Tuesday, September 30, 2014
A Little Bit of Jesus Christ, and A Whole Lot of Jack Daniels
Storm clouds and Flash Flood warnings have lifted, and we are treated to a snowcapped mountain surround out the amphitheater-facing Imax Window this morning. Old Man Winter has sounded the first of three foreboding gongs... a sonic pall intended to frighten Ms Autumn on down the road, shake "flowers" from limbs of quaking aspen, and break the mental death-grip Crevice dwelling mountain folk have on their "Endless Indian Summer" fantasy.
But we managed to squeeze in another Pre-Gong hike, one that originates on the aspen lined outskirts of Silverton. It began alongside a Cemetery that overlooks town, and it's filled with a couple century's worth of long-suffering pioneers, hard rock miners, and children too fragile to survive the bitter winter environment into which they were born.
But Silverton can be a lovely place when framed in autumnal attire. Her valley glows like a low fire as we walk amongst its leafy embers, soaking up shimmering yellow wavelengths of filtered sunlight. It bestows a certain contemplative, inner-spriritual warmth that contents the most wretched and restless souls… including my own.
But when the third gong sounds, and it will (did), Silverton is not a place for the faint of mind and spirit. At 9300 feet, it's often brutalized by Old Man Winter—isolated by avalanche across mountain pass roads—it's residents pinned "full-nelson" to their cold, icy mat.
People have but two social outlets when snowed into Silverton: Churches and Bars. It's neither unusual nor sacrilegious to take advantage of both, "I'll have a Black Jack, and pour another one for the Reverend." It's a matter of survival, you know, a little bit of Jesus Christ… and a whole lot of Jack Daniels. An Arizona desert rat like me wouldn't survive a single winter in places like Silverton. But I could really thrive there for a couple weeks in mid to late September :))
Now join us as we are graced by Chappell Park, the old cemetery, and on an ascension up Boulder Gulch… above the purdy trees and into thin air, soon to be filled with flurries of snow.