For our third full day in the high country the main goal was outdoor cooking. We love cooking on open fires. In the Rockies this comes with special responsibilities as the area is very prone to wildfires. Dry air, a preponderance of downed timbers, landscape and winds all mean it is everyone’s responsibility to prevent fires.
This meant always having water on hand, dousing the area around the fire pit with water and always keeping an eye on the fire danger (high) and attending the fire. The preponderance of timber also was a fun opportunity: making our favorite butter chicken on a fire made entirely of scavenged downed timber (added benefit of, even if insignificantly, reducing the fuel load. I use the New York Times recipe with some twists, and I also greatly increase the cooking times in the Dutch oven. This means the chicken thighs start to fall apart.
Soon highway 82 was replete with aromas of turmeric, ginger, garlic, cumin etc… To top it off Louise prepared dough for naan which we threw in a cast iron pan on the coals. They were perfect. And while lunch (plus dinner, plus what will be snacks the next day_ was cooking I wandered around and snapped macros of the amazing wildflowers on Lois and Bob’s property.
Tummies full and the fire well and truly out (and hands washed after touching the coals to make sure it was truly out) we jumped in the car and headed for today’s outing: Independence Pass! When we were in Breckenridge a few years ago we discovered Louise is particularly prone to altitude sickness and her “line” is around 12,000 feet. So heading up to the pass at 12,112 feet, 3692 meters for the metrically inclined, we took it easy. This meant stopping at many of the turnouts to enjoy the view. It was worth it!
The view from the pass is spectacular. On the way back down, we stopped at a trail head and did a very short (~2km) hike enjoying alpine flowers and bubbling streams. I find it amusing that a quick trip to 12,000 feet somehow makes the air at 10,000 feet seem that much more breathable!