The secret to successful traveling is flexibility---ONE THING we are is flexible! (Well Sort Of--as long as we get to do what we want to do at some point in time).  Jim makes an overnight recovery and is up and ready for our usual logger's breakfast, but Cindy is still down for the count.  Let me confess that being OCD as I am--I eat a granola bar for breakfast year round with few exceptions---UNTIL I go off with these people!  I had a breakfast burrito that would have fed the multitudes for Jesus and had several baskets of leftovers on my plate this morning.  We discuss the day's plan over our mounds of breakfast goodies and decide a day hike with acclimation in mind is the way to go.  We also decide to postpone the wilderness trek at least another day  to give Cindy a chance to recover and acclimate.  

We drove from Snowmass to Aspen--a short distance of 10+ miles that can take up to an hour to traverse.  The HORDES are in Aspen---but we want to go by and talk to the Forest Rangers about our hikes and we also have found a short 5-6 mile hike which begins of all places in the  middle of the town of Aspen.  Aspen is know as a quaint resort town where the rich and famous congregate as well as every tourist that has any interest in seeing said rich and famous.  The traffic is WORSE than the beach---if you have been to the beach you KNOW what I am talking about.  The most difficult part of the entire day is negotiating the traffic AND finding a parking place near the trail head. The property owners around the trial head are NOT very generous in sharing their parking.

We finally strap on our day packs and head up the pleasant dirt path leading to a charming bridge that runs by a roaring stream---all picturesque and lovely---THEN we see the path---It consists of a spring snowmelt creek bed FILLED with boulders and rocks of every size and HEADING UP---what seems to be STRAIGHT UP.  The trail takes off immediately and travels up 1000 feet which requires negotiating your footing through the rocks, steep inclines and even steps carved into the rock for a LONG way. You do not just take 1000 steps to go up 1000'----NOTHING as simple as that!   No need for slow immersion here---it is more like jumping into the deep end of the pool at the beginning of summer---sink or swim!

The trail FINALLY levels off in an Alpine meadow which follows the ridge line about mid-point of the side of the mountains.  The path along the meadow is brilliant with summer wildflowers of every description crowding the path as they compete for the sunlight.  I remember the scene at the end of "The Color Purple" where they are running through the field of wildflowers and realize that I am living that scene today as we walk this meadow.    It is a beautiful day with the bluest skies imaginable (have you ever thought about all the shades of blue and their unique beauty?)  ---until around 2:00 PM. The Rockies are notorious for afternoon thunderstorms and the clouds seem to be conspiring to join and treat us to a downpour.  We pick up our pace!

We pass a settler's abandoned cabin complete with barn, corrals and outhouse along the path and enjoy speculating about who, why, and when as we look at their crumbling remains.  The trail makes a circle and we find ourselves with a couple of options to return to our vehicle.  I vote we not add more mileage since the altitude and my HUGE breakfast that I enjoyed have conspired to create a rolling stomach.  It looks like a race to see what erupts first--the thunderstorm or my stomach, but I go down that trail much faster than I came up!

Not the Cabin We Saw--But Close

The hike ends with Sonja and Jim soaking their feet in the snowmelt stream which is ice cold, but always so refreshing to tired feet.  Today's acclimation hike was difficult--even with only a 5-6 pound day pack.  I am wondering just how difficult it will be with BB on my back.  We have planned another acclimation hike for tomorrow, so another day to get prepared.  I spent my day knowing that God is all around me up here and thanking Him over and over for the majesty of His creation!

The scenery always makes climb SO worthwhile!

Look at this small example and think of the meadow filled with this and so many more!

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