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Sunday, July 21, 2013

Same Ol, Same Ol Mountain Flower Spam and Philosophical Meanderings

Ok, admittedly it's a mad dog of a road. I took it easy though, inch-worming over boulders in lowest gears, slipping through skinny spots tighter than peg-leg jeans, tipping the least degree possible toward a cartwheel into a wild-flowered abyss. It wasn't so much that Bobbie was faint-hearted when she bailed on the last mile, just that she preferred to start what was to be a "short hike" early—at least that was the story she stuck to. So it was up to men and their machine, John Q, Boonie, and Walden Steve, and good dog Coffee Girl to grind it out. Coffee Girl adjusted quickly and actually seemed to enjoy the rock and roll gyrations. Ah, there's something special about a girl who loves to go four wheeling in pickups, no offense, Bobbie.

We headed up, up, up, through talus slopes of cadmium yellow and florescent fuchsia paintbrush, and columbines of an abnormally pale blue, as if starved for oxygen. Then came menacing clouds that fogged our lunar landscape with a foul mood. Ptarmigan cooed and fluttered about, oblivious to weather. 

Eventually, a few ragged class IV spires speared the mist. I pointed, trying to get a rise out of Steve, indicating that it was our destination. Oddly, no one in the group missed a step. I realized that one goes to places like this to shed "white bread" routines, to put a little "ad" in their ventures. It makes us feel small and threatened, like a puny geek with lunch money passing a gang of bullies outside the school gate. It's why I love Glacier in fall when grizzlies are on the prowl—to see what it's like to exist at the bottom of the food chain. Recall near misses with grace and fondness; are we ever more alive?

We climbed on, surpassing 12, then 13,000 feet at Blue Lakes Pass. I worried about Florida Boy Steve with his sea level legs and lungs. I told him to slow down and act his age. Elevation sometimes slams you the second day, especially after a six packer the night before, by my count, but "only one," to hear Steve tell it. Ah, memory is the second thing to go, my friend, and they don't make a little blue pill for that. 

A surreal scene awaited our winded arrival at Blue Lakes Pass. To the north, Mount Sneffels—all 14,150 feet—rising out of sight into a cloak of clouds that roiled like slow motion water on the boil. We could plainly hear rockfall and voices from unseen climbers in the mist, as if they were mere feet away...ghostly sirens of ships passing in fog. 

Below, Blue Lakes went missing–lost in vapors resembling those that rise from dry ice. We waited and waited, hoping for an opening in the veil that would allow a glimpse of the "bride." Boonie caught a chill and headed down, victim of a cold sweat soaked tee shirt. Coffee Girl followed dutifully at his side. Of all in our group, she was the most oblivious to elevation...chasing chipmunks and picas up and down the talus in a fever of instinct. Perhaps it's Coffee Girl's "four wheel drive" that allows her to be so frisky and efficient up high, while her human counterparts move like slugs.

The beautiful Blue Lakes "bride" was shy, her veil stubborn—just a peep hole tease, as opposed to "the full monty" I had hoped for. Oh well, a day in the mountains is never wasted. It restores one's soul and perspective, that we are in reality small outside our normal environment. In mountains, we are like the little boy geek with lunch money, trying to skirt around the "bullies."  
Peace out from the gang in Lovely Ouray...


  1. Nice! Reading and enjoying your pictures of the wildflowers was a great first read of the day!

  2. Ahhhhh, nice to see some photos of Coffee Girl. Her & Pheebs were best Pals for the short couple of times they met up over near Ajo Arizona a couple years ago:))

  3. ahhh good morning, Mark ... such a beautiful hike with my coffee.

    The reflections are my favorite ~ so peaceful

  4. OK, now we, at the NSA, have a few shots of Boonie's face that our super computers will be able to assemble into a perfect image for identification and future tracking.

    Agent Obsidian

  5. Is it possible that Bobbie got out of the truck because she was feeling overcome by testosterone fumes? ;-)

    Those pink posies are my very favs...Something I had never seen before the BCB!

  6. Gay and Joe,
    I'm honored that you started your sunday with the BBC :)

    Bayfield Al,
    Coffee Girl is all grown up now...a lady. A nice playmate for Pheebs. Thanks!

    Thank you! I enjoyed your take (taking out) on TV news on your "I'm telling you what I think" post...

    "Emmanuel Baptist church is having a food drive. that's what churches need to be doing instead of telling me what to do with my uterus... we women are too stupid to think for ourselves ~ make our own decisions ~ we need church people and neanderthal politicians to make them for us. always wondered what men would do with a vagina ... or well, what I'd do with a penis... funny idn't it."

    Yes, funny indeed. Keep blowing holes; I'll bring you more bullets :)) And thanks for your comment.

    Agent Obsidian,
    Boonie is a man of many guises and disguises...

    Given the age of the men involved, it is doubtful that testosterone fumes drove Bobbie from Petroleus Rex. Of course, lack of male hormones does not impact the rhetoric. That will never change :))
    Enjoyed your last post too, BTW... Motorheads every where these days :((

    Thanks, Mark

  7. Looks like a beautiful day a good time! Amazing pics. I hope you and Bobbie are well. I miss you guys!

  8. C J,
    Ditto the "miss you" part. Summer is sliding by too fast, days shortening, I'm not ready. I catch your extreme gym antics on Facebook...you are awesome (an overused word, I know).

  9. Stunning photos and scenery. Perhaps I can coax you and Bobbi into an "easy" hike next week....lol. Ingrid

  10. Magnificent header photo!!

    Boy, those wildflowers sure are beautiful. Glad you included lots of shots.

  11. I think you may need to help me find a workamping job in Ouray for next summer. We need to even up the guy/girl ratio on your hikes.

  12. I so love the mountains!
    Just had a weeks vacation in the mountains.

    Wonderful photos!
    And what a hike!

  13. On the road to Blue Lake Pass, remember that new AWD Volvo with the crashed side door? He had slid into that large boulder on the way down. As your spotter on the way down and trying to miss that boulder, I felt like I was on the Titanic spotting the iceberg. Your big white Ford 4x4 was headed right for that boulder. I keep saying go left, go left, why isn't he going left? At the last moment, you cut left and just missed that boulder by 2". Great fun!
    John Q

  14. Live Laugh,
    An easy hike it is...then a cool drink and food :)

    John and Pam,
    Yes, the header photo is Columbine Lake...I haven't posted that hike yet :(

    You could even out the ratio...Bobbie would appreciate that. Maybe next summer.

    Thank you...mountains in summer, deserts in winter, and oceans every once in a while. It's a good life. Thanks for commenting :)

    John Q.
    I know, I give you the responsibility of spotting for me and then ignore what you say. Sorry...I was in the Drive By Feel mode. To my credit, I did get out and scout the route :) Via Fatarra? Lets to that wall! I want photos of you on a vertical cliff face :))

  15. Some amazing shots here. You bring back fond memories of climbing vertical slopes in the Jeep with hubby. There were times I decided it was time for a hike, too. ;)


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