Roger Marolt: The joy of living here is never getting enough
Tourists have it easy. When they get here, they can do just about anything because they have nothing to do. You want to go to the rodeo? Done. How about a Thursday evening concert on Fanny Hill? Book it. Anyone up for a hike? Sure. Let’s just sit around the water fountain on the Aspen mall and eat some ice cream. Why not? Honestly, I think our visitors check the boxes on most everything we have to offer in about four days leaving them with nothing to do but search out the Ice Age Discovery Center, just because.
When you live here, it’s not quite as easy to take advantage of our opportunities. Obviously there’s work. The fact that it eats up a third of every weekday creates some urgency. Then there’s grocery shopping, yard work and possibly straightening up the house a bit now and then to take up another hour or so a day. Combine that with firsthand knowledge of how short local summers are and its enough to induce a panic attack.
I’ll give you a real life example of how this plays out. We had been trying to get up to Elk Camp to ride the alpine slide last week. We couldn’t make it happen, even though it was free! One day we went hiking. Another day we went skiing on Independence Pass. There was birthday party and then a birthday lunch for different people. We had tickets to a couple of Ideas Festival programs. There was the Community Read event. Someone went for a run in the morning. Another went for a ride at sunset. The next day that schedule was reversed. Don’t forget yoga. Obviously, it wasn’t that we didn’t get to do anything, just not the thing we set our sights on.
I am not complaining. I have thought before that being a visitor to this area would be better than living here. My theory was that a tourist can go do nothing but things they choose and then enjoy a nice meal and a good night’s sleep to get ready for the next day without having to worry about any of the day-to-day stuff that consumes “normal life.”
As I write that, tourist visitation rights sound pretty good. And the truth is that it obviously doesn’t stink to come on a vacation here, at least until the Visa bill shows up next month. Still, I think the decision to change my mind and think it is better to live here than visit is the correct belief. And, truly, if you believe you have the figurative bull by the tail, you actually do. We’ll go with that for now, anyway.
One not underrated thing about living here is that you have all the junk you need to enjoy everything we have to offer. I mean, how could you come here on a vacation and pack skis, golf clubs, mountain and road bikes, tennis rackets, a fly rod, a backpack, tent, sleeping bag, hiking boots, your dog and squeeze in a bathing suit and a pair of running shoes without breaking the zipper on your suitcase? Sure, you can rent all this stuff, but as every aficionado of everything knows, there is always something a little off about rental gear. And, yes, the hoarders’ havens formerly known as garages are more important to local living than are those beautiful hot-tubed stone decks with a view that are ubiquitous in hotel ads, although you will certainly feel better about the latter.
And still, like life, it really isn’t about the stuff. To enjoy this part of God’s incredible world, all you really need are the clothes you are wearing, smartly layered, and a decent pair of walkings shoes. The activities we partake in can be boiled down to just different ways to get outside and marvel at natural beauty in every direction.
More is not always better in almost anything we can think of. This is true of experiencing this earthly paradise. Life getting in the way of this for residents ensures we absolutely cannot get enough. To make things more enticing, we can almost always see what we crave, even though oftentimes it is out of reach. It is about as easy as opening your eyes and looking out the window.
Whether any of this is true is open to interpretation. But, when town gets busy and the traffic thick and we have to put in a few more hours of work to make sure our guests have the best experience possible to encourage them to come back and spend the wad again next year, it sure helps to think about all the other things we would rather be doing. The magic of this is that tomorrow we may be doing it. … Maybe.
Roger Marolt doesn’t mind being overwhelmed by a locals’ to-do list. Email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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