On the Trail: In full bloom

Carolyn Sackariason
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado
Carolyn Sackariason/The Aspen Times Flowers are in full bloom along Sunnyside Trail, the trees on the valley floor are budding and the snow has almost disappeared from the slopes of Aspen Mountain.

ASPEN ” Trail running at dawn can give you a peaceful, easy feeling. Unless you’re afraid of lions, tigers and bears.

It was 6 a.m. and I contemplated whether I should drag my butt up Sunnyside Trail near Aspen. I debated internally with myself about whether I should do the mundane and boring Smuggler. Then I thought of Hunter Creek, but it’s too wet.

My reservation with all early morning outings is that the wildlife is most active at that time of day and with last year’s sightings of a mountain lion near Stein Park and on McLain Flats, I was hesitating. At least Smuggler and Hunter Creek are well traveled and any human activity would likely scare off any four-legged evildoers.

But I said the hell with it and made my way up Sunnyside anyway. It was the best decision of the week. Besides the fact that I didn’t see a single soul up there, the flowers along the trail are going off right now.

It’s always a gamble to write about a place or experience so special, but since it’s a public trail, it’s bound to get traffic as the weather warms up.

I didn’t get eaten by a mountain lion and I didn’t get spooked by a bear. But I did bite it while running down. I tripped over a boulder and went flying sideways off the trail. I rolled a few times through the brush and got myself pretty banged up.

But it’s par for the course ” the only danger out there is myself. My four broken fingers and the scar from 40 stitches in my inner thigh over the past few years are testament to that.

So get out there and enjoy spring in the Rockies. Just watch out for those lions, tigers and bears. And oh no! The boulders.


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