On the trail: On an old favorite with an old friend | AspenTimes.com

On the trail: On an old favorite with an old friend

Janet Urquhart
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO, Colorado
Janet Urquhart The Aspen Times

ASPEN – I took an old friend to an old hangout Sunday morning.

The dog and I hit the Hunter Creek Trail near Aspen, a place I used to frequent long before she came into my life. I drove Red Mountain Road to the parking lot on the edge of the national forest, a small spot designated for seniors and the disabled. Everyone else is supposed to hike in from elsewhere. Kali, I reasoned, is a senior and somewhat disabled.

A bad shoulder has ended her days of serious hiking. She’s a big dog and just turned 12 in April. Her heart is in it, but her body can’t handle a climb or steep downhill anymore. I figured driving up to where the valley flattens out into a long, easy stroll would make her happy. Boy, did it.

I used to think the Hunter Creek Valley was a good place to take a date. If the person wasn’t as enamored as I with the place, it probably wasn’t going to work out. Kali, whom I’d already pegged as a keeper, acted the way I might act if I won a free trip to Paris.

With a wagging tail and perky gait, she trotted off like she owned the place. She inspected every relic of a building still standing along the trail, plus the ones in ruins, just like I did on my first visit.

We crossed the bridge over Hunter Creek near the old dam so she could swim in the calm pool behind it while I sat in the grass – a spot where I used to spend plenty of time contemplating life’s unexpected turns.

I think dogs can teach people a lot about living in the moment. She was utterly happy, and I was thankful I’d scuttled a long list of chores around the house to take her someplace new to her and special to me.

I don’t think I do that often enough. I don’t think she thinks I do, either.


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