On the Trail: Creek crossing

Marta Darby
Aspen, CO Colorado

I have often wondered why people hike with only one pole. On a hike this weekend from Ashcroft to Independence, I finally found out why: They threw their other one into the woods.

On Saturday morning, a friend and I set out to link the two local ghost towns, Ashcroft and Independence. Starting out down Express Creek Road, we soon came upon our first stream crossing. I pulled out my hiking poles to add a bit of balance to my rock hopping, and after successfully navigating the creek, I attempted to toss my poles back across the creek to my friend.

The first nearly beamed her in the head, and the second arced sharply to the left, almost landing in the for­est.

Within the hour, we came upon our next crossing. Time for toss No. 2.

I collapsed one of my poles and began swinging it back and forth to gain momentum.

“Watch out! I have really bad aim!” I shouted.

I released and watched it sail directly into the scrubby aspen grove below the road ” nowhere near my target.

We spent the next half hour searching for the pole, and I spent the remainder of the 20-mile hike honing my single pole skills and finally understanding why anyone would hike with only one ” it’s because they lost the other pole, likely while trying to toss it across a stream.