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Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Sharing our "good spots" with Dehui... and a few Mountain Maggots

We've spent a couple of glorious days hiking above timberline with Dehui Yang. My concern that wildflower season might have evaporated before his arrival proved misspent.

In spite of dire, end-of-the-world forecasts for thunderstorms (that never materialized), we marched into rarified air... 13,000 feet above sea level. It's a little like breathing laughing gas up there... troubles melt away and it leaves one giddy. 

We wandered above and beyond the lake, to basins bigger than Manhattan where untended gardens of paintbrush glowed with all the fluorescence of a million Christmas tree lights. Such places are reserved for those who trod off the beaten path, to the highest of ground just shy of a summit.  

Dehui warned us that he was a little out of shape due to the rigors and obligations of Grad School. Aw, but you are young, I told him, you will be fine. He is closing in on his 28th birthday, as well as a Phd. But just in case, we started with a shorter, less strenuous hike to Bullion King Lake. If he faired well to there, we would go higher, beyond a ridge to a hidden garden of wildflowers.  

Dehui loves Ouray, with its rugged San Juan Mountain locale. It often seems discovered and busy to us, but he finds it a peaceful respite from the masses that invade mountains on the other side of the Continental Divide. 

I was disappointed (read MAD) that the annual invasion of Mountain Maggots (read SHEEP) had beat us to Bullion King. Sheep shit was everywhere, and the smell! I guess I "get" grazing permits and the whole "old west" rancher vibe. But really, do we have to allow sheep to trod and eat and shit and piss in the most spectacular and hollowed grounds? I've been told by Farmer Chris that sheep shit might actually be good for wildflowers. I dunno. I guess I prefer beaded, unscented fertilizer that comes in Co-op bags.

Mountain Maggots had thinned most of the flowers, all except the yellow ones. I'm guessing they don't taste as good. The higher we hiked, however, the less evidence (smell) and damage. I was hoping that they hadn't found our "secret stash" patch, on the backside of those distant mountains pictured above. We stumbled across it last year on a group hike with Glenn, Suzanne, and Gayle, trying to stretch a short hike into a decent workout :). 

I'll break this post into two parts so as not to spam you with too much glory at once. 
Hope You Enjoy!

Getting close to the good stuff... 


  1. Okay, so this is your third post in a row now where I'm thinking "that was my favorite hike in Ouray" :-)

    1. ........I don't know how you can every top this scene, SPECTACULAR ....oh, I guess it's all down hill from here.

      Stay Thirsty my Friends

    2. Doug,
      About the time we squeeze all the color from Color-ado... just before it turns to Ansel Adams B & W, we head off to red rocks in Utah, and start all over again :)
      Thanks, now you know how we raise our "bar."
      mark and bobbie

    3. Mark you & Bobbie are living the best retirement of anyone we know.


  2. Well, as Ed Abby said about cattle, if you don't like 'em, don't eat 'em. Same goes for sheep - don't eat mutton or lamb or wear wool. If there's no market, they won't be around. They have no place n the fragile high country, nor do the hired government killers/trappers who poison and kill the coyotes and lions so the sheep can destroy everything. It's a vicious cycle, and if one eats mutton, they're part of it.

    1. Spotted Dog,
      I have no trouble avoiding mutton... but I do like my wool socks and sweaters when snowshoeing :)
      Hope the smoke clears out of Montana soon. We hit the same one summer, finally had to go west to the Pacific Ocean before we could get out of it...

    2. The big fire here at Hamilton is growing, but now the smoke's being blown to the south, so where I'm at is better. But will be heading back to Utah and Colorado soon. Your photos of the high country make me homesick and make me wonder what I'm doing up here. :)

  3. Ok, I am definitely going on a program to get into shape so I can hike to places like that.

  4. Bullion King Lake, one of my favorite hikes in Ouray. I use to be careful not to pick the wild flowers or step on them when going off trail. But then I wondered why I'm so careful as I watched the damage a herd of sheep eating their way up towards Bullion King Lake. Really like the picture of you and Bobbie standing in the wild flowers near Columbine Lake.

  5. So glad you chose to do this hike so you could recommend it to us for the next day. It was a beautiful field of flowers!

  6. That first image looks other worldly -- you really know how to put the HURT on us flat landers. Now that we're retired and live fulltime in our RV (nine months on the road so far), we thought our summer months would be spent in the great Northwest. It has become increasingly clear that we'll need to carve out a chunk of that time to spend in Colorado. Thanks for being such an inspiration to us mere mortals.

  7. Your hiking adventures are soo much nicer than the ones I read from other people doing everything with a stinkin' ATV.


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