drive #5). We’ve driven by this area countless times over the years, yet never made the short detour to take in the sights. The Colorado National Monument is an incredibly scenic drive with several viewpoints and access to 14 hiking trails. Rim Rock Drive also makes for the perfect roller coaster of a road bike ride.
Unfortunately for us, it was already over 90 degrees when we did the drive and we had a lot of miles to cover after the drive. So, we decided to stay in the truck and only get out at a few of the viewpoints rather than go out on any hikes.
Ultimately, our goal was to arrive at our friend’s house in Aspen where we’d spend the night before getting an early start on our Day #6 14er hikes. Of course, under normal conditions we enjoy veering of course to explore and we’ve been taking that to the extreme during this project.
Rifle Falls State Park is another location we’ve driven by repeatedly over the years, yet never made the effort to visit. Thanks to this project, we finally gave in and made the short detour. The Triple Falls of Rifle Falls State Park (Water Feature #6) gave us the chance to stretch out our legs with a short hike and play around in the nearby limestone caves. On our hike we also came across the Common Sunflower (Wildflower #5).
Finally, it was time for the exciting stuff—a distillery and a brewery! We made our way to Carbondale for a visit to the Marble Distilling Company (Distillery #7) and kicked things off with a few flights of their whiskey products and a few other spirits. The bartender gave us descriptions of each product and eventually introduced us to one of the distillers, Julius.
Julius took us back into the distillery and gave us a private tour where we sampled a few new products straight out of the barrel. While enjoying a soon-to-be-released single malt whiskey a local farmer showed up to enjoy some whiskey and pick up the spent grain from distillation. More-and-more distilleries and breweries are starting to team up with local farmers to use the spent grain as feed for livestock.
Our last stop of the day was Carbondale Beer Works for dinner and beer. Kendrick has been going here for years and says the food has always been great and the beer just seems to keep getting better. After chatting with the bartender and a few friendly locals it was finally time to find a place to lay our heads for the night.
We made our way to Aspen to spend the night in our friend’s driveway. The last few rest days were much appreciated by our bodies, but Day #6 would be a return to the thin air of 14,000+ feet. So, we set our alarms ridiculously early and hit the hay…
Here’s to 9 more days exploring Colorful Colorado…
Info & Links for Day 5 Travels:
(click for more info)
Coffee Shop 5/14: The Coffee Trader
Water Feature 6/14: Rifle Falls
Wildflower 5/14: Common Sunflower
Distillery 7/14: Marble Distilling Company
Brewery 6/14: Carbondale Beer Works
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