Nature’s way to Aspen |

Nature’s way to Aspen

Dustin Racioppi
Vail correspondent
Aspen, CO Colorado
CVR B.C. to Aspen KA 03-17-09

BEAVER CREEK, Colo. ” Jason Schlarb and Mike Devloo are taking the shortcut to Aspen. At the same time, they’re taking the long way to Aspen.

The friends made the decision months ago that they would make the unconventional trek to Colorado’s other world’s most famous ski town, and on Tuesday they boarded the Westin’s Riverfront Express gondola at Beaver Creek to begin the anticipated 5-day trek.

Each armed with 40-pound backpacks, skis, maps and GPS units, the duo is ready for, at the very least, an adventure skiing, hiking and camping.

“If there’s a combination of what it’s going to be ” ‘Real World,’ ‘Survivorman’ and ‘The Blair Witch Project,'” said Devloo, 26.

Devloo and Schlarb will have a video camera with them to capture the adventure, and they plan on showing the film back in Beaver Creek on April 25.

On Tuesday, the two men were jovial and lighthearted, yet determined. Devloo knew that the first two days ” getting up Grouse Mountain, particularly ” would be the hardest part of the journey. He’s been in parts of the area during the summer and has an idea of what to expect.

“There’s a lot of wilderness,” he said. “It’s super rugged.”

For the approximate 30-mile trip, Devloo and Schlarb plan to log eight to 10 miles a day. They’re ready for the long haul, though, with all the necessities: Dehydrated food, a stove, sleeping bags, candles and a tent. Outside of that, they’re on their own.

“There’s going to be a lot of things ” going around features, going up, going down,” Schlarb, of Boulder, said.

They have a hotel room booked for Saturday in Aspen. And Schlarb’s wife will be there to pick them up, though he did give her the GPS way points where the men would be if anything bad or unexpected should happen along the way.

“We have way points every six miles, so it’s not too much of a range to find us,” Schlarb said.

And as an added precaution, Schlarb and Devloo bought search and rescue cards Tuesday morning.

The two are confident that they won’t need them and they’ll be celebrating in Aspen come Saturday.

Then they’ll take the long way back home.

“Just to do a one-way trip is really cool ” being out there by ourselves and doing one-way,” Schlarb said. “To not go back at all, you rarely do that.”

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