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Grand Idiotic Hike

I’ve made in Aspen this weekend. My initial plan was to make a circuit tour in Hunter Creek-Frying Pan wilderness area east of the city to cover 40-50 km of trails. I was planning to start Friday morning and, with some luck, be back in town Friday close to midnight, or, without, Saturday morning. Eventually, I was met by mountain resque in 3 km from the town: that was Monday 2:30 pm. A long relaxing weekend.

My mistake had deep roots: relaying on indirect sources of information like Internet and topo-maps. The trails looked perfect on the maps. Four years ago during my previous visit to  Aspen I made 40% of the circuit to find resonably well-marked and walkable trails. By symmetry consideration, that should apply to the rest of the circuit. It took me a while to understand that the trails became increasingly worse and eventually ceased to exist. By that time it did not look like a good idea to turn back, since there were no trail in any direction. Indeed, later I have heard that the trails are abandoned decades ago. 

My GPS unit honestly wanted to help for 2,5 days, last half of the day showing 0% of charge remaining (and the trails that unfortunately did not exist). Later I had to relay on my recollection of the local geography and teenager experience of beyond-the-route hiking in Siberian hills. The later was not completely irrelevant: I would define the local forest as mountain "taiga", and the landscape of creek-cut hills and rocks looked familiar.

Unfortunately, I think I developed a light mountain madness: sometimes I’ve heard and seen strange things and decisions I made on the way , while looking back on it, did not look at all optimal. For instance, when I found a trail it took me several attempts to figure out a good direction: the right answer eventually was that no direction is good. If there were no such things, I’d be back on Sunday morning.

Anyway: my wife called mountain rescue Monday 2 a.m. and they meet me several miles near the city. While I did not need the directions anymore, I certainly appreciated the lift to the town, luxurous meal and tons of warm attention  they provide. Thank you, Scott Messina, for finding me, Hugh Zuker for being a president of such needed NON-PROFIT VOLUNTARY organization. They of course cooperate with law enforcement: it was my pleasure to meet the sheriff and his deputy. Many thanks to everybody.

Finally, I propose that Pitkin county (that could be the richest in US) invests in restoring the trails. First, that could save several lifes of Internet-dependent geeks, Second: though this may sound shameless after making so much idiotic things, but I enjoyed the hike. It’s a truly beautiful wild country. Would not mind to repeat it: if there are trails…



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That’s a great story Yuli! It must have been a bit disappointing to be ‘rescued’ when you almost reached your goal.

So am I, Frank:)
Next time in Algonquin:)

Wow, that sounds scary! We are all glad that you made it.

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