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Friday, June 29, 2012

A Climatic Hike To My Comfort Zone: "Excuse Me While I Kiss The Sky"

This, is where I belong.

This never fails to inspire, spark awe and wonder. This replenishes my leaky soul.

Past an abundance of plunging water bound for the Pacific, through meadow after meadow of sweet, feet-kissing wildflowers, we labored up a final ladder of tundra to a snowy ridge line saddle. The ridge undulated like a sleepy Dow Jones, connecting a series of craggy sub-fourteeners. "This," was a new viewpoint for Bobbie and I, and to think, it was't even our intended destination. We thanked Miss Sara N. Dippity for her random, round-a-bout witchy ways, and I apologized to no one in particular for getting frustrated to the point of cursing at the various barricades and detours that landed us in this better circumstance. 

Like seats in a theater, row after row of mountain silhouettes faded into the balcony of our horizon. We had a little alpine costume party on the ridge; identities of familiar peaks were disguised by this new angle of view that tweaked shapes and reordered "seating." There was no mistaking 14,022 foot San Luis Peak to the east, though, sitting there all by her lonesome. I recalled the festering blisters she gave me back in '92.

Our viewing saddle was sandwiched between two 13,400 foot peaks. As we prepared to make our way down Bobbie suggested that we might as well climb one of them. "Maybe we can see Silver Lake (our original destination) from up there." It made me wonder if there was something in her energy bar that wasn't in mine... the little show-off. What could I say but, "Lead the way." 

She made quick work of a jumble of jumbo boulders. Unlike the ridge to Sneffels, these rocks had roots and could be trusted. A few minutes later I was standing on a lonely "no name" summit 13,406 feet above sea level... two thousand feet above timberline, and far, far away from the madding crowd; a place so God-Blessed tranquil that I was audibly aware of mind-gears whirring to a standstill, and witnessed a consummate weaving of Peace, Perfection and Purpose

Once on top we rested weary legs and equally tired eyes on Silver Lake—a sapphire jewel befitting a king and his queen. A small collection of weatherbeaten buildings remained along the north shore, remnants of a gold and silver mining camp from days gone by and a testament to their constructors. It was those ramshackle buildings I had hoped to explore and photograph, only to find the trailhead now blocked with "No Trespassing" signs. Really? a mining claim must be "worked" to remain valid. I suspected this one was used more as a "residence," but what can you do about an antiquated mining law that remains unchanged after 120 years.  So the "owners" are allowed to block access to the trail, which essentially turns Silver Lake into a private fishing hole. It stinks, like guts of trout left to rot in the sun, while breaded pink fillets fry up in the "occupier's" personal, private property pans. That's ok, thanks to them I'm somewhere new... someplace I've never been before. Wow, look at me... I'm actually making "lemonade."

I was suddenly struck down with appreciation—that of all the countless possibilities that lay-in-wait beyond the fleeting orgasm of my conception, "This" is my reality. This is where I live and breathe some 62 years after a random moment of spontaneous passion in the upstairs bedroom of a little house on the outskirts of Springfield, Ohio. 

How do we know, let alone, get to, where we need to be? Does the Universe give us what we need? or just the "guns and ammo" to go hunt it down? Chicken—egg; I don't know. What I do know is that I would not long survive Ohio, nor a city life, with its worldly temptations, shrieking sirens, jackhammers, honking horns, lack of pure air and long lines to do virtually everything A to Z. So that I some-freaking-how ended up here... right where I belong, exactly where I have the best shot at finding out who the hell I am, why I'm here, and then die in peace, well, "excuse me while I kiss the sky." (Jimi Hendrix)

13'416 feet,  one of two "no name" peaks on our ridge

Spencer Basin... Highland Mary's Lake, barely visible in the upper center of the photo
"Into Thin Air"

Bobbie, gaining the precious saddle

The other "no name" peak... the 13,406 foot one Bobbie thought we should climb
Jumbo Rocks, on the way to the top

Only a couple hundred yards to the summit

From the top... of the world

Silver Lake, more or less now a private fishing hole unless you are prepared to hike the long way around and come in from the south.

Another view...

An RV Caravan along the road in to the Highland Mary Lake, and Spencer Basin Trailheads

Your's truly, trying not to fall into Silver Lake 

In the distance is the Grenadier and Needles range, a more sheer range of mountains that includes 14,000 foot peaks, Eolus, Windom and Sunlight... all of which we have summited.

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  1. As usual-- I am confused!!!!!!!Is this past hike OR Mark - this is resting a stress fracture?????????? Tell me ain"t so!

  2. Walden Steve,
    I have Swiss bank accounts of hikes and posts, stored away... waiting for the right day, mood, sign from Heaven. Don't you worry about me, eh?

  3. Mark- I know of only one person as stubborn as you!You met him once during wild flower celebration- take care

  4. By the way- had to laugh at the "eh" comment-- Is that a canadian reference??? made me laugh regardless!

  5. Walden Steve,
    Yes, it was a reference to your sudden "ex-pat" status. I trust you will return to your senses come winter :))

  6. I love reading your blogs and want to be standing where you were standing on those mountaintops. Your blog also makes me sad because I do not have a hiking partner at this time and don't want to do these types of hikes alone. I do go hiking, but only short, easy hikes for now.

  7. Thank you for writing a most inspiring blog. I enjoy your amazing photography too. I have been reading and enjoying your blog for the past 2 years. We too hope to be full-time RVers one day.

  8. Teri,
    It's not far to Lovely Ouray from where you are (Mesa Verde). You should come join us on some hikes... Bobbie and I will be your "hiking partners." :))

    Ron and Cyndi,
    Your comment inspires, too. Thank you, and I hope our future RV paths cross when you get to "full-time" mode.
    Thanks for comments! Motivational Fuel, you know.

  9. Mark-- I have enjoyed the Canadian experience- Toronto Quebec- Newfoundland- Halafax- Prince ED Island-Peggys cove etc=all very interesting BUT $12.00 6 packs of beer purchased only at Gov stores is unlivable! Back in states now-!

  10. Walden Steve,
    It would need to be really good beer...
    We found it a tad expensive up there, but oh so charming. Canadians take real pride in their property, Main Streets, and shops. You get what you pay for, I guess, but gee... I'd have to cut back on my IPA's.

  11. Mark,
    You're killing me! On a solo hike up Gothic Mountain back a few years I remember sitting on the knife edge as a storm came in. The rain was cold, the wind was building, but I stayed put.

    I recalled that hike years later as I finished up 60 hours alone on my sailboat watching the sun rise as I approached Penobscott Bay on the way home.

    As I've said in the past I miss the west, but at least I still have the sea.


  12. Dick,
    I hear you... there is a parallel relationship between mood and weather on a mountain top, as well as the sea. When it turns nasty we experience a different side, one more serious and wonderful... exhilarating.
    I remember crossing a marvelous bridge over Penobscott Bay on The Artful RV Adventure, a real architectural masterpiece.
    Thanks for your "two cents,"


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