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Aspen and Crested Butte are hours apart by car and probably worlds apart in attitude but only separated by 24 miles on a map. Many hikers are starting to take one of a number of mountain passes on foot and stay the night in the other town and then hike, bike, drive or fly back the following day. Depending on the route chosen and the ability of the hiker, it takes about 5 to 9 hours to hike between the two towns. Most hikers choose the trails that converge on 12,490-foot West Maroon Pass - the shortest of the available options at 10.5 miles. The trail offers a steady uphill from either side, with ample time to prepare for the last steep and loose rocky sections before the pass. Ryan Baldwin (cq), of San Francisco, Ca., sets up a portrait with friends after summiting the West Maroon Pass trail from Aspen on their way back to Crested Butte. The group had hiked from Crested Butte to Aspen stayed a couple days in Aspen and was headed back when they stopped to take a few pictures at the summit. Baldwin has a home in Crested Butte and comes out often. (MARC PISCOTTY/ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS) CQ Ryan Baldwin

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