Thursday, June 19, 2008

Back from Aspen

We spent Wednesday night in Aspen; what a beautiful place! We stayed at the St. Regis on points and got upgraded to a deluxe room; it's really nice to be treated like royalty every once in a while! We hit the yarn stores in Glenwood Springs (love that town too!) and Carbondale. Both were very nice; I bought a skein in each store. I'll have to blog about my yarn shop hop too, but the internet service has been so iffy (well, not at the St. Regis, everything is exceptional at the St. Regis) that I probably won't get to that until I'm back home with my trusty network.
We went the easy way from Avon to Aspen, via I70 to Glenwood Springs then CO state 82 down to Aspen. It was a very pleasant drive. We checked in, then walked around Aspen that evening. We probably visited 8-10 art galleries. Aspen has an awesome art scene. Lots of contemporary and abstract art, which is getting harder and harder to find.

We didn't buy anything, but we identified some artists we're going to be watching: Karl Hollinger and Marcus Rose. Aspen was VERY quiet, the shopkeepers and gallery people were glad to see people coming in. One of the gallery men told us we were saving him from losing more money on the goldfish races. He and another guy had marked two goldfish crackers and let them go in one of the little streams that runs down the main pedestrian walkway (it's only about a foot wide and a few inches deep). This was how they "raced" the goldfish! We were out there watching these crazy guys bet money on racing crackers, then when we walked into one of the galleries, one of the racers came in to show us around. Aspen is full of wonderfully crazy people!
We took the gondola ride up Aspen Mountain. I was feeling the altitude a little at 11,212 feet. It made me sort of dizzy, but the view was spectacular. Nice and cool up there too. The ride down was another story entirely; the gondola stopped on the ride down for about 20 minutes. We just hung there, about 80 feet in the air with lots of wind to keep us swaying. It was really scary. At one point the cable opposite us got lots of slack in it and went half way to the ground while we went up even higher. Lots of praying going on! It started and stopped 3 times, which just made it worse. We finally got down and they told us that all it was a flat tire in the carriage emptying area which had to be fixed. A flat tire! I kept having visions of having to be rescued by a really long ladder! Larry says no more gondolas this trip and I'm not going to argue with him!
We took the bus to the Maroon Bells Wilderness area just outside of Aspen. How beautiful! We traipsed down to Crater Lake and encountered two men hiking with two golden retrievers. Each dog carried its own hiking gear in little doggie hiking vests and both wore little doggie hiking boots (well, socks really). They looked as if they were having the time of their life. I asked the guys if the dogs took easily to the boots, and they said that they did. They high step for a few minutes, but since they only wear them for hikes, they get really excited about going hiking as soon as they put them on.

We would like to go back to Maroon Bells sometime when we have more time to hike around the area.
We went over Independence Pass on the way back to Avon. Wow, that's high! 12,095 feet! (They had porta potties at the summit. I got to tinkle at over 12,000 feet. A first for me.) There was so much snow that there were two guys wild skiing from one level of the pass to the next.
They get a crazy amount of snow there every year; something like 600 inches (that's 50 feet of snow!) and this year was much worse than usual. Heck, it snowed there last week! The view was spectacular in all directions.
We hiked out over a short snow path to get a better view. (I wasn't going to hike over the snow, but then I saw a woman doing it in flip flops and felt like a sissy, so I had to do it then.) It was 59 degrees at the summit and snow in every direction. The snow was melting rapidly in the bright sunshine, though, in places, there were waterfalls at the side of the road which threatened to erode the meager roadway. I bet they have to repair it every year.

You could see where they cut paths through what must have been avalances to clear the roadway. Funny people had inscribed graffiti in these walls of snow. I like it, self cleaning graffiti! Here today, gone tomorrow.

Another funny thing, in Colorado civic groups such as the Lions club volunteer to keep sections of the road trash free. At the top of Independence Pass, the group that volunteered to keep it clean was the Mountain Search and Recovery Team. Larry and I had a good laugh at that. Who else is going to keep it tidy at 12,000 feet?

We took tons of pictures; I'll probably go back and insert some later.

All the conveniences at 12,095 feet. And yes, I did get dizzy a bit at the pass, but just when I was in the john. I kept having the awful feeling that if I sat down the porta-potty was going to tip over backwards off of the cliff. Nasty vertigo! It was much better when I was out in the open.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi Susan,
Sounds like you're having a great trip! I love the hiking golden retreivers--Maxine and Arnie might like it too.

I think I may have jumped if I was hanging at 60' for as long as you did.

The quilt and yarn shops look and sound beautiful--I can appreciate them even if I don't do anything 'crafty' or 'artsy'.