Wow, from a distance this handsome duo could pass for a couple in their mid-60's :). Take a peek over my right shoulder; that's Lovely Ouray, cradled in the bosom of our volcanic and vertiginous San Juan Mountains. Every morning we sip coffee and gaze out our south facing Imax Window, watching the first rays of sun glint off Mount Abram's pyramidal summit. At nearly 13,000 feet, Abram's charms are irresistible, like Delilaha—the man-eating seductress. But it's the least I can do—oblige a seductress.
The Chit Chat of a group climb helps take one's mind off everyday aches and pains associated with climbing and descending the ridiculously steep portions of Mount Abrams. Alas, over-aging seniors who don't know better than to act their age, what will become of us? So I put out a call-to-summit, and, to my surprise, actually had a couple of "takers." For those who didn't heed the call, it's your loss. For those who did heed the call, I apologize if you are as sore as I am.
Bruce Gulde, co-owner with wife Tamara of Bear Creek Store (where Bobbie works) and Mountain Fever Gifts, had yet to climb Mount Abram. So, he played hooky from work and joined in, along with Leonard—aka, "Leon," and/or "Marathon Man"—Braun.
Before I climbed Abram the first time, it bugged me something fierce that, in spite of its stately prominence and air of authority, I hadn't summited this icon of Lovely Ouray. I'd wake up to it's view every morning, sip coffee, gaze out the Imax, and watch the first rays of pink begin to glow on its snowcapped summit. It seemed to return my stare, looking down its long alpine nose and double dog daring me to do something about my un-sated curiosity. Same thing with the multi-hued crater known as The Blowout that lies dead cross-canyon from our home. I needed to find a way up and into that geological Disneyland, with its lavender volcanic tuft and surreal hoo-doos. Sure enough, one day—with a little help from local climbers—Bobbie and I picked The Blowout's lock.
For reasons I've yet to fathom, some townies are content to cast contemplative eyes on Lovely Ouray's sentinel monument every damn day without the slightest inkling to go see what's up there—to see what their little "Switzerland of America" and the rest of the world looks like from on top. Seems curiosity cuts both ways, motivating some, paralyzing others.
I've always viewed my insatiable curiosity as a gift, after all, it rescued me from Missouri's plague of biting insects and insufferable humidity and landed me right here… outside the gate to Heaven. Curiosity can empower ordinary people to do extraordinary things, to go to the ends of the sea, earth, and space in the face of peril—people like Magellan and Columbus, Lewis and Clark, and John Glenn, who, at the age of 40, was the first American to orbit the earth and the fifth person in space. He then went back into space aboard Discovery at the age of 77. No Fear.
For its flowered tundra, colorful volcanic outcrops, and far views, Abram has become an annual climb. On this day there would be no pressure from afternoon thunderstorms. We were able to lounge on the summit, take in all 360 degrees of fascinating geological relief, play reality versions of Google Earth with our cameras. I watched microbe-sized jeeps and ATV's creep along at snail pace on four wheel drive roads, etched into cliffside switchbacks.
And this, while someone, somewhere in Lovely Ouray was sipping Diet Coke and watching The Price is Right.
|Leonard didn't want to get his tricked out F-J dirty so we took Petroleous Rex. I don't think the F-J has been off road yet :)
|Leonard In The Sky with Diamonds