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Friday, July 20, 2018

The Missing Peace; and Stellar Light, Shadow and Color on Gilpin Ridge...

"What we want from art is whatever is missing from the lives we are already living... Something is always missing. Jane Hirshfield

To neither spite the mountainous glory and abundant playgrounds out our backdoor, nor good health—enough to explore them as fully as dizzy old fools dare—I must confess that upon occasion I wake up feeling like (dare I say it) is this all there is? Un-greatfullness is a sure fire way to ire the gods (or The God, depending upon whichever belief one subscribes to). 

"Something is always missing," says Princeton grad, Jane Hirshfield, a highly awarded poet, essayist and translator. Indeed, just like those ten cent yard-sale puzzles mom used to cart home, always one piece short. I recall spending summer days to weeks, tediously assembling through trial and error, and the major disappointment of staring into the black hole of a single missing piece. It was a life lesson: sometimes you get what you pay for. 

Been AWOL from the BCB recently. I've taken up swimming a mile several times a week at the Hot Springs Pool this summer. This in addition to 30 or 40 mile bike rides and hikes above timberline with Bobbie so she can get her "Mountain Fix." Summer's are busy, for outdoor bloggers and readers alike. As the "audience" drops, so does "The Bar."  I have some measure of regret, that the faithful few miss occasionally miss out on our alpine expeditions. But hey, like a yard-sale puzzle, the BCB has a few missing pieces.

As Hirshfield says in the opening quote, "Something is always missing." It may be a puzzle piece, a blog post. Personally, though, it seems my Art has taken a backseat to active outdoor endeavors. Sometimes, believe it or not, in spite of our bountiful backyard and health enough to ply its nooks, crannies and summits, I feel a creeping restlessness, a longing for something I can't quite put my finger on...a missing peace, if you will, as opposed to "missing piece." Lately it takes an additional cup or two of coffee to get out the door, followed by an afternoon nap after our return.  WTF is that all about? 

Nevertheless, with afternoon thunderstorms temporarily on hold, we found ourselves off in search of a Mountain Fix for Bobbie.

We decided on a favorite hike to Blue Lakes Pass. Majesty, color, and far views notwithstanding, I had a secondary motivation to explore the questionable ridge-route to 13'er Gilpin Mountain—for an eventual summit attempt. 

Runoff from recent cloudbursts had carved up the road to Yankee Boy Basin...beyond Sue Bee's somewhat limited capabilities. Shoulda brought Petroleous Rex, I guess.  

It's always a blow to my maleness, to not even try to get through deep ruts and rubble. We donned heavy packs, struggling against grade and altitude, me mumbling, "I think I could have made it."  Prudence, it seems, is a latecomer to my party. Eventually, I was almost proud of parking the good mile and a half below our usual spot...well, sort of. I could have made it, but at what expense?

Photos along the way...

Upper Yankee Boy Basin... 14'er Mount Sneffels to the upper right, Blue Lakes Pass to the upper left.
Gilpin Mountain, a near 14'er at 13,700 feet.

Bobbie, summiting Blue Lakes Pass...Mount Sneffels in the background.
Two of the three Blue Lakes that are visible from the Pass.
The ridge to Sneffels
The ridge to Gilpin.

The ridge to Gilpin is one jagged mess of rotten rock. Hand and foot holds can't be trusted and it's constantly shedding rock.
Running Gilpin's ridge under the watchful eye of Sneffels. There are climbers on top!!!

So many detours

But the views are outrageous and worth it

The rock may be rotten, but it sure is pretty...

Columbine manage a toehold amid the rocks

Gilpin Ridge, backdropped by "Fairytale Ridge." Take a close look...

Clouds moving in on Sneffels' summit
Ridge-runner Bobbie against a Mount Sneffels backdrop. She summited Sneffels last summer...thought it might be her last time :).
I've saved the best photos for the next post, so check back soon.
Peace out,
mark and bobbie


  1. Thanks for taking us up Blue Lakes Pass again, and beyond. Didn't even get out of breath this time!
    Hard to believe you have better photos to come.

  2. For your mumbling at the first of the post maybe the some of the answer is AGE otherwise known as getting OLD.

  3. Ah, the hole in our hearts.....Good to read a post from you, I'm still here!

  4. Yes. One piece short. You could have made it. But.... listen to this: It Was Like This: You Were Happy
    Jane Hirshfield, 1953

    It was like this:
    you were happy, then you were sad,
    then happy again, then not.

    It went on.
    You were innocent or you were guilty.
    Actions were taken, or not.

    At times you spoke, at other times you were silent.
    Mostly, it seems you were silent—what could you say?

    Now it is almost over.

    Like a lover, your life bends down and kisses your life.

    It does this not in forgiveness—
    between you, there is nothing to forgive—
    but with the simple nod of a baker at the moment
    he sees the bread is finished with transformation.

    Eating, too, is a thing now only for others.

    It doesn’t matter what they will make of you
    or your days: they will be wrong,
    they will miss the wrong woman, miss the wrong man,
    all the stories they tell will be tales of their own invention.

    Your story was this: you were happy, then you were sad,
    you slept, you awakened.
    Sometimes you ate roasted chestnuts, sometimes persimmons.

    I love this poem! -Scamp

  5. Got that same hole in my heart, too...no clue what the cure might be. Maybe a nap is in order after swimming miles and hiking almost 14rs, ya think?

  6. I agree, it’s hard to imagine views/ photos any better! Thanks to Bobbie for needing a mountain fix!

  7. Wow the replies were almost as good as the post!


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