“It’s about the experience,” says our guide Trevor Clapper from the Little Nell Adventure Shop, which offers trips that end in Basalt, about 20 miles downriver. Clapper says of everything people want to do in the summer or fall when they come to Aspen—off road jeep tours, guided hiking trips, white river rafting—fly fishing is the most popular.
The skies are blue, the air is clear and there is no evidence of fire where tourists would go. “Some people watching TV thought the whole city burned up,” one local told me. “Some people thought the entire state burned,” said another in Crested Butte. Fortunately, Colorado’s fire-impacted areas represent less than 1 percent of the state’s 23 million acres of public land.