Day 2 Delightful (Aspen PART TWO)…

I was singing “Don’t Ya” as I was packing up my backpack for a day outing…

Don’t lie, you’ve got it all figured out

That smile, has got me spinnin’ around

Don’t even try actin’ like it ain’t no thing

Cause I can see you move a little closer, closer

 …and I got in my car, turned it on, and yep, “Don’t Ya” was playing on my radio. This happens to me a lot, like I’m psychic or something. But it confirmed that today was going to be a good day.  

The Maroon Bells

The Maroon Bells

A must-see in Aspen are the Maroon Bells mountain peaks, so I took the bus up there and hiked to Crater Lake. Such awesomeness, very steep, but the altitude sickness is under control and I continue to drink crazy amounts of water. I sat by the lake and did a pencil sketch until pesky bugs drove me away. The wildflowers in the fields were bright and varied and I just breathed in the beauty. I am a SLOW hiker going up, man, I hate it, but coming down I’m a mountain goat. I thought of all my summers going to a cabin on the American River and hopping from granite rock to granite rock. I loved those large boulders and to this day I can picture my favorite one that I would hope to get on before my sister in order to paint my toenails or sunbathe. So those early years of rock hopping made me not afraid of leaping from boulder to boulder on this very rocky path, and going downhill was a breeze. My ankles held up, I’m feeling like a rockstar today…

Speaking of rockstar….I went back to the White House Tavern to give them my business after comping me the night before. I ordered one of their signature drinks this time, a Manhattan, which my mom and dad used to drink (I can tell I’m missing Napa Valley and home as I am thinking a lot about them). I ordered the same amazing Macho Salad. I deliberated ordering something else but just couldn’t do it! I sat at the bar this time and had friendly greetings with the manager and waitress that comped me the night before. The bartender that took care of my ordering had never met me and didn’t even know I was there the previous night. I was content to sit and sip my fancy Manhattan and feel sophisticated. They were crazy busy as it was Saturday night. While I watched Tyler mix drink after drink we chatted and I found out that the White House Tavern is owned and started by the same company as the Rutherford Grill in Napa Valley, about 2 miles from where I grew up. It is one of my favorite, and best, restaurants in the Valley, so it was NO wonder that the fates brought me to this Aspen relative.

After my salad was served the bartender leaned over and whispered that my meal was taken care of because the salad took so long to come out. I looked at him in alarm and said, “But you guys comped me last night!!!” He didn’t know this but just smiled and said, “Well, we’re doing it again!” I mildly protested, but he was not having any of it. Again I felt like a princess, a blushing one.

Another highlight of this day was my sojourn to the John Denver Memorial. It is a beautiful, quiet, hauntingly-tender spot along the river. My pictures can describe it better than my words. The lyrics that were carved into granite were perfect reminders just how his music has touched and changed my life. I took time to journal and do a watercolor painting perched on a boulder. It was a time full of peace, beauty and renewed dreams for my life.

An afternoon thunderstorm was brewing so I walked to the small art museum across a cute bridge and was surprised with a sweet, happy, bright contemporary art display. I was instructed to remove my shoes and go through the exhibit barefoot and it was a wacky break in the emotional landscape coming from the sentimental memorial. I came around a wall and there were two young couples admiring the sculptures and chewing on something. I was so offended, thinking to myself, what is this world coming to when people disrespect an art museum and chomp away on food? It was a shock for about one minute and then I remembered that there was an exhibit entitled “Feed Your Audience” and there was a pile of Skittles we were encouraged to imbibe. I felt a flash of horror at my quick critical judgment of the couples eating and wondered if this was an intended outcome or just a lucky slap in the face for me. I loved Rob Pruitt’s whimsical work that was made that much more fanciful strolling shoeless on the soft white carpet and eating colorful candy. I left there smiling.

I had so much more of Aspen to see that I extended my trip by one day. Day 3 coming soon!

I have to say it now it’s been a good life all in all

It’s really fine to have a chance to hang around…

How long it’s been since yesterday what about tomorrow

And what about our dreams and all the memories we share       

(John Denver)

(TO BE CONTINUED…)

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