On the Trail: The hike from hell | AspenTimes.com

On the Trail: The hike from hell

Carolyn Sakariason
The Aspen Times
Aspen CO, Colorado

ASPEN ” I’m a bit unstable these days, both physically and mentally, which can be the only explanation for my asinine decision to hike Aspen Mountain with a sprained knee and ankle, and a broken finger.

I have been dealing with physical ailments for weeks and have been quite frustrated that I haven’t been able to burn off my stress or calories. So I decided that a hike up Ajax via the Ute and Gent’s Ridge would be a great way to spend a Monday morning. I figured that I’d just take the gondola down and not put too much strain on my injured left knee and right ankle.

But based on bad information from either the Skico or my friend, I learned that the gondola wasn’t running when I got more than half way up. It didn’t occur to me to look to my right to see the gondola, or perhaps call to confirm it was running.

I figured my body parts might hurt a bit going up but attempting to be a die-hard athlete, I’d just work through the pain. And I certainly did when it came time to start walking down the mountain.

What was supposed to be a quick hour and a half hike with a 15-minute gondola ride turned into an all-day excursion. And I missed my first physical therapy appointment.

Me and my friend, who is recuperating from ACL surgery this past spring, decided that taking the road down would be the safest. Not only was that the stupidest decision, our thought of cutting through Spar Gulch was even worse. I felt like I was 80 years old walking down loose rock and scree for two hours.

By the time we got to Kleenex Corner, we just wanted be back at our cars so we took the closed road east of Little Nell. We came upon a bulldozer who was chewing up the road and making the rock even more unstable. What’s more, he had stirred up a massive nest and hundreds of bees were swarming. It forced us to bushwhack along the hillside.

I had remarkably remained unscathed until near the bottom when I fell on my hand and slammed my broken finger into the ground. I laid there unable to move for what seemed like forever.

I picked my sorry ass up and finally made it home, where I immediately hit the hot tub, drank a beer and watched Oprah from the couch with a bags of frozen edamame on all three body parts.

Guess I should have listened to the powers that be that obviously told me to slow down.


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