Aspen is a beautiful place. And likely you are thinking of skiing and snow. But in August the snow is a memory and the sun is hot.
There’s a hot like August in Acapulco – steamy. There’s a hot like August in Vegas – baking and dense.
It isn’t the temperature so much as the feel.
The hot in Aspen is a standing in front of an inferno hot. The hot of a scorching conflagration.
Just you and your very close friend, The Sun.
Elevation: 8,000 ft.
The air is thin. The cocoon around you in Vancouver stayed behind as you flew off for the heights of Colorado. I wondered what it would be like to get Colorado high, but most of my processing software also didn’t make the journey. It seemed ill advised to exacerbate this light headed situation by smoking up in the park before trekking to my building through the hills and valleys, mostly hills. Then the worst part: 3 flights of stairs.
No one spoke with that person coming through the door until they sat in The Chair for a while. There was a lot of recovery happening in that chair.
Still, it would have come to pass if someone had told me ahead of time the herbal pharmacy required passport I.D.
What to do in Aspen?
There is a bookstore in a house. Yes, a bookstore in a house! It has a sofa. And lamps. Upstairs is a restaurant, Pyramid Bistro, serving coffee and peach cobbler with ice cream. Explore Booksellers, 221 East Main Street.
I’m craving the green curry at the Bangkok Happy Bowl Thai Bistro in the mall on North Mill Street where the very expensive Clark’s grocery store is, and the all important liquor store.
You can go up Aspen Mountain in a gondola to 11,000 ft. And that my friend is pretty darn high.
Off in the distance are some of the highest mountains in the Rockies.
Before going back down, best to stop at the bar for a drink, a strong drink. Because you remember the terror as strong winds tossed your little gondola around like a balsa wood hand glider on the way up.
There is the Aspen Gallery, where it is said an officer of the store threw a customer out for saying he was an artist.
Intrigued, I made a visit.
After 10 minutes the man on duty was getting a little testy. I hastily took my leave.
The drive to the ghost town at Independence Pass takes less than an hour. The buildings there have mostly disappeared. Did they sink into the ground?
It’s windy. It’s hot like Lucifer’s Halloween bonfire.
Why is there no working outhouse in the ghost town at Independence Pass? How many $5 bills does the donation box need to take the padlock off the door of one of those little outhouses and make my day?
Aspen has a community center with an alleged pool. When is it open though?
Do you like bears? I hope so. There are deer also.
And there is the Aspen Center for Physics.
It’s in there.
Public lectures are held Thursday evenings. The final talk of the season, Turning Stars into Gold: The Discovery of the First Kilonova by Iair Arcav, reset the bar. They saved the best for last.
On the walk to the Aspen Center for Physics there are elegant old houses, preserved, injected with Restalin, Forever Young lotion slathered into their aging wooden siding.
Among them, the home of the late physicist, Murray Gell-Mann.
I’ve heard he didn’t get along very well with one of my favourites,
Richard Feynman: “The first principle is that you must not fool yourself and you are the easiest person to fool.”