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  • West Maroon TrailWest Maroon Trail Aspen, Colorado
    One of the best trails in the Aspen, Colorado region is the West Maroon Trail, that is used by hikers, backpackers and horse riders. The beautiful vistas, the slopes of the mountain painted with magnificent wildflowers, and the spectacular views both near and far will have you spending the day or days traversing the region. The trail head is at Maroon Lake, which sits at 9580 feet above the sea, and has plenty of parking. After parking, head to the trail on the north side of the lake, and go through a wonderful meadow to the Forest Service Informational bulletin board. The right side trail is called the Maroon-Snowmass Trail and climbs into the mountains, through superb aspen trees to the crater lake, which is at 10,076 feet above the sea. Here you turn to the left fork, by the Crater Lake bulletin board, and follow the West Maroon Trail as it parallels the lake on its right, heading into forests and across the rock scree field. There is a wonderful little stream running across the field, and it is the three mile point of the hike. The trail goes up into a forested area, alive with willows, and then you've made it to the other side and come to another stream, that must be crossed in the open area. This could be tricky if the spring runoffs are in full swing, otherwise should be easy, just watch your step. The trail may be difficult to find, once you cross over, but it does angle to the right, and climbs continuously through more willows and then the high tundra appears, with wide open vistas and the pass off in the distance is visible. As the climbing becomes steeper, you will come to some switchbacks and then a long trek that goes to the top of West Maroon Pass, which sits around 12,500 feet. Here you will find the most beautiful views in the region; huge panoramic sights that will fill your eyes and mind with smiles and happy thoughts. If it is especially clear, you won't believe how far you can see. Just smile and enjoy. After you have dreamed all the daydreams you can from this awesome spot, you head down the other side, arriving at the East Fork Creek Trail and Schofield Park or Frigid Air Pass. The entire trek is about 6.5 miles long, but will take you a day or two to complete, depending on your time schedule or plans; and of course what kind of shape you are in. It is considered difficult and is used heavily in the seasons.

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  • The John Denver SanctuaryJohn Denver Sanctuary Aspen, Colorado
    John Denver was born in New Mexico and got his first guitar when his family moved to Tucson, Arizona. But he was always a Rocky Mountain type of guy, making Aspen, Colorado his home. His songs about the town, the state and countryside helped people see the beautiful mountain region in their minds and many believed it had to be the best place on the earth to live and experience. His songs like Starwood in Aspen, Aspenglow and Rocky Mountain High inevitably made you think about the area and the many wonderful aspects of life there. The cathedral mountains, forest of willow and aspen, silver clouds floating by, the streams and clear blue crystal lakes; all bring to mind John Denver, his music and his love of the Rocky Mountains. Some years after he tragically died, a commemorative park was started in Aspen, to recall one of the most likable celebrity to live in the region. Although there are many famous people living there, John was well liked by the town's citizenry. As you travel down to the river, and pass by the Rio Grande Park, you'll find John's sanctuary nestled in a quiet little area all its own. In the sanctuary, there are grassy knolls that have enormous granite rocks sitting in a circular area, and as you near the massive rocks, you will notice the lyrics of his songs etched forever in many of the rocks. Most are from his best loved songs, and if you ever listened to his music and were moved by his quiet sensitivity, then these rocks and this memorial will remind you of those moments and the troubles that seemed to melt away. Just the serenity of the park and the verses themselves will transport you to another place, where the Rocky Mountain high overtakes all the negative feelings that have been pent up and you can relax and remember.  The picture to the right holds the rocks that sing his songs, forever written in the stones of time, just as they are written in our hearts. His music will live on in our hearts and minds forever, just as John will and his wonderful smile.

January 11, 2011