Early to rise to enjoy the season
Never been a morning person. It doesn’t matter how early my body crawls out of bed. Becoming human again takes a long time.But the thought of losing more daylight has triggered some primal brain cells to ring the internal alarm clock earlier than normal.That’s OK with me because I want to enjoy every moment possible in this, my favorite time of year.But often in life, desire and reality collide like a train wreck. Instead of being outdoors soaking up sun rays, the call of a dutiful paper-pusher has sounded louder than a foghorn.
It’s that dreaded end-of-the-year for federal agencies. The fiscal year that is. Time to fill out every conceivable form that has ever been devised by Machiavellian villains.But I haven’t survived for all these years to not know how to play the “cover your arse with a paper trail” game with the best of ’em. How? By filling up my bureaucratic wheelbarrow ahead of schedule.Before the four-eyed bean counters with the coke-bottle lenses hunched over desks in far-off cities figure it out and make me redo all the paperwork out of spite, I’m going to disappear into the great outback.I’m not even worried about the fact that Congress will fail to pass an appropriations bill for next fiscal year and try and recall everyone from the field because there is no money. Been there before. Catch me if you can.So, where am I going to disappear? Thought you’d never ask. If you won’t tell anyone else, here is my list just in case you want to join me.
First is Holy Cross City right smack-dab inside the Holy Cross Wilderness. In one of the rare strokes of genius, someone kept the four-wheel drive road to the old ghost town intact.Actually, intact is rather misleading. You need a vehicle that you’re not afraid of banging up or an ATV to make it to this little gem of an adventure.Next is a stop at Camp Hale to spend a few minutes honoring all the World War II veterans whose great sacrifice enables us to live in freedom. Then on to Leadville, Twin Lakes, Independence Pass and the next special place, the ghost town of Independence.Thanks to a grant from the Colorado Historic Fund (keep buying those lottery tickets), old Independence has a grant. Now the Aspen Historical Society has funds to help the Forest Service write a state-of-the-art master plan that can compete for scenic byway bucks.
My last stop before the paper police finally catch up to me is one of my favorite valleys in Colorado, up Castle Creek about 12 miles from Aspen.In a few weeks the aspen will be decked out in golden garb. I will take pictures of Ashcroft, another ghost town, to document the obligatory annual trip to this National Register of Historic Places site. Did you hear me say with great pride that I have the best job in the world? Minus the paperwork.With almost 30 years of experience in federal land management agencies, Bill Kight, of Glenwood Springs, shares his escapades with readers every other week.
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