A Stroll in the High Country

I took the side trail down to Alfa Fia Tank and saw this hilarious cloud, which looks like a cartoon character's "thought balloon." What are the mountains thinking?


For some reason, I hadn't hiked the Aspen Loop this year. It's a side hike off the Arizona Trail that can be accessed easily from either Aspen Corner or Snowbowl. I chose Aspen Corner to add length to the hike and because I like the sweeping views over the Rim country from the restored section of Hart Prairie along the AZ Trail.

A panorama of the Arizona Trail where it crosses the restored section of Hart Prairie. For orientation, the trail is actually straight here. It was gorgeous!

We had a lot of precipitation in July and the alpine meadows are green and the wildflowers are blooming. It's glorious in the Arizona high country! There were too many people, especially mountain bikers, but it was worth it. I only wish I'd gotten up a little earlier to beat the crowds from the hot desert parts of Arizona. They usually start arriving sometime after 10:00 am and peak out by noon.

I went vertical with the phone to capture the height of the trees. We don't have much "dense forest" in Arizona but if you go up high enough you'll find some. The other place to find it is along our few perennial flowing streams.

I continue having some knee issues related to overuse so I tried to take it easy, but I also noticed that I'm just not hiking very well. I could feel the elevation. The hike is generally around 9000 feet above sea level. When I'm thin and in good shape, I don't notice it. About three years ago I ran an 11 minute mile around the loop (and it's very hilly). There is no way I could do that now. I'm carrying too much weight.

I want to lose the weight but I swear I'm enjoying eating now more than any time of my life and I lack deep commitment. I keep working out but I also keep eating.


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