Red Hill Trail is named for the sedimentary rock that makes up the Maroon Bells further up valley and a lot higher (14,000 foot peaks). This trail is a chance to enjoy a Utahish red rock experience in Carbondale. The trailhead is the parking lot on the north side of the highway at the junction of Highways 82 and 133. The Garmin map will show I missed the trailhead at first because I was on an icy road and was not paying attention to the left side of the road as a truck passed by. But, found a really cool pasture with small homes and was quite the perfect Christmas setting for a ‘cabin in the snowy woods.’ Ran back down the road to the trailhead and took off through a thick piñon and juniper forest, Mother Nature’s forest of choice at this elevation. Six inches of snow provided padding underfoot and the snow was of a texture to provide good footing and not be slippery. Numerous regulars had already been on the trail that day so I was not breaking trail. This is a steep, fun and winding trail through the trees and except for a few hikers and their faithful companions. These were dogs who were thrilled to be playing in the snow and enjoyed greeting me with tails wagging, bodies gyrating, and noses aimed at my crotch! Cold though it was, going up hill generates metabolic heat gain so a comfort level is quickly reached. Bunnies and deer were spotted in the trees and nice views of the valley open up. Care is required on the way down through the red rock formation in any season as it is slick, rocky and rooty. A fabulous short trail but longer loops are available. dg
Carbondale Beer Works – 647 Main Street. carbondalebeerworks.com
Downtown is cozy and comfortable anytime of year and Mt. Sopris rises like Mt. Rainier over Seattle and even closer! Was ready to have an Avalanche IPA being the hophead that I am but they were out. So, I went for the sample sizes of the Dirty Blonde, Brown Dog Amber, CBW-ESB, and the Rye Pale Ale. After a rousing discussion about trying the Saison – which should be a complex flavored beer, the waiter fessed up that it pretty much tasted like a Belgian. So, for you Belgian fans their Saison will never be out after I stop by! The other samples are all true to their style with good body and flavor and none to malty that leaves that syrupy sticky feeling in your mouth and on your lips. After 4 miles prancing and dancing (tis the Christmas Season after all) on Red Hill trail they all tasted especially wonderful.