Monday, July 4, 2016

Hiking East of Aspen Trail

On Wednesday we decided to hike on a much flatter route, in our altitude adjustment efforts, so we did 8 miles or so along the East of Aspen Trail, the combination biking/hiking trail where I had ridden my bike the afternoon before.  It was a lovely hike, and we saw lots of beautiful wild flowers along the way.  There's a section that goes through the North Star Nature Preserve, which encompasses the route of the elk migration, and it's really fascinating to see the terrain, as well as to spot wildlife.  Where the trail crosses some wetlands there is a long wooden elevated walkway with rails along the sides.  When we were on this bridge we saw a moose, just standing there watching us. We tried to be as quiet and still as we could while we took a couple pics, as there was a reported incident a few days before in another location in the area where a mama moose attacked some folks who got too close to a calf for mama's liking.  We were grateful for the rails along the side of the bridge, though I'm sure if the moose had decided to attack the rails would hardly have held it back!  Anyway, it was wonderful to see this enormous creature!

That evening Ken, Shelley and I went to another Ideas Festival presentation on the election, this one focused on the phenomenon that's Donald Trump, while Trisha chose to go see a screening of a film about juvenile sexual assault.  We really enjoyed the political discussion, especially the comments of E.J. Dionne, columnist for the Washington Post--some really insightful observations.  When we were at dinner with Edith and Joe on Monday night we met Edith's daughter's boyfriend and learned that his father had been instrumental in getting this film made, so Trisha was particularly interested in seeing it for this reason as well.  It's called "Audrie and Daisy," and chronicles the horrible effects such assaults have on the victims, and the incredibly abusive treatment of victims in the aftermath by others, including those in positions of authority who should be giving support.  After the film there  was a panel discussion by one of the girls and her mother, and the mother of the other girl, who tragically committed suicide in the year following the assault.  Trisha was glad she went, but it really was an emotionally draining experience for her.

Thursday morning we decided to tackle the Ute Trail, though in retrospect, we should have waited a few more days before doing it.  This is a hike close to Shelley's and Ken's house, very popular with the locals for training and conditioning--it has 1000 feet of elevation gain in less than a mile, so it's like hiking up an elevator shaft!  Shelley and Ken do it just about every day they're out here, as a way to start their day!  We had done it in 2013, but that time we had already been in higher elevations for a few weeks before getting to Aspen so we were much more acclimated to the effects of the altitude.  Anyway, it was very slow going for us, and we had to step aside many times to let some folks pass who were walking much faster, and a few who were running--we even saw one guy who ran up, then back down, and then was on his way back up again as we were coming down--incredible!  Ken used to run it some years ago, and while he doesn't run it anymore, he still hikes it at a remarkable rate of speed.  So we were ready for a rest when we got back down!

Thursday night we all went to an Ideas Festival panel on feminism in the 2016 election and it was fascinating!  One writer in particular had done a lot of research on the treatment of Hilary Clinton in the media and in opinion polls and her observations were very interesting.  While there is so much attention given in the media about her high unfavorability ratings, this writer pointed out that this happens when she is running for office, but when she has actually been in office, as a senator and as Secretary of State, the trend reverses, and her favorability ratings are sky high and significant majorities say she is doing a great job.  She compared Hilary's situation with that of Elizabeth Warren and found the same thing--currently Warren enjoys almost rock star status, with so many people saying what a wonderful job she's doing, but the writer pointed out that when you go back to when she was running for her senate seat in Mass., she was viewed much more unfavorably.  And even more striking, on the day after Warren appeared with Clinton at the rally, despite the general consensus that it was a rousingly successful performance, at least one newspaper ran an article quoting people who described her in very negative terms.  Just a fascinating study and very interesting discussion!

As we started out on the East of Aspen Trail, looked up the mountain and saw this heart shaped pattern in the trees--pretty cool!
The Roaring Fork River
Saw this young buck coming out of the woods about to cross the road; he was moving pretty fast so I could only get this one shot, not quite in the best focus.

Here's a calm section of the river.
Lots of beautiful wild flowers!

Just love to see reflections in the water!
Looking up at Ute Rock
We're constantly fascinated by all the aspens!

Along the sides of the trail you can see all the "snow" coming down off the cottonwood trees--really bothers Trisha's sinuses.

Beauty abounds--and in the background too!!

Love this old fence!

Here's our moose!

A number of houses here use sod on the roofs for insulation purposes.

Jeremy would love to use this rope swing to jump out into the river!

These are from Thursday's hike up the Ute Trail; this one from the top, looking down on the town

On the way down, passing some beautiful lupine.

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