On the Trail: A long way to Cathedral Lake | AspenTimes.com

On the Trail: A long way to Cathedral Lake

ASPEN ” So many things to do, so little time.

That’s what my little voice says when I feel guilty about not adventuring to new places in the backcountry.

After living here on and off for 13 years, you would think I would have hiked the Cathedral Lake trail south of Aspen at least once. But it wasn’t until this past Saturday that I made my first acsent. During the 1990s, I didn’t hike anywhere, let alone exercise. I was 60 pounds heavier and had no desire to gain elevation. But then I got smart and prescribed to daily exercise. I tend to hike in the same places. When I make it out to the Castle Creek Valley, I always pull off first at American Lake. I love that hike and used to do it routinely.

But it was time to venture further. Two friends and I made it to the top of Cathedral in relatively good time. Unfortunately, there were dozens of people on the trail so it made the climb not as serene as I would have liked.

Winter is setting in up there ” the lake was iced over, all of the leaves are gone, leaving the tree stands gray and bare, and snow has accumulated from the upper switchbacks to the top.

What’s nice about Cathedral is that for most of the hike, there is a stream that runs along the trail. Fast moving water, waterfalls and a long drop to the valley floor looked to be the perfect ride for an old friend of mine.

I had brought the last of the ashes I had from my canine friend Libra, who left us earlier this year. I sat on a log at the top over calm waters and emptied the bag. Libra’s dust lingered in the sun and then settled in the stream. Hopefully she had, or is still having, the ride of her life.


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