Devil’s Punchbowl Grottos, Aspen

Nervously watching Wade as he jumped into the Devil’s Punchbowl

Devil’s Punchbowl Grottos, Aspen

Baddy and I were both exhausted last weekend and the idea of a camping trip was slightly daunting. We decided to have an evening in our comfortable beds and drive up to meet our friends up in the high country on Saturday morning.

As we drove up Lincoln Creek Road off Independence Pass, not made for those of us who get car sick, I reminded Wade of when he took me four wheeling up there when I was seven months pregnant. I was jostled around so much I thought the baby was going to break loose from its amniotic sac. Come to think of it, maybe that explains Thumper’s odd behavior.

We got to the spot and Baddy began to set up the camper with Thumper’s assistance. I snuck away to get a few precious minutes of reading. Growing up with a father who yelled a lot and now with three boys, I am pretty good at tuning things out but a cry and, “My tooth, my tooth,” permeated through my barrier and I jumped up. Thumper was in tears with half a tooth exposed. My first thought, which scared me a little, was to look at my watch to document how quickly it took for an accident to happen. Apparently, as Thumper was helping Baddy, a bar swung down and smashed into his lower tooth.

We were lucky that the nerve was not exposed and we didn’t have to pack up and go home. With Thumper drooling, we put on our bathing suits and rode our mountain bikes down to the “Devil’s Punchbowl”. The menacing name is attributed to the deep and narrow plunge into an icy creek. The adrenaline rush does not end once you have committed to the jump but continues as you experience the onset of hypothermia and just when you think it is over and you have reached your climax of senses, you have to climb your way out, at least that’s how the story goes.

Jumping into the Devil’s Punch Bowl

Envisioning the boys following in their father’s footsteps when they become teenagers, I had that conversation with Baddy about leading by example…and so on and so…but try that he might to resist temptation, he had to take the leap. The punch bowl is a right of passage for native Aspenites and it is without doubt that the boys will be taking the plunge regardless and….it’s in their genes…on the Livingston side.

Devil's Punchbowl Grottos, Aspen
Devil's Punchbowl Grottos, Aspen

Devil's Punchbowl Grottos, Aspen

Big Air Brev was not happy about his father’s leap but Axel, normally cautious, was egging Wade on. Later, they happily discovered their own mini jump and plunged their hearts away. I battled with the urge to challenge my wimpy self but my sensibilities and fears far outweighed my latent crazy desires. I’m sure it would have done me good to eject my bordering insanity into the chilly waters.

We fully enjoyed our experience out in the wilderness with our friends and family and returned home replenished with a newly fueled thirst for adventure. It was so worth our efforts to take the time to pack and drive up to enjoy the mountains and I am ready to do it all over again. Perhaps next time I’ll bring some EMT friends along.

tired boys






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