TRAVELS WITH TAYLOR STEINBERG: Broadening your music and scenic horizons

For all of you hoping to experience two of the greatest pleasures in life, why not visit Aspen, Colorado for a few days in July and August. We attended concerts at the 2021 Aspen Music Festival and School by aspiring young musicians from current and future symphony orchestras from throughout the world. We enjoyed numerous concerts along with some of the finest scenery in Colorado. 

Access to Aspen has primarily two choices, driving or flying. Driving was a challenge this summer with the closing of Interstate 70 just east of Glenwood Springs. The Grizzly Creek Fire burned the Glenwood Canyon walls in 2020 consuming most of the vegetation. With the record amounts of rainfall in July 2021, the mountains around Glenwood Canyon turned into a raging nightmare. The near vertical slopes turned into waterfalls of mud, rock and boulders almost as big as your car closing Interstate 70 with mud and debris. The excessive flooding washed out a section of the eastbound lane eroding concrete and everything supporting the highway into the river. The debris covered the westbound lane with tons of mud, rocks and huge boulders destroying the concrete guardrail. Days of clearing debris by the Colorado Department of Transportation turned into weeks as the rains continued to fall.

So after our needed flight landed in Denver, my wife’s sister joined us as we drove to Aspen via Colorado Highway 285 and US24. Colorado Highway 82 over Independence pass was not suitable for any vehicle over 35’ in length and the fine for disobeying the law was $1600 as posted on highway signs approaching the pass.

Why the desire to get to Aspen while the major access route was closed? My wife’s Great Niece was a student at the Aspen Music Festival and School held annually in July and August. We attended concerts at the Benedict Music Tent, watched Music on the Go and attended a Music on the Mountain concert. Music on the Go performed around the area, in neighboring communities in the Roaring Fork River Valley, local parks, the Saturday Market and numerous other local businesses around town. Simply donate your contribution to the prominently displayed open musical instrument case. Our favorite was the Music on the Mountain performed in an open meadow on top of 11,200 ft. Aspen Mountain, formerly known as Ajax Mountain to the natives. Five horn players entertained about 60 of us with an hour of contemporary, jazz and classical music. Their trombone case collected a great deal of $20s and $50s for this excellent performance with no $1s, $5s or $10s visible in the case. Musicians tell us these voluntary group performances, AKA “Busking” generate some much needed cash. 

After four days of enjoying the ambiance of Aspen, the music and the scenery, Interstate 70 opened one lane eastbound on Saturday, August 14 and we were easily able to make our way back to Denver.  

Photos follow – the first two images are snipped from the Denver Post and the Colorado Dept. of Transportation

The following image of the eastbound lane (lower roadway) of Interstate 70 illustrates the challenges presented to the Colorado Department of Transportation

The left side of the westbound lane (upper roadway) of Interstate 70 with the debris and absence of the highway guardrail washed away. Notice the volume of debris washed into the river.

Five horn players entertaining at the Music on Aspen Mountain with the Aspen Highlands Ski area in the background. Taylor’s photo.

C:\Users\tsteinberg\Pictures\Misc 2021\Music on the Mtn.jpg

Concert venue Benedict Music Tent   Taylor Photo (Photo shop out the little white sign in the grass if desired)

C:\Users\tsteinberg\Pictures\Misc 2021\Benedict Music Tent 2.jpg

Colorado Highway 82 approaching Independence Pass from the east     Taylor photo

C:\Users\tsteinberg\Pictures\Misc 2021\Independence Pass.jpg

Colorado Highway 82 descending toward Aspen     Taylor photo