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Planning trips

It’s that time of year when deep winter sets in and I start planning trips to escape the inevitable cabin fever.

Since winter is a long way from being over, the first trip will be with snowshoes up the beautiful Castle Creek valley through the ghost town of Ashcroft.

Located some 11 miles from Aspen up the Castle Creek Road, Ashcroft is managed by the Aspen Historical Society in partnership with the White River National Forest.



I prefer striking out from the ghost town parking lot and heading up the unplowed road to the Pine Creek Cookhouse in time for lunch which is available until 2 p.m. Calling ahead for reservations is a must, as this is a popular spot.

You can also ski or take a sleigh ride to the cookhouse.



Another choice is to enjoy a ski tour provided by the Ashcroft Ski Touring Company.

Since 1971, it has operated under a special use permit with the White River National Forest. As a matter of fact, it was the first self-sustaining cross-country ski area in the United States.

You may rent cross-country or skate ski gear and snowshoes from them, as well as take individual or group lessons. Ski tours are offered at reasonable rates.

There is also a half-day Ashcroft snowshoe tour available from the Aspen Center for Environmental Study, “ACES” as we like to call it. For less than a hundred bucks you get a four-hour guided tour with snowshoes provided, as well as an Ashcroft trial pass and lunch at the Pine Creek Cookhouse. Reservations are required.

Part of being out in a Colorado winter is looking for adventure. To find out more information you only need look up any or all of these options on the web.

If you can’t navigate on-line, you most certainly shouldn’t be out and about in our mountains this time of year.

Leaving winter behind, if only in my mind, a second trip is already planned for the warm beaches of Mexico later in the summer thanks to my lovely wife, Linn.

It’s a graduation present for our last two homely daughters, I mean our last two daughters living at home. The reason I get to go is to carry all the bags.

But that trip is too far into the future for relieving cabin fever. I need to plan for a trip to the desert sooner than late summer.

My mind is having a hard time even remembering my last real desert trip. I think it was in New Mexico touring the Salinas Pueblo Missions. Didn’t even camp out.

Maybe it’s time to go back to Utah’s Comb Ridge and hike into Butler Wash. The Needles District in Canyonlands National Park wouldn’t be bad, either.

It’s been too long since footing it into the Great Gallery of spooky Fremont figures in the Maze District. Venturing into Horseshoe Canyon near the Maze for more Barrier Canyon Style old rock art sounds appealing.

Just thinking about a desert trip this time of year ” priceless.

With more than 30 years experience in federal land management agencies, Bill Kight, of Glenwood Springs, shares his ideas with readers every other week.


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