On the hill: A tale of two ‘hikes’

Jeanne McGovern
The Aspen Times

I usually spend Labor Day weekend in Aspen, enjoying the JAS concerts, volleyball and some local fun.

This year, my family decided to mix it up and escape to the Front Range.

I know, it sounds strange to “escape” to the city. But sometimes, it really is an escape to get off the island of Aspen.

And while down the hill this past weekend, I’d say I experienced two very different outdoor experiences.

The first was a hike (a real hike) in Elk Meadow Park in Evergreen. The trail we found ourselves on was a perfect Saturday morning stroll that snaked around the open space. Next time, when I literally have more time, I’ll opt out of looping immediately back to the trailhead and head up to Bergen Peak. My friend who lives in the area says it offers even more spectacular views of the Continental Divide, and since it’s a bit more rigorous (4.7-miles with a 2,100-foot elevation gain to the 9,708-foot summit), it is likely less crowded than the lower trails.

The second “hike” was in the urban jungle of Denver’s Civic Center park for the Taste of Colorado. While I wasn’t sporting a pedometer or FitBit watch of any type, I’d guess we marched a few miles around the hundreds of food vendors, artisan booths, carnival rides, music stages and more over two days. Mind you, the paces I clocked did nothing to counter the calories I consumed (yes, I ate a giant turkey leg, ear of corn and fried Oreos — and yes, I chased them down with a few cold beers).

All in all, a different Labor Day weekend for this Aspenite, with two very different “hikes.” I think I’ll do it all over again next year.