On the Mountain: Not just for skiing
ASPEN One of the things that annoys me the most about living in Aspen is that there is just too much to do with not enough time. But I get out there as much as I can and it usually takes the form of being on the lake, river, mountain, golf course and everything in between.This past Sunday, I realized there’s even more going on than I had imagined on top of Aspen Mountain. I remember the days when you’d hike or drive up and sit with a small group of friends drinking a 12-pack and enjoying the serenity of the Elk Mountain Range. It was quiet, and it was nice.But what I found equally nice after my hike up Ajax on an early Sunday afternoon was an active mountain summit, complete with music, kids, dogs and plenty of good times.It had been years since I have hiked Ajax, let alone hung out at the top. It’s no wonder that the Aspen Skiing Co. charges $24 a pop to ride the gondola. There’s plenty to do up there, and nearly all of it’s free. I sent my mother, visiting from Minnesota, up the gondola while I sweated it out on the trail. Not much has changed on the ground, although it was a pleasure to see Aspen Mountain from a perspective other than flying at Mach speed on my skis. However, I wasn’t as pleased with my time since I toted along my housemate’s dog, Mosley, who huffed and puffed 20 feet behind me the entire time.When I finally got to the top, I was amazed at the all of the activity. Tourists, locals, dogs, kids. They were all there enjoying the mountain. Some were fumbling around the world’s highest official disc golf course; others were just hanging out visiting with one another.I found my mother inside the Sundeck jamming out to a bluegrass band a Sunday event throughout the summer. On Saturdays, the Aspen Music Festival performs its own repertoire of classical music.Although I typically don’t like to be around a lot of children, their laughter and screaming that day wasn’t as annoying as it normally would be. They were having a great time. A quick look on the Internet revealed to me that there’s plenty of fun to be had up there: the Eurobungy trampoline, the climbing wall, the obstacle course and about a dozen other activities. It’s a good bang for your buck. But I still prefer to work for it by crawling at a Portuguese water dog’s pace.