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Tuesday, January 9, 2018

A Birthday Hike for Bobbie

If a doctor treats your cold, it will go away in fourteen days. If you leave it alone, it will go away in two weeks."

Well maybe not this particular strain, as it's putting normally young and healthy people in the hospital with pneumonia. 

Back in my working-for-the-man days, the ideal "cold" was one that was disagreeable enough to call in sick to work, but not so severe that you couldn't go out and play.

Though a few tentacles from our colds resist defeat, both Bobbie and I have been feeling healthy enough to get out doors again. Since it was her birthday, Caleb and I let her choose the day's adventure—a Red Mountain snow-hike up to Yankee Girl Mine, which pushes 11,000 feet. I'm still coughing up yellow balls of phlegm, so this will either cure me or kill me.

We couldn't have asked for a better day... sunny, warm, windless, and over a foot of fresh snow to wade.This doesn't account for "drifts," however, so there were times when my knees got a little cold...

We post-holed through some pretty deep drifts trying to access an olden house (see above photo). It's likely built on mine tailings, perched on a hillside with dramatic views West and North. Sections of the Hayden massif are visible, along with a ridge line that Bobbie and I were forced to bail from only this past summer when it suddenly turned knife-edged and "airy." 

We took a moment to share that and other memories of past misadventures. Like the tumble-down mine shack, we all reach a point when our best years lie behind us. Though it went unspoken, our greatest collective dread is that, eventually, we'll have to start reining in aimless high country treks...stay "in bounds," color inside the lines. Life is a crapshoot. We've been fortunate. No regrets. But I want more. If that old mine shack can still endure winters at 11,000 feet, maybe we can to. 

Yankee Girl is such a photogenic head-frame during winter. We met only one other soul all day long, Gary, our live-in caretaker when we are off exploring Utah and Arizona. It's difficult to imagine the hustle and bustle of mining "heydays," thousands of men working the mines, their wives and children huddled in hovels, feeding the wood stove. It took grit to live at such a brutal elevation; some had no choice. You wanna eat, you gotta work.

Happy Birthday, my love. I think we've got a few more misadventures left in us before they lock us up in "the home." :)


  1. Happy Birthday Bobbie! you're surrounded by beauty and love, you're a lucky girl! :)

  2. What a beautiful day and place for a birthday hike! At the rate you are going I suspect the two of you will have plenty of good years ahead.

  3. Stunning scenery--happy birthday Bobbie!

  4. After a particularly bad experience living in the RV last winter in Massachusetts (not our choice, we got stuck there), I swore off winter and being cold completely. I never ever ever wanted to see another pile of snow or shiver through a cold night again. Buuuuuuutttttt.... these pictures make me want to immediately move to Colorado and live there forever and ever and ever. Just stunning!

  5. What a difference a few days makes! Love all the snow. What a perfect birthday hike for the birthday girl:)

  6. Looks like the perfect way to spend a birthday...happy birthday Bobbie!

  7. You are too funny with your jean shorts in the snow.

    Also, use it or lose it. You've got this.

  8. Beautiful way to spend a birthday! Here's to many many more!

  9. What a hike Bobbie chose. And you with a cold in shorts. I've still got the cough. Not sure I could manage that hike in that snow. Pretty short legs here. Beautiful snow! This will be a great post to look back on when you are in "the home". Pretty nice to have a live in care taker btw. Happy Birthday Bobbie!!

  10. Happy Day!...To the birthday girl....19?

  11. Looks a great hike...........I cant believe you wore shorts! An iron man.

  12. Mark Johnson. An enduring wander lust soul. Wore shorts 364 days per year. "Doesn't patron the places that are out to screw him."

  13. Mark seems you got off easy, well maybe you took Bobbie up to The Adobe for dinner later that day.
    Ye'll we saw the snow coming down on the web cam and actually caught two friends holding a chat with someone in the middle of 7th Ave and Main on Tues am, cool. Ouray has got one of the best live web cam coverages in the West, we just haven't caught you stumbling out of the Brewery yet :)
    We just read about the monster snow dump in the Alps last Sunday, they claim it occurs every 30 yrs, so I think Ouray should be about due. Better get over those colds and get out of town before you get stuck for the winter.
    Happy Birthday Bobbie

  14. Happy Birthday, Bobbie. It looked like a beautiful hike but I was shocked to see you in shorts! I rarely wear shorts at 11K feet even in the summer. Wow, your weather must very weird, even weirder than ours.

  15. Happy Birthday Bobbie! I too have started the year out with that lovely flu...having a tough time hiking at Sea level. Can't imagine 11,000 feet!! Keeps the blood circulating and the oxygen flowing for sure. By the Way, Mark, I continue to enjoy reading your blog posts and am remiss about commenting but will catch up one of these days! Imkelina

  16. What some don't know is her actual age. She's a phee-nom. Stick close to her. You just MIGHT avoid "the home AND stay in touch with your "water color" side. As for the cut-off jeans, they are now your trademark. You have no choice but to wear them no matter the weather. Happy belated B-day Bobbie.

    1. Your are so right...I'm that "crazy old Geezer who always wears shorts, no matter the weather. Be careful as to what you want to be remembered by. :)


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