On the trail: Redstone secret
June 11, 2011
REDSTONE – I always enjoy going somewhere I’ve been many times before and stumbling across something new and unexpected.
So it was this week in Redstone, when, on a whim, I walked up the road that passes by the Redstone Inn, fully expecting to encounter a dead end or a driveway on the hillside shortly beyond the hotel.
Instead, I found what appeared to be a private gravel road, but a sign indicated walkers were welcome, so I started walking. I wound up heading north on Firehouse Road, on the hillside to the east of Redstone Boulevard, the town’s main street. I quickly encountered several interestingly designed historic homes that I had not known existed, including one that was Redstone’s firehouse in an earlier era.
A local told me later that these homes, aside from the firehouse, belonged to people like the mine foreman and other management types back when Redstone got its start as a coal mining town more than a century ago.
The road forked, leaving me with the first of many unexplored side routes, and then stopped abruptly, turning into a well-maintained, but very narrow single-track trail.
I kept heading north (the direction of Carbondale) through this clearing in the tall grass and rustling aspens. I was just above the town, but rarely aware of it.
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A side trail cut up toward a wide cliff band that I could see above me in the distance, and I suspect it led to the winter ice-climbing area known as The Drool, but there were no signs, anywhere. If the trail I was on has a name, I don’t know what it is, though it’s no doubt well known and used by the local populace.
I suspect one of the side trails also accesses Redstone Boulders, a popular bouldering area with those who know how to get there. I never saw a sign for that either. I finally diverted down a little-used path that dumped me back on Redstone Boulevard, well north of the actual town.
I was told later the trail would have taken me all the way to the Redstone Campground, but when I drove through the campground, looking for an actual trailhead, I struck out.
I’m adding this Redstone secret to my lengthy list of unfinished explorations.