I wish I was as practical, philosophically, and literally, as my Pal Boonie. While I'm at it, I might as well wish that I was as smart, too. Sometimes I feel like I need Cliff's Notes and Webster's Dictionary to make sense of his posts. He has garnered quite an intellectual audience—people who actually get his metaphors, symbolisms, and references to long dead writers that I've never even heard of.
On his "Why Climb Mountains II" post, Boonie and his cerebral celeb commenters exercise their brains—laying out respective thesis's on how and why the intelligentsia would climb a mountain. Sheesh. For me, it's not all that complicated. Simply put, one, I'm pursing peaks in order to exercise my body on something other than a machine. Two, I'm exorcising my mental demons on something I "get," as opposed to Jesus (no offense Lord, but you never speak to me like you did to my parents). And three, because mountains are there, and I'm a curious sort of guy.
Now I'd be lying to you if I discounted the challenge involved in making it to a summit. Bobbie and I have braved rain, snow, sleet, hail and lightning while climbing 50 of the 54 14'ers in Colorado; being outside and moving is/was something we both enjoy(ed), and doing it together makes it more enjoyable.
But everyone is climbing 14'ers nowadays; it's hard to find a parking place at the bottom, and it's too crowded on top. So we switched to 13'ers, and suddenly, we're all alone. People ask us, "When are you going to bag the last four, you're so close?" Probably never. There is challenge enough in a 13'er; a few hundred more feet and a throng of Range Rover east-slope urbanite yuppies outfitted for a Kilimanjaro trek isn't going to put a smile on my face. I do like to "summit," but I'm not as fanatical as I once was.
But I am a little fanatical about sharing mountains with friends, whether a summit is involved or not. Conversation comes easy when one is short of breath, above the fray of timber and heat. Wildflowers are responding to recent monsoons, proliferating on lush slopes of alpine tundra. I enjoy wading through them, and sharing a few special places with new and old friends. I also enjoy sharing my photos on the BCB to a most appreciative audience. It is the least I can do to give something back. If I tend to get a little rah rah sometimes, please pardon my exuberance; this magical place is what breathes life into an otherwise empty vessel.
Walden Steve braved a 15 hour drive and night time mudslides on Red Mountain in order to join our group-hikes for a few days. Fearing afternoon monsoons, I arranged for an early start. We all piled into Petroleus Rex, put Coffee Girl in the toppered bed, and drove poor Steve back up old Red. It was good that he came over in the dark because there were some pretty big rocks in the remainder of those "mudslides."
We drove into dense cloud banks, some higher, some lower. At 11,000 feet timber stands began to sputter; we turned onto Black Bear Pass road, a jeep trail that goes to Telluride the hard way, and continued to climb. Senator Beck Mine trail is not marked, so Bobbie scanned for it's faint path while I kept Pet Rex upright on the crooked and narrow. "There." she said, so I pulled into what was more of an economy car parking spot, and we bailed into the mist.
Walden Steve impressed us with his Florida "gills." He didn't lag behind at all, and wasn't breathing that hard for an old geezer :) We love you Steve...Brooke says hello. Thanks for coming out and blessing us with your great outlook on life.
Here's our skin moisturizing hike to Senator Beck Basin.
|These lovely flowers are called Elephant Heads...a fitting name.
|We met two gals, packing in...
|A solar powered weather station
|Taking a well deserved breather near 12,000 feet