On the Trail: Holding up the rear | AspenTimes.com

On the Trail: Holding up the rear

Katie Redding
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado

BASALT ” If the Town to Town Tour were a race, I’d have claimed last place. Not middle-of-the-pack, not nearly last. Dead last.

Maybe starting more than an hour late should have disqualified me in the first place. To some degree, the late start was by intention, an attempt to avoid displaying my poor kick-and-glide skills in front of hundreds of über-nordic skiers.

There also is no express bus from Carbondale to Aspen midmorning on a Saturday, and it turned out the friend I’d decided to ski with hadn’t waxed her skis in 20 or so years. It also probably didn’t help that I helpfully suggested she use my kick wax on her waxless skis, further hampering her ability to actually move in a forward direction.

It was a beautiful day, however, and neither of us were in much of a hurry. I was seeing most of the trail for the first time, and several dedicated aid-station volunteers waited patiently with chocolate and water for us, declining to mention that we were well outside their estimated times.

By Old Snowmass my friend decided she’d had enough of slogging, and called for a ride back to Aspen. So I finished the last few miles through Snowmass Canyon on my own, in the deepening shade, on what was by then fast snow. I wasn’t tired, and I realized I ought to hurry up and get to Basalt High School and let these poor volunteers go home. Relative to my earlier pace, I virtually flew into Basalt.

By the time I arrived, the volunteers were folding up the chairs and packing up the goody bags ” but I managed to snag one, and a huge plate of cold lasagna, salad and all the brownies I could carry.

On the way home, I vowed, as I always do when I finish a course, to show up for organized events that force me to go farther ” in new directions ” more often. Or at least, for the love of god, to explore more trails on my own, instead of wearing a groove a mile deep in the Rio Grande Trail from Carbondale to the Catherine Store Road and back again.

Next weekend, I’m at least hauling myself out to Spring Gulch.


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