Action County: Judy Patten
Every morning, Dillon’s Judy Patten walks to work. It’s not like the Colorado native and 15-year veteran of Summit County life is jaunting across the street, however.Rather, she’s walking to work in Keystone, right alongside Highway 6, five miles away from where she lives. Averaging 10 miles a day, Patten is a regular sight for many people who drive down the four-lane highway every morning and afternoon.
“In the grocery store people will say to me, ‘We don’t know you but we know you,'” Patten said. Patten moved to Summit County in 1989 from her hometown of Boulder, when she got a job in the reservations department at Keystone Resort. These days she splits her time between the documents division of the department in the winter and the resort’s landscaping department in the summer. “It’s just a way to get to work, that’s all,” she said of her unusual routine. “It’s just something I’ve always done – walking, not so much running.” Even before she moved to the area, Patten would walk 10 miles a day in Boulder as a way to stay in shape for longer weekend hikes in the mountains. Though she does own a car, she rarely uses it, walking to most destinations in Summit County or taking the Summit Stage.
Why do you walk on the highway?”In the wintertime, they don’t plow the bike path, and the dogs and bikes bother me more than the cars. I always hike down Highway 6. It has gone through many, many changes over the years since I began walking it.”
Do winter conditions slow you down?”The rain and snow don’t bother me, I just keep going. Lightning is the only thing I won’t mess with.”What type of backcountry hiking do you prefer?”I used to be a fourteener bagger, but they have gotten so crowded. The thirteeners are just as hard and less crowded. This summer, I went with a small group of University of Colorado alumni and we walked from Aspen to Crested Butte and back. It took about seven hours over and five hours back. We took a weekend to do it and played around a lot.”
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