|"Marathon Man," Lenard... pondering a San Juan Mountain sunrise while contemplating the pros and cons of a conversion to "Mountain Man."|
Forth of July Freedom; what to do, what to do... go climb a mountain, of course. So we ditched nuts-to-butts crowds, food festivities and the traditionalwater-fights (a brutal sport where teams of combatants use fire hoses with streams of high pressure water to knock each other to the ground), grabbed our new friend Lenard ("Marathon Man," as he is a born again runner) and headed off to summit Mount Abrams, a classic, but imposing, pyramidal peak towering above Lovely Ouray like some Box Canyon Bouncer.
Did I mentioned the monsoon season arrived? Yes in-deedy, thunderstorms are now part and parcel to all hiking expeditions above-timberline. They roll in every afternoon on a schedule tighter than the Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Train. I'm not complaining, mind you, after June's not-one-single-drop of rain and skin desiccating five percent humidities. Clear blue skies and sun are pleasant, but it's been drier than butter-less popcorn around here, which gets a little hard to swallow day-in day-out.
We countered the threat of thunder and electrified air with an early start, one that made Lenard groan with dis-anticipation. I told him he could sleep when he's dead and it seemed to shut him up.
|Lenard, standing in the shadows of a chilly, early morning start. Bobbie is the white dot in the background. She had to pause in order to tend to a pesky nosebleed.|
To our backsides, Red Mountain rose from the shadows and shouted with color. "Hey, turn around... look at me!" Indeed, girl, look at you... all dressed up in your pretty red dress.
|"Put on your red dress mama, cause we're goin' out tonight"|
You don't see too many parents walking their kids to school anymore; bus stops, maybe, but the Minivan is so convenient and easy. When's the last time you walked to the post office or corner grocer? That's what I thought... cause this is Californ-America: "We drive... even if it's only a block." Most of us would be pushing up daisies in a matter of weeks if time-capsuled back a hundred and fifty years or more.
I guess my point is this: Our comfort zone has become way too comfortable. There is nothing I hate more than wind, so facing my discomfort... yea, embracing it as a separate exercise apart from the climb... made for an "experience" truly outside my comfort zone, a little like Pal Boonie embraces winter cold.
|Bobbie and Lenard, "Going To The Sun," working their way up to a ridge-run to Abrams|
As we approached the ridge to Abrams our route leveled into sweet rolls of tundra. I find ridge lines wonderful, especially above timberline. They afford far reaching top-of-the-world views in every direction, including down.
|If I had to put a title to this photo? "Depth of Field"|
While tiptoeing our tundran skywalk, Lenard mentioned something to the effect that he was stunned by the beauty of this hike. When we told him that it was actually one of the less spectacular climbs his jaw dropped about a foot. "Oh wait till you see Ice Lakes," crooned Bobbie, "You ain't seen nothin' yet."
It was the God's honest truth, but for someone who grew up in central Texas, it was probably difficult to imagine something more spectacular.
|A "runner" walks up here...|
|I love this shot... it literally pulls the viewer into an alpine vortex. Can you feel it?|
|Ironton, one of the few straight stretches on The Million Dollar Highway between Ouray and Silverton|
|Lavender rock, Red Mountain and Blue sky... all smiling at little ol' me|
|If "variety" is the spice of life, this is some "sauce."|
|The final approach to Mount Abrams lofty summit|
|"Finish Line" That's one happy Texan|
|Lenard didn't want to leave... we had to drag him off the mountain. A storm set in just as we reached the safety of our truck|
|We had Abrams all to ourselves on the Fourth of July, "Let freedom ring."|
|Cotton-ball precursors to thunderheads... Time to head down (sniff)|
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