On the Trail: American Lake
ASPEN I recently hiked American Lake Trail for the first and last time this season.It’s unfortunate, I know. I realized I was three weeks too late when I started the climb and saw that the aspen stands were down to their bare bones. No leaves left up there. It was nothing but gray.After I made the steep climb in less than 30 minutes, I realized while I strolled through the forest, meadows and scree fields that I hadn’t been up to American Lake, outside of Aspen, in at least six years. I had moved away for five long years, and I didn’t get a chance to make it up there when I moved back last fall. When I drove into town last October, winter had already set in. I vowed to myself that I would hike American as much as I could the next summer. Another empty promise to myself.For some reason, I could never make it up to American this summer. I guess it was because of the time commitment during the week, since I spent nearly every weekend this summer either on the golf course or on the river. It’s all about priorities.But last Thursday, I took the day off and made American the first priority. I headed out with the dog in the late morning and took my sweet old time getting there. That’s because I missed the turn on Castle Creek Road and found myself in Ashcroft. Like I said, it’s been a while.I remained disoriented the rest of the hike. Nothing looked familiar on the way up. At every turn, I thought I was at the summit. I estimate that I’ve hiked that trail 100 times over the years, and I couldn’t believe it was unrecognizable to me. When I did eventually make it to the lake, that’s when I remembered why I love the trail so much. The water was crystal clear, and the snowcapped peaks surrounding it were breathtaking. I sat there for a moment, watching the water lap onto the shore and listening to the quietness of the high country.On the way down, I could hear the aspen trees creaking and swaying. In the distance, I swear I heard a bear. The dog did, too. On a trail that is usually full of people, I didn’t see a soul the entire three hours. Who goes up to American when it’s past its prime? Slackers like me.There’s always next summer. Promises, promises.
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User Legend: Moderator Trusted User
RFTA has a bit of a paradox on its hands. The public bus agency doesn’t anticipate it will haul as many passengers this winter but it needs more buses and drivers than ever. Only 15 people are allowed per bus, so that saps resources.