On the Trail: A first ascent | AspenTimes.com

On the Trail: A first ascent

Rich PearceSpecial to The Aspen Times

I had been planning some sort of hike for the weekend, but was having trouble deciding where to go because the weather had been so cold and dreary. I didn’t want to get stuck somewhere in the boondocks, miserable and wet, wishing that I had not wasted my time in a vain attempt to get a good workout while trying to enjoy the beauty of the valley. Besides, I was really looking forward to scrubbing the toilet and folding my laundry.I definitely wanted to get outdoors to work off some of the extra couch-potato fluff that that had accumulated from days of relative inactivity, so I had to come up with something. My friends suggested the Ute Trail. They told me that it’s close, it’s steep, and it’s short enough to leave you with enough time to do more exciting things like sweeping the floor, rearranging the junk collection and staring at unpaid bills. I know it’s hard to believe, but I’ve lived in Aspen all my life and have never hiked that trail. I thought that it was a popular trail because it seemed to be kind of the “in” thing to do for overzealous soccer moms and yuppies trying to make a good impression on their friends. This made it unappealing to me for a long time, but eventually I succumbed to some good-natured prodding. I’m glad I did.As we started out the clouds began to lift, the sun came out, and I decided that these were signs that I should be open-minded about the hike. We ascended the switchbacks of the trail at a moderate pace, while I looked for the soccer moms, but we only ran into a couple of fit-looking solo hikers and a father-and-son duo from New York. I thought that maybe this wouldn’t be so bad after all. By the time we reached the end of trail, we were warm and dry, and we had not run into any yuppies. I was a little tired, but I was energized by the beautiful views of Aspen Mountain, the town, Independence Pass and the Roaring Fork Valley.After taking in the scenery and fulfilling the picture requests of our new friends from New York, we quickly descended the trail so that I would have enough time to do my chores. I decided to battle the crowd of soccer moms downvalley and shopped for cool new shoes instead. I guess the bills and floor will just have to wait until next weekend.