On the trail: Red Hill goes white | AspenTimes.com

On the trail: Red Hill goes white

Janet Urquhart
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado

CARBONDALE – There are two mistakes I won’t make again on Red Hill near Carbondale. The first is taking the dog up there in the summertime. The second is forgetting traction devices of some sort for my boots in the wintertime.

Red Hill is an extremely popular collection of trails with mountain bikers and hikers in the summertime. It’s an ide­al spot for a quick bit of exercise for midvalley denizens, but the arid hillside sports plenty of cactus in the trees and the dog invariably winds up with a chunk of it in a paw.

As a result, she only gets up there on occasion in midwinter, when there’s enough snow on the ground to cover the red dirt and rock – and the cac­tus, assuming it lurks somewhere beneath winter’s mantle.

In my view, Red Hill is at its best when it’s white anyway, and it couldn’t have been prettier on Sunday after­noon, with fresh snow coating the landscape and more coming down, frosting the gnarled pinion, or juniper, or whatever it is. Tree identification isn’t my strong suit.

Neither, apparently, is negotiating a slick, downhill trail in boots that have nothing worth boasting about in the way of tread. I slipped a bit heading up, and I cursed myself from the get-go for forgetting the pair of Stabilicers that should’ve been attached to my feet.

I braced for a luge run on the downhill return, but the fresh snow gave me at least some purchase.

It was all too picturesque, I guess. The dog romped delightedly down the trail, and I picked my way along behind her, admiring the beauty of it all. Next thing I knew, I was exploring the splendor of the place up close. One foot slipped off the edge, and I came down hard on my hip and wrist.

This kind of event reminds me that the day is too quick­ly approaching when I may not be able to pick myself up, dust myself off and stumble on my way. My knee felt a bit tender, but we made it down without further incident.

Well, except for the dog and that severed deer head. I can only assume this makes her feel as giddy as I might if I found a $100 bill protruding from the snow. I know I’d want to pick it up and carry it home.


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