Wildflower Hiking in Colorado

I found myself committing to the holy grail of Colorado wildflower hikes this summer — the 11.5 miles from Crested Butte to Maroon Lake over West Maroon Pass. That meant a lot of training hikes to get myself ready — Shrine Pass, Mount Goliath (from the bottom to the top and then another mile and a half up the road to Mt. Evans and then backdown again!), a couple of hikes up and around Summit County, pre-fires, luckily, and some early summer hikes in Boulder. I highly recommend a summer like this. I saw a ton of wildflowers, got in shape and reconnected in a way I had not in a long time to the beauty of the Colorado backcountry in summertime.
Nothing prepared me, though, for the spectacularity of the grand finale. From the moment the shuttle dropped us off at the trailhead, it was a carpet of wildflowers as far as the eye can see. Those among us who can, must do this hike. It was 3.5 hours to the top for someone stopping to take pictures every 5 minutes. The walk down was longer and harder, but the scenery was very beautiful and the wildflowers were still there to see, just not in such abundance.  Here are some links for anybody interested for next summer. My plan, on the other hand, is to rent a place for a week in Crested Butte in July to try all of the other hikes in that basin.
Shuttle we used: Maroon Bells Shuttles.  Seriously, a young lady dropped us off at the trail, took my keys, drove the car to Aspen Highlands and handed the keys back to me as I was making my way down the trail to Aspen; she was running back to Crested Butte! Who are these people?
Cute motel we stayed in: Old Town Inn. Not fancy, but very friendly and just right for a one night stay. Plenty of restaurants in town for carbo-loading. We stayed a night in Aspen after the hike. A four-hour car drive to Denver after finishing was the last thing on our minds. Also, do this mid-week. I can’t imagine what the crowds are like on the weekend, particularly as you get closer to Maroon Lake and the flip-flops and Crocs become the hiking footwear of choice…