On the trail: Family outing | AspenTimes.com

On the trail: Family outing

Bob Ward
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado

MARBLE, Colo. – A hike with the whole family is always a risky endeavor, so when we left the house an hour late, I shouldn’t have been surprised. And everyone managed to stay cool when our 2-year-old vomited all over himself partway up Highway 133, prompting a stop in Redstone for an emergency cleanup.

But the obstacles continued.

The Subaru was unable to make it to the chosen trailhead in the Lead King Basin, so we rerouted the entire trip. In so doing, we turned a 3- to 4-hour hike into something closer to 6 hours, but we wouldn’t learn that until, well, 6 hours later.

We trudged up the steep North Lost Trail, through mixed, shady woods and lush greenery. There was whining, but not the shrill kind. Just standard requests for food and rest, which we tried to accommodate at half-hour intervals.

There was one especially nice rest stop by a rocky waterfall, and later in the day the wildflowers and high alpine meadows near Arkansas Mountain spurred the fatigued whiners on. But I must admit, it was a tough hike; by the time we reached the last leg of the loop, the Lead King road at the Silver Creek trailhead, it was midafternoon, and we’d climbed nearly 2,000 vertical and covered 7 to 8 rough miles. Not bad for a batch of 6- to 10-year-olds (the 2-year-old puker spent most of his time in a kid-carrier, and managed to hold everything down during the hike.)

The tempo and volume of the whining increased, however, on the way down the dusty, rocky Lead King road – “We’re NEVER going to get there AT ALL!” – but moods brightened at the prospect of dinner and dessert in Redstone. Then we stopped at a stand in Marble and feasted on sweet, cool Palisade peaches. And a quick stop to wade and skip rocks in the Crystal River near the old Marble mill soothed the sore feet.

Fair to say that all suffering was forgotten by the time the soup and pizza appeared on the table at the Crystal Club (pulled pork and beer for mom and dad). And when we bumped into friends at Redstone Park, the day had pretty much morphed into a classic summer Sunday.

Everyone was in bed by 9 p.m. (sorry, no Harry Potter tonight …) and there were only fond “good nights” to be heard.


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