Paul E. Anna: High Points | AspenTimes.com

Paul E. Anna: High Points

Paul E. Anna
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado

One of the great amenities that binds this valley together will play host to a party Saturday as the Roaring Fork Transportation Authority celebrates the anniversary of the completion of the Rio Grande Trail.

The party will be held at the Carbondale Park and Ride lot which is located at the corner of Highway 133 and Village Road. In a show of unity, the mayors of Glenwood Springs and Aspen will race from either end of the trail and meet up at the celebration. While Mayor Mick

Ireland of Aspen has the advantage of a downhill ride to Carbondale, he must cover approximately 30 miles while mayor Bruce Christensen of Glenwood Springs need ride just over 12 miles, albeit uphill miles to reach the Park and Ride Lot.

Those who wish to participate in the race to the middle, as it were, can meet at O’Leary Park behind the Safeway in the Springs at 9:45 a.m. and ride with Mayor Bruce. If you want to ride the downhill portion with Mick your options are to meet at Paepcke Park at 9 a.m. for a ride down Highway 82 before picking up the trail in Woody Creek, meeting the pelota at 9:30 in Woody Creek or joining in at 9:45 in Basalt for the finishing kick. It is a shame that the scheduling of the event conflicts with the 9 a.m. start of the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure but hopefully there will be plenty of folks for both races.

If you haven’t spent much time on the trail it is something to work into your schedule. Though principally designed for the two wheel set, I spent my June running each mile of the trail up and back. It was a revelation.

The downvalley portion from the banks of the Colorado River up to Carbondale parallels the Crystal River for much of the way. It is a gradual uphill that provides terrific vistas over rolling meadows and the greens of the Aspen Glen golf course. Once you get to Carbondale

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There is a mile or so stretch through the back of town and then a great run up Catherine Store Road into the section that sits across the river from the Rock Bottom Ranch. This section, from the Catherine Bridge to Hooks lane is off limits to dogs.

Continuing up you run through the Roaring Fork Club, into Old Snowmass on Lower River Road and finally into Woody Creek. From there to Aspen is the most heavily trafficked portion of the trail but it is beautiful nonetheless.

They say the trail is 44 miles long but I only counted 42 miles from the Two Rivers Park to Heron Park where the final sign reads 42 miles.

Go figure. Anyway running, hiking or riding the Rio Grande Trail is a great way to see the valley.

Back to the party, there will be food drink, music a dunk tank and, of course, fun and frivolity for all beginning at 11 a.m. and lasting until 2 p.m.

Have some fun on the trail.

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