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Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Half Moon plus Half hearted equals Full Day in the Mountains

Bobbie suggested some south-facing hikes, the idea being snow would be "manageable." She was coming off a 3 day work week, raring to go, while I was coming off a 2 hour tango with Camp Bird Road, in need of a masseuse... preferably young and strong and female. 

I've had a Man Massage a couple times and it didn't go well. He was out of shape, probably tipped the scale at 250, and about halfway into my massage he began to fart. Then, as if that wasn't bad enough, he worked up a lathering sweat that dripped all over my body. As we all know, women don't fart or sweat.

But it was a nice day to get high. Lovely Ouray was forecasted to push an unlovely 83 degrees, so it would be cooler "up there" at 13,500 feet, give or take, on top of Hayden Mountain's highest peak. 

The route to Hayden was, you guessed it, Hayden Trail. It would land us on Richmond pass, a saddle from which we could scramble to the summit after negotiating an in-spire-ing ridge run over some, well, spires.  So, with nearly 4,000 feet of elevation to gain, we best get started.

It seems none of my photos convey the steepness of the "Bitch" Hayden Trail, probably because I'm not really in the mood to take purdy pictures when I can't breath. Suffice it to say my legs pouted the whole way up, wondering why I was being so mean to them lately.

It was green, green, green; a few flowers even. No snow anywhere... a good sign. 

Then we popped out above timberline. Ok... some patchy snow, but maybe we can find away around. 

We paused to catch our breath and look around. Hard to believe we started from the bottom just an hour and a half ago. My legs reminded me that going down hurt them (which is to say, "me") more than going up. Yes, it is the "downs" that shows your age/arthritis. But we'll deal with that when the time comes.

The above photo shows the saddle of Richmond Pass to the right of center, partially hidden from view by a grassy knoll. Hayden is off to the far right, a better view below... 

I looked left just in time to catch the half-moon before sank below a cornice.

Half Moon over Cornice
 Then a final push to the grassy knoll.  Shucks. Not only was the saddle snowed in, but so was the approach. It was steep, too. Bobbie wanted no part of post-holing, not to mention loosing her footing and careening human bobsled style into glacial boulders. We were sooo close, though. My legs cried out to listen to Bobbie, for Christ's sake, "You've still got to get down!"

I walked out on the snow. "It feels firm."
"No!" In unison from legs and Bobbie. 

So we plopped our sagging butts down and had our peanut butter and jam sandwiches... squinting into the snow, even with sunglasses on. The wind kicked up and it got a tad chilly.

Hayden, from our lunch spot... too steep to go around the snow.
 Looking back across the way was the whole chorus of Red Mountains, not looking nearly as red shooting into the sun, but marvelous just the same.

Time to tighten bootlaces and start the Toe-Jam back down to the car.  Cue "Sound of Music."


  1. Oh my... sooo gorgeous a hike. The green green mountain meadows with a narrow trail, the dark stands of pine, and the occasional fields of left-over snow with the dark blue sky....it all reminds me so much of bygone days in the sixties when travelling to Switzerland every summer.

  2. Sound of Music is right...what mountain perfection you live in! Boy do I miss some mountain hiking these days...I'll get mine later this summer in Oregon though.

  3. The Hills are Alive; but I couldn't get the farting, sweating, masseuse off my mind. Great pics as usual...jc

  4. Beautiful hardly describes this post...it goes way beyond that!
    Into agree about the going down part...really gives my knees a fit!

  5. That half moon shot is a beaute! Did you shoot that with the ELPH?

  6. It just doesn't get much "purdier" than that high country looking across the top of the world. You picked a great day for it.

    As for us, we're down to our last 48 hours in a sticks and bricks "home".

  7. did a lot of backpacking in that area a long time ago... I agree I would rather climb than go down a steep slope!

  8. Just beautiful! Surprised to see so many flowers this early. And also surprised that common sense (and Bobbie) ruled on continuing through the snow.

  9. It doesn't get much better than hiking in the open meadows with the vista views of the surrounding mountains. Your mountain photos elevate the heart beat.

  10. Yes, why IS it that steep trails never look steep in the pictures? I've posted several steep pictures, and they never look impressive at all. It's very aggravating.

  11. I miss hiking in CO, but my daughter is moving back to CO at the end of July, so I'm sure I will be spending some summers there.

  12. I'm at the public library and having a hard time stifling my laughter over your masseuse experience. I don't know who told you women don't fart but if you spent any time with me you would quickly get over that illusion! ;) My mom used to call it "foofering".


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