main.jpge6bc7c6d-203e-475d-b9bb-e7f55c87d023OriginalQuest for Pikachu – it’s common knowledge that going for an adventure completely unplugged is beautiful and serene. However, we can enjoy the splendors and wildlife of the great outdoors and can now incorporate the thrill of the hunt with our friends in artificial reality, Pokémon. In 1998 many of us recognized the Japanese pocket monster phenomenon when the hit cartoon captivated young boys and girls every weekend across the nation.

The card game soon followed with kids carting zipper binders full of their favorite cards and prepared to test the new strategies swirling through their heads. Personally, I didn’t catch the Pokémon fever. I would, on occasion, watch a few episodes to avoid conflict with my younger brother. However, the newest Pokémon GO craze has hit me with reckless abandon. I have “gotta catch ‘em all.” Don’t you love to feel like a true hunter on the scent of these illusive creatures?

Although not the strongest or most valuable Pokémon, my biggest goal is to capture Pikachu. Once on the Atlantic coast I had him in a Pokéball just when the game was hacked and the servers fell. Now, I follow his trail of leaves through Aspen Colorado. You may be wondering why I don’t use Pokémon mapping websites such as Pokévision or Pokécrew to find what I seek. For me, using those sites are the same as having someone drive you around from place to place spinning PokéStops for the most loot. It defeats the purpose of the game. I want the total thrill of the adventure.

Strolling around more populated areas such as Main Street, Hopkins Avenue, and up to Aspen Theatre Park will provide you with plenty of PokéStops and gyms where you can stock up on supplies and battle adversaries from the Instinct, Valor or Mystic teams. Around town you may find a few of the less common Pokémon such as Evee, Ponyta, or even a Snorlax but mostly Spearow, Rattata, Pidgey, and Weedles galore. I decided to go on a Pokémon research exploration mission as well as take in the natural views and landscapes Aspen has to offer.

Ekans on the Trail

ekansEggs in incubators, ready for some walking, I headed out. I decided to venture to Crater Lake Trail. A 3.4 mile trail outside of Aspen that is full of friendly people with their dogs or even riding horses! My first encounter was a rock type, Geodude, fitting for the scenery of granite rocks and boulders gleaming in the sun throughout the trail.

Ekans was my next challenge waiting within the beautiful aspen trees with their smooth white bark. Following the trail and throwing Pokéballs at everything in sight, I finally arrived at the turnaround point, Crater Lake.

Tauros at the Bells

taurosThe water was still and glassy and reflected the clouds silently floating overhead. I found a spot not populated by other sightseers enjoying the sights of the Maroon Bells, unpacked my granola bar and briefly charged my phone with an external battery. While finishing up and preparing to head back, my phone vibrated in the palm of my hand. Was this it? Was this the illusive Pikachu I’ve been searching for?

As I lifted my phone to the lake a Tauros appeared as if visiting his favorite watering hole. Elated with my new captor I later learned that Tauros is a regional Pokémon and only found in North American Regions. I also learned Kangaskhan, Mr. Mime and Farfetch’d are Pokémon believed to be region-locked to specific locations.

Although Pikachu still eludes me, my findings and the sights in Aspen have encouraged me to travel on future research expeditions in an effort to catch ‘em all!

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