During the summer months we do a variety of activities to stay in shape for ski touring. Living in western Colorado gives us easy access to hundreds of trails into our beautiful mountains. Hiking up steep slopes with poles is excellent cross-training for skinning. Coming down is another story…it’s rough on the knees but makes us appreciate those lovely days when we can sail the slopes on skis.
Trekking from Aspen to Crested Butte is a classic and visiting relatives gave me the excuse to take a few days off to put foot to path. It’s a tough hike but after a few days of acclimation, the beachcombers, both sand volleyball players, were ready to go.
We left the trailhead by 8:00 a.m. and entered a world of stunning alpine splendor. Some aspens were already turning brilliant yellow. High meadows were luscious shades of green. Many wildflowers had already waned but patches of deep blue mountain gentian were in their prime. I often see a similar flower in the Swiss and Austrian alps. I believe it’s the same as their Enzian.
The steep rocky downhill portions of the trail were brutal on my knees. Trekking poles helped ease the pressure and I highly recommend them. If you need a pair, Black Diamond Distance FLZ poles are my favorites, light weight but they’ve held up for me, three years and counting.