Picknicking the peaks | VailDaily.com

Picknicking the peaks

Andrew Harley

Booth Falls in East Vail is a scenic and rewarding day hike.

MINTURN – Basket of food: check. Blanket: check. Doggy-doodle bags: check. Attractive date(s): check. Visa Check Card: forget it, it’s everywhere I’m trying to leave.

It’s better to eat on a mountaintop, in an aspen glade, on the banks of a glacial lake, somewhere not surrounded by telephone poles connected to credit-card readers; somewhere debtless.

There are countless spots like this havening our high-country home.

Fe, Fi, Fo, Yum

The reason they say the best food is that which you cook yourself is the level of effort dictates the intensity of appreciation.

So, if you hike up a mountainside with self-cooked food, heavy on your back, the food must taste better, right?

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I couldn’t tell you because one of my dates wanted Mi Zuppa, which is cheap and tasty, but no substitute for my old, green crock pot with the meatball stains and the painted bluebells chair-railed around the bottom.

My other date only eats food shipped from Flint River Ranch, Ore., and divided her time between seductively shaking her rear as she walked in front of me on the trail and her endless quest for a marsupial meal. She would also stop every now and then to gnaw on random shrubs and dead branches.

She’s a hot chick.

Birthdays and monkeys

When dressing for an “adventure date,” one should consider the fact that the clothes worn will be dirty, and likely stained, by the end.

So, tuxedos, mink fur, anything put in the Sunday-best pile – unless a humorous or wealthy statement is the angle – should probably remain in the pile.

However, proper-outdoors clothes are definitely necessary. They are vital for protection from various natural hinderances, including protruding branches, thorns, prickers, poisonous plants, parasitic insects and the occasional stumble-and-fall.

I like to wear a smashing pair of puke-green, Royal Robbins trousers, a gray headband turned inside out – to hide the Nike swoosh from potential taunters and frown-uponers – and a threadbare T-shirt, bearing some form of obscure and seemingly meaningless statement – this time it was a yellow shirt with blue lettering that read, “I run with some Fast Friends.”

Desire’s destination

I chose the Meadow Mountain trail in Minturn Thursday afternoon.

It’s a short, mellow hike with panoramic views. Some of the best spots for picnicking include Booth Falls, Hanging Lake, Deluge Lake and Grouse Lake – or, maybe, I just prefer water. Another idea is to take a boat down one of the local rivers until a nice, secluded site is spotted.

Regardless of where you choose to take your date, don’t do what I did. Do not put two, poorly-sealed containers of soup in a backpack and run downhill.

I’m a wet blanket.