About Me

My photo
Split personality. Liking the arts, especially opera, and hockey and Los Toros. I know, I know THAT one is non pc currently. But I can't help it saw some in Spain and got hooked, but good. But on the other hand right now opera and hockey are in the forefront!


Monday, June 11, 2012

An Aspen Experience - Riches to Rags

As long as those rags are designer rags by Karan, Lauren, Vuitton, Hermes etal.
 .. they are welcome in Aspen.
As are ultra well bred designer dogs, color coded bicycles and fancy cars.
Escalades abounded. Some Ferraris, Alfa Romeos, etal, were sighted occasionally.
And of course, private planes gathered on the small airport near by.
The eyes of Aspen(s)...:-)!

Mutts are frowned upon. And what's a Target? JC Penneys? Sears?
I never saw so many unusual dogs, which seemingly never needed to pee or poop, unless of course, a maid ventures out to clean it all up in the early morning.
The whole time we were there we never saw any dog deposits on the hallowed cobblestones. Which as an amusing factoid came from St. Louis, MO where they were discards. And the streets of Aspen were, so we were told, not paved until the mid - or was it late - fifties.

 This proper matron would not have been amused.
Another factoid I found profoundly ironic..the Wheeler opera house (photo right) was opened to huge acclaim by....wait for it....

Austrian Dancing Girls (lol).

Of course later came the Austrian Skiers.
Among them Friedl Pfeifer  (see photo left). Important in the development of skiing and ski-lifts on Aspen Mountain.
Plus the 10th Mountain Division trained for WWII alpine warfare there (photo right).
Many of those who survived came back to ski AND live in Aspen.
And of course, no self respecting skiing village would be complete without an Austrian Chef or two?
We lucked onto one from Hartsberg in the Steiermark, who specialised in Vegan. A very tasty vegan  it was, too. Accompanied by a marvelously dry and 'spritzig' Gruener Veltliner to toast our 44th Anniversary.

After a heart pounding jeep ride up rutted and steep (alas, also very dusty-little rain there recently) narrow paths to over 11,000 to marvel at the panorama of still partially snow covered (in spots-photo below) mountain range after mountain range to the West and the rounder and more tree covered ones -photo right (here one complete with a typical path where avalanches like cascading down.. few trees grow in avalanche paths) of the other side of the Continental divide.

Breathtaking views, literally, as we braced against strong periodic howling wind gusts.
Real 'Sound of Music' moments,  those.
He (left) climbed the mountain,
I tried to provide the sound. Fortunately for the jeep driver, the wind snatched the words from me, else she might have driven off without us ;-)!
Alpine flowers

Tiny Alpine flowers clung desperately to the soil as not to swept off the crest by those winds.

Trees bent into strange shapes by them.

And Aspens (by root growth) springing up everywhere, only to give way to firs
which in turn give way higher up to an Alpine tundra.

Grand Hyatt-Aspen Residence Club
In those days people could afford to buy maybe one of those Victorian little houses (photo left). Many of them were torn down to make way (as is so American ) for huge luxury hotels and condominium buildings, Yes, siree. A course I didn't mind that since we stayed at one of them (right)...pure luxury even in non-designer clothes (no dogs allowed lol)

Current Aspenites include Arab Sheiks with - at least 55 rooms mansions - how those were permitted to be built? Baksheesh, it is assumed, overcomes all rules  (so we were told).
Hollywood heart throbs such as Griffith and Bandera, famed writers and other media darlings. But let me just say this, Aspenites seem to be oblivious to them.
Guess, there are so many of them, it no longer is exciting.

And then there the uebertoned slim, raggedly clad, beautiful women. Many of whom appear to be attached to mountain bicycles.
At a rough count I'd say 80% of all bicyclists pumping up to the Maroon Bells (photo left) and Ashcoft Heights were female.
Course it made me stand out like the proverbial sore thumb having no uebertoned body, was not clad in designer rags,  and never having ridden a bicycle. And sad to report, was never accompanied by a pure bred designer dog.

Cats were not seen at all - even lurking in windows. Why?
Not fancy enough for show off? Maybe.

Otherwise the visit was breathtaking  (see some unedited photos below)  and not only because of the high altitude. One set out from the Mile High city of Denver (5200) via several passes in 10,000ft or so height, through tunnels crossed the Continental Divide.

Big Horn sheep

 Railroad Station Glenwood Springs

Mine Slag heep
Rafting in Glenwood Canyon

Doubledecker I-70
Craggy red Outcroping
A divided Mountain face between white/gray and red below
Where geologists exult, I'm sure!
Officers Gulch
Museum at Idaho springs
Through the amazing Glenwood Canyon where a sign  Officers Gulch (could privates not enter? lol -pic below left) and on to Aspen and its honeycombed mountains (silver mines-the original Aspen wealth creator).

 Copper, gold, coal and lead were and perhaps are mined, not too far.
And as we found out at the small but informative
Idaho Springs Mining Museum, even Molybdenum and, even,
Uranium are still mined in Colorado.

Rugged hut with mine entrance on the hill above and multiple snow mobiles (under cover). The saying goes the more snowmobiles the richer a person living there! Pic at left.
Not sure if this adapted SUV counts? (at right)

Glenwood Springs (is more relaxed - not so many designer rags visible.. more Coldwater Creek and Talbot type rags) and boasts of a Railroad Station with daily arrival of a train from and to Denver- a spectacular ride through the rocks and canyons....Plus real natural hot springs and vapor baths.

Georgetown lake
We stopped and watched fishermen at the ... brrr...
cold Georgetown Lake (photo right) and tried to spy Big Horn sheep indigent to that area, but.. they too, were smart enough to shelter from the unrelenting hot sun and, so, were invisible to us.

Rock above Golden
Then after a shopping spree at the designer  (lol) outlet malls at Silverthorne at the rarified 9.000 plus feet which is a bit higher than even Aspen (crocs galore .. found some purple ones )
 we tried to refresh ourselves with a tour and tasting at Coors-Miller Brewery in Golden.
But gulp, the line of thirsty visitors stretched around 3 corners. To waiting in the bright sun that very unusual HOT afternoon did not appeal,  so we skipped it and went on to the Denver, where a youth soccer convention must have taken place or will take place. We saw, and heard ;-),  boys from Minnesota! And boys from Alaska! frolicking (too loudly for us oldies) in the hotel pool - 35 or 40 (hard to count wet heads) of them - so guess what.. no freshen up in pool for us. Instead went and watched Kings Vs Devils on the big screen while having dinner.

And thus ended our Aspen Adventure!

No comments: