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...