Last weekend I embarked on a memorable hike. I hiked from Aspen to Crested Butte and then back again...It was a total of approximately 29 miles. I had never gone this far before and was excited to see how fit I really was. I had been going on day hikes with my friend for the last year and felt ready for the challenge of a two day hike.
I went with a fit friend who is great at research and making sure all aspects of the trip were taken care of. It was nice to hand that planning over to someone else. He made sure that there were no weather issues, a hotel room waiting for us at Crested Butte (which is nice after an 8 hour hike) and a shuttle very early the next morning from the comfy hotel back out to our trailhead.
We started out driving up into Maroon Bells outside of Aspen and parked the car overnight. We got our packs, left the car with absolutely no smell of food for bears to try to get at and started to find the trailhead at 7:30 in the morning. From where we had to park, it took over an hour to find the East Maroon trailhead. It was wet walking on a shady, damp path that had fresh bear prints before us! Of course we didn't see a soul for hours while only seeing this fairly big bear print every once and awhile and a sign reminding us that bear canisters were required. There was a lot of hand clapping as we rounded corners or walked down the trail to small stream crossings. Thankfully no bears materialized. It was a gentle ascend for about 4 hours to get to the crest of the trail. The total elevation gain was a little under 3000 feet. As we crested the top, we saw Copper Lake below us. It was beautiful and pristine. we then met up with Triangle pass and followed it downhill toward the Judd Falls where we found the trail to get to the parking lot at Gothic.
Since we didn't know what time we would arrive at the parking lot, we decided NOT to schedule a shuttle but count on good hearts to pick up weary travelers and give us a ride into Crested Butte. We found a young couple who stopped immediately and gave su a ride. It was nice to sit down for a bit on the way into town. There were also beautiful views out the window. The couple was very friendly and helpful and we thanked them for a ride directly to the front door of the hotel.. Funny how getting driven close to your destination makes you thankful even though you just finished walking for 8 hours! We checked into the hotel and I asked the cute, young check girl where the closest ice cream was. It was across the street and they also made sandwiches for our hike back the next day.
We had a terrific dinner at Django's restaurant right downstairs and a great night's sleep waking at 5am to catch Dolly's shuttle service to Sheffield's trailhead for the trip back to our car via West Maroon trail. We got to the start of the trail at 6:56am and within 2 hours peaked at the top of the mountain (12,900ft) by 9am. The rest was pretty much downhill. I felt good after my carbo loading the night before and we were back at the car by 2pm.
I am new at Blogging and can't seem to load all of the wonderful photos I took of the scenery but I did post them on my faceBook page for you to look at.
I recommend trying a hike in beautiful country to reset your attitude. It helped me see what was really important and that most of the things I worried about were small in comparison to this big, beautiful world.