So glad I checked
I’m headed to Crested Butte today for a two-day getaway with friends. Since I’ve never been to the Butte, I logged on to mapquest.com to find the quickest way there.Friends had told me it was about a four-hour trip from Aspen, so you can imagine my surprise when the website said the trip was only 39 miles and would take just a little less than two hours.Something didn’t seem right. The directions said to take Castle Creek Road back to Pearl Pass Road, which would then become an “unnamed road.” Eventually said “unnamed road” would connect with Brush Creek Road and lead me into town.”Is this right?” I asked a fellow employee before I printed out the directions. “Can you really go this way?”This employee came over to look at my monitor, then broke out into fits of laughter – just like you might be doing now if you’re reading this.Finally, after catching his breath, he explained that Pearl Pass is one of the gnarliest jeep trails in the state, and that it’s closed during the winter. He said my Pathfinder probably couldn’t even handle it in the summer.OK, OK, so maybe I should look at a map next time before I get killed using directions from a website that can’t differentiate between a highway and a jeep trail.But I’m not the only one who has made this mistake before. My co-worker then told me about a friend who flew into Denver this January and planned to go over Independence Pass to get to Aspen. “I’m glad I called him before he got too far,” he said.I have a friend who lives in Frisco almost do the same thing when he was coming to Aspen for the Winter X Games. “I’m going to stay in Leadville for the night, then I’ll head over the pass in the morning,” he said innocently.I thought about not telling him otherwise, just to listen to his reaction when he got to the closed gates on the pass.Then again, if my friend at work wouldn’t have helped me, I’d probably be stranded in a snowbank somewhere right now.
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Normalcy will be few and far between this ski season, so Aspen’s Simi Hamilton’s traditional slow start brought a sense of calm to a world that’s mostly in chaos at the moment.