Letter: Still lots to love | AspenTimes.com

Letter: Still lots to love

Two recent letters to the editor (“Toll of development,” The Aspen Times, Sept. 4; and “Nature, affluence do not mix,” The Aspen Times, Sept. 10) comment on the current Roaring Fork Valley culture and how it is impacted by affluence and “the self-centered, pushy crowd of today.”

Speaking as the Aspen wannabe that I am, a person fortunate enough to venture into the valley maybe two or three times a year, the culture and attitudes here are still special enough to keep bringing me back. As the Tait Anderson letter stated, “It is a matter of perspective.” I can only provide you mine.

Two weeks ago, I was in town as part of the Roaring Fork Outdoor Volunteers. We were clearing the Lost Man Trail and improving lake access. David, head of the association, was considerate enough to pick me up from Difficult Campground. He also advised me to get to Aspen and get “climatized” before embarking on the relatively steep 41/2-mile trek toward the mountaintop lake. It didn’t help. I was at wit’s end about four hours into the climb when the Aspen fairy godmother sent two of her finest to rescue me — and nothing less than world-class athletes! Mark and Kristen, who were hiking down, volunteered and proceeded to run my shovels up to the distant signpost for me. They also gave me the encouragement and the push I needed to make it another 11/2 miles to the campground.

Two days later, after our work was completed, I knew I needed to lighten the weight in my backpack. I tried to give away my bulky canvas Coleman pup tent (circa 1974), but nobody wanted it. Andrew accepted my old, heavy Boy Scout hatchet (all iron) and even offered it back to me when we met down at the trailhead.

Earlier this year, late February or early March, with snow on the light side here and with tempertatures nice enough to wear shorts, I was looking for a bike to ride. It was still winter, so rental options were meager. Again, it happens. I run into a young fellow in town on his bike, and I tell him my problem: I need a bike. Sure enough, Josh gets off his bike and says, “Here, take this one.” He just gave me the bike. “Just put it back by the pole when you’re done.” Yeah, I used it several days. No big deal; just another Aspenite treating another human being with respect and generosity.

The whole point is that despite all the development and modifications (well, at least the old house was brought back in front of the gargantuan going up on Garmisch), there’s still a community of people here, many of whom have worked hard to stay and don’t take it for granted.

It’s the gift of Aspen. As long as I have a seemingly endless supply of Aspenites on call to pass on their positive energy, I will continue to be cheered upon passing that old roundabout.

John Cotromanes

Wheaton, Illinois

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