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Saturday, August 1, 2015

Postcards From The Edge Of Heaven… and Butt Glacading

If there is one hike we never tire of repeating it is the trek to Bullion King Lake and beyond, to one of several 13,000 foot plus ridge line saddles that connect a series of ragged peaks. The upper basin is indescribable—beyond words, but hopefully not beyond postcards.

Bullion King is Disneyland for adults… only white snow instead of Snow White. Throw in a couple blue lakes, a splash of assorted wildly colored flowers and voila, a breathtaking sensory experience... literally, and figuratively.

Suzanne… reflecting on Bullion King Lake :)
This would be John Q and Joallen's final hike with the gang before packing it back to Indy, so I wanted to end their annual visit to Lovely Ouray with a bang.

While Jim was preoccupied—wrestling with a water leak in the Lazy Daze' outdoor shower—Little Adventurer Gayle, Bopolo Kim, Highway Taker Suzanne, the Q's, and THE To Simplify Glenn all piled into Petroleous Rex about a mile on the Silverton side of Red Mountain Pass. Yes, Bullion King would require yet another jostling, nail-biting, panic attack inducing 4  wheel drive road. That said, I believe the reluctant motorized mountain traveler among us (Gayle) is adjusting to being trapped inside the overcrowded Pet Rex "elevator" on forays up narrow, off-camber Jeep roads with precipitous drop-offs. Sometimes one must fly to overcome a fear of flying :)

Another "reflection." Behind that mountain over Suzanne's right shoulder winds the infamous Black Bear Pass road,  the gnarliest, scariest, most dangerous white knuckle Jeep road in Colorado.  Chris and Mindy want to take some of the Gang over it. Wonder who will volunteer????
There is so much drama and distance above timberline… not a single dad gum tree to interrupt the view. I guess I'm getting spoiled by alpine hikes, to the point where I don't really care for woods hikes all that much anymore. Unless the trail is headed for the Alpine Zone, I'd just as soon not endure it… the exception being autumn and winter, of course :).

A few will make it to yonder ridge lines… 

Suzanne and Bobbie make STEEP look easy

To Simplify Glenn tests the water for temperature… he wants to take a dip but is too modest to do it au naturel. 

Joallen Q

But the lake is not enough, we must push on… 
To wildflowers and ridge lines...
Where a "Simple" man can further simplify his complex mind… 

Stand amongst the flowers and point out true happiness to would be disciples…  if they could only redux to a Simpler time, put everything they own into a Simple Van, and preach the Simple gospel, or something like that :)

Some cross the snow, while some go around

Looking into the heart of the "Needles" in the Weminuche Wilderness Area. 14'ers Eolus, Windom, and Sunlight are amongst them… all of which we have summited. 

Out of Bullion King basin and into one of Mill Creeks basins… where we will tackle that snowy saddle on the ridge in order to get a peek at Blue Lake on the other side

Glenn does not always take the Simple route… 

Bobbie charges the ridge with Glenn on her tail… while Gayle tries to find a way out of Boulder, Colorado :)

Bobbie leads Suzanne up the mountain. "It helps to use your arms, Suzanne… lean into the mountain."
Somehow Glenn beats us all to the top. Obviously he cheated!!!

Bobbie, then Suzanne, then Gayle—if you look real close—struggling against 13,000 feet, verticality, and gravity, gravity, gravity. It never sleeps.

Persistence (stubbornness, actually) pays off with a summit @ 13,200 feet.

And the reward? Blue Lake and far views

Glenn is quickly off to run the ridge, while Suzanne is just happy to be where she's at.

It's windy, so I have to hold Bobbie's hair in place for any photo ops 

Ridge Running Glenn… see you at the bottom, pal

Walking the ridge line

Rocks are cool!!!

Someone in their "Happy Place"

Two Tough Gals

Time to start down… 

Down is always more difficult that going up

Goodbye Ridge, hello Wildflowers

Dapper Gayle, competing for attention amongst wildflowers

Lordy, we struck it rich!!!

The hills are alive...

Wildflowers have a way of slowing you down enough to smell the "roses"

Suzanne says she wants to stay "right here" forever… I remind her about winters in Colorado.

Gayle leads the way back… it's the wrong direction but hey, she's having a great time. Why spoil it :)

But Gayle's long way home gives us a chance to practice up on our glacade. Nice form Bobbie!

Some feel more comfortable Butt Glacading… note the big grin on Suzanne's face as snow works it's way up her shorts :)

And then Gayle copy cats Suzanne's technique.  Don't worry about all those rocks at the bottom Gayle. Your not on blood thinners, are you???

This brook actually babbles… 

Back down to Bullion King… Glenn is down there somewhere

Bobbie tries Suzanne and Gayle's Butt Glacade on the rocks… it doesn't work.


  1. I read Suzanne's version of this hike earlier, so was really looking forward to yours. You are right, a couple of strong wonderful women there! And Suzanne's photo of the road was pretty scary looking. Noticed you didn't have time to take any of those while driving.

  2. Magnificent! Applause all around!

    I nominate pic #1 as the Best Gayle Hiking Photo Ever.

  3. If there could be a more perfect day, I can't conceive of it. Thanks to you and Bobbie (and Pet Rex!) for both taking and talking me up that ridge! No place I would rather be than following right behind you guy's footsteps!

  4. Loved all the captions!! What a great hike:) I've always said that coming down is harder than going up. Thanks goodness for poles. Great photos of the butt sliding:) Gorgeous postcards:) Thanks!

  5. What an AWESOME hike! I agree, alpine views are the best...trees just get in the way!

  6. Will the mountains, er, flowers still be there next month when we get there? Just gorgeous!

    1. Alas, not too many… a few yellows maybe. But I could be wrong as the season ran late this year. :)
      thanks Ed,

    2. We could come sooner, but we're hoping that everything and everywhere will be less crowded after labor day.

  7. What a wonderful adventure. So beautiful! It has been a great year for mountain flowers. It was fun reading the various different perspectives of your joint hikes. Thanks for virtually taking us along.

  8. Bullion King, one of my favorite hikes above tree line with flowers, lakes, snow, peaks, and great friendship with fellow hikers.

  9. Really liked the photo captions, changes them from postcards to stories.

  10. I can see why this is a hike you like to repeat!

  11. Stunning, just stunning. Thanks for taking us along.

  12. Just read Suzanne's blog in "real time" regarding the passing of her dad. We are glad she was not alone when the news came and that the "Gang" was on hand to assist her with support and logistics. That IS priceless.

  13. Suzanne seems to be turning in to quite the hiker! I know from previous posts that Bobbie sets a good pace so to see Suzanne keeping up with her in so many photos made me smile. Maybe someday I can get vertical in Colorado too, I keep hoping.


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