On the Hill: Spring trifecta | AspenTimes.com

On the Hill: Spring trifecta

ASPEN ” When it’s springtime in the Rockies, a man’s mind naturally wanders to ” the great outdoors.

I celebrated the first full day of spring Saturday with a sort of trifecta possible only in the Roaring Fork Valley and a few other places on the planet.

My day started with a skin up Tiehack at Buttermilk. I returned home to take my dog on a 2.5-mile walk in an unbelievably warm late morning. In the early afternoon I topped it off with an easy 75-minute bicycle ride.

I’m not gloating, just noting the wonderful opportunities of the valley.

Skinning conditions were ideal. I’ve gone up Tiehack at least once per week since early December, and it all built up to Saturday’s trip. In my effort to keep Old Father Time at bay (a losing proposition if ever there was one) I try to turn in at least one trip under 43 minutes.

Saturday was the day. The snow was hard, make that rock hard, but the temperature was already 32 degrees when I started up at 8 a.m. so it quickly became sticky enough to let my skins hold on the steeper pitches of a run called Tiehack Trail.

I had the slopes to myself. The warm temperatures allowed me to strip off a usual third layer. And I reminded myself not to ease up on the flats and let my mind wander, like I usually do. The result was a trip up in 42 minutes and 12 seconds on heavy metal.

Ginger, my dog, moped about being left behind so I took her out upon my return. Our favorite route takes us along about a mile of the Roaring Fork River in the midvalley, then along the edge of Crown Mountain Park. I don’t know river ecology all that well, but the bugs were hatching, which I’m sure makes for fat, happy trout after a long winter.

While I’m not quite ready to give up on winter sports, my bike beckoned in early afternoon. From my house at the midvalley subdivision of Sopris Village I was able to use the Rio Grande, Basalt-Old Snowmass, Emma and Willits trails to make a nice little loop with less than a mile on roads.

The trails were surprisingly free of debris, with just a few patches of snow on the Rio Grande that were easily ridable with the fat tires of a mountain bike.

Springtime in the Rockies, indeed.


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