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Thursday, August 7, 2014

Making a Day Off Count


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




25 comments:

  1. The picture of you and Bobbie is worth a thousand words.......but....I will spare you!
    And, I will just say thanks a million for the postcards!

    Laverne in hot and dry Austin

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    1. Bless you Laverne :)) I think you need to get out of "Dodge" and head up to Lovely Ouray for a spell…and bring Julie with you :))

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  2. You are a bunch of mighty fit 60 somethings, and your agility and ability to summit these beasts year after year at this altitude puts me to shame. That's a very fine place you inhabit.

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    1. The secret to still going, is to go slower…There, my secret is out.

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  3. Congratulations! It sure doesn't look like much of a worn path at all up there. I guess not many went before you:) Great accomplishment!

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    1. You are right…there is no "path" most of the way. We got turned around a couple of times and bailed into the wrong drainage. It made for very long days and sore feet.

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  4. Replies
    1. Well…we are more stubborn than "amazing," Just refuse to give in to the "hourglass." But we know who wins that war...

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  5. Inspiring on so many levels...

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    1. Thank you, Suzanne. Your guides await :))

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  6. What a wonderful day...so awesome you and Bobbie don't sit around with the Diet Coke and "Price as Right". Look what we would all miss...your beautiful photos! Congrats and take another Advil!

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    1. And chase that Advil with a hoppy IPA…or two :)

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  7. Thank you, thank you for sharing such amazing views!

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    1. Thank you…it's what I love to do, so it comes easy.
      Doesn't pay all that good tho, so I take comments like yours to heart. They keep the BCB going...

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  8. I don't think you could have paid for a better day! Great selfie!

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  9. Finally some decent pictures!!(kidding!) well looks like recovery from past health problems is complete- Hope to try this hike out myself next summer- stay healthy you two! walden creek rv steve

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    1. My "recovery" is at about 75%…I'll be fully recovered by the time you get out here next summer :)

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  10. What great weather to do the Abrams 's hike. That's funny that Leonard is not taking the FJ on the dirty off road trails. How long did it take you to reach the summit? What elevation did you start? Next year it is on the to do list. We are back in Indy enjoying your blog.

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    1. Took about two hours to the summit…two long steep uphill grinds with a ridge run in between. Started at timberline. It was good to see you again and meet your better half.

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  11. Nice pics from the Ansel Adams of Ouray. I especially like the selfie!

    Dave Anderson

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    1. Ha, Thanks Dave.
      I should shoot more Black and Whites during summers; It comes naturally in the wintertime, but it's hard to do when everything is so green and flowers are everywhere...

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  12. Where's the massive cairn at the top? It used to be substantial and several feet high. Kelvin Kent says you can't count Abrams hiked unless you "tag up" on the cairn. Is that it in the Leonard in the Sky with Diamonds photo? What happened to it?

    KachinaBoy

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