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HEADER PHOTO DESCRIPTION: Winter comes and goes till mid-may in Lovely Ouray.
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Saturday, August 18, 2018

Minnie Gulch


Imagine skimming along at 13,000 feet, an undulating path underfoot. You're alone, above timberline, above the urban fray of political bullshitters, tedious Face-bookers and mass murdering psychopaths...above all the sordid megalomanic news of corporate greed and corruption. I tell ya, folks, now more than ever, depleted spirits cry out in desperate need of a wilderness recharge. Nothing—not drugs, alcohol or money—fills empty vessels with peace and contentment quite like a lonely alpine trail.


This time, Bobbie and I want to go somewhere less popular than Highland Mary Lakes...someplace empty of 8 passenger SUVs and plebeian Motor-heads revving ATVs.


Minnie Gulch is such a place, wallflower enough to fend off advances, yet easy on the eye and soul. Absent fanciful lakes and lore, mythos and pathos, people and machines; just a lonely above-timberline trail with restorative unbridled vistas.  



Some might find Minnie Gulch unremarkable, especially this time of year toward summer's demise when tundra undergoes its annual metamorphosis from verdant green to flaxen gold. 


After a couple gentle miles, Minnie Gulch intersects the CDT (Continental Divide Trail). Cool, maybe we'll run into some thru-hikers. I don't count thru-hikers invaders of solitude. On the contrary, they are fellow seekers of solitude. 

After intersecting the CDT, we couldn't decide whether to go left or right. Both directions rose to lofty ridge lines that appeared to offer great views into places we had yet to rest our eyes. We decided to do a both, first heading southwest Molas Pass-bound segment, then doubling back to explore the CDTs northeast toward Handies, Redcloud and Sunshine Peaks.  

In all we met and talked to 5 hikers and one Bike-Packer (a seventh had earbuds in place and offered only a don't-bother-me nod). Otherwise, everybody else seemed to be in desperate need of conversation, most having been out since early July. 

All had harrowing, wide-eyed weather stories...wind, rain, hail, snow and, of course, lightning. There are few places to hide above timberline, so if it's adventure you seek, the CDT should fill the bill. In such life and death situations regarding lightning, it helps to repeat the following mantra: The magic in life takes place at the edges of one's comfort zone.  





















We met the Bike-Packer pushing his bike up a grade too steep to pedal. He was from Mancos, and it was immediately apparent: there's no room for superfluous luxuries when Bike-Packing. Look how light he's traveling. Does he even have a sleeping bag in there? A tent? I'm impressed with his frugality.

Thunder rolls. A storm seems to be headed our direction. Time to get down. One thing we don't need, is another lightning story... 

Panorama: Scroll →


9 comments:

  1. I actually loved the look of that hike, and the soft colors. Soothing, and the wild skies are so wonderful, hopefully no lightning...I can't imagine being up there in the lightning. scary

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  2. Whooooa, talk about the yard going on forever and plumbing the depths of your soul, are you still in the San Juans? I thought I had stumbled on a new blogger :)

    Oh, you forgot to identify the writer of that first paragraph ? I'd like to read something of his works.
    ......and did you have to remind me we will be crossing Kansas?
    Now there's a yard that goes on forever and every :)
    You are cooking on all burners

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    1. Don't know where in Indiana you are headed, but if you want a prettier and more rural "Norman Rockwell" slice of 1950's Americana route, try route 20 across Nebraska and Iowa. Just be sure to dart south before you hit Chicago :).

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  3. Today's header pic is superb. Good eye.

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  4. Stationary in a big city for the summer and unable to hike in the mountains an hour away because it is too hot, your photos of every single hike take my breath away and make me yearn for dirt under foot and people-free vistas. Three more weeks till we head for Prescott...small(ish) town and nearby dirt trails will do my soul some good! Thanks for visually pulling me away from the crowds and into the serenity of your gorgeous home land!

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    1. "Thanks for visually pulling me away from the crowds and into the serenity of your gorgeous home land!"
      That's pretty much my job description these days. They pay sucks but the benefits are beyond compare :)
      Hang in there Lisa and Hans!
      mark

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  5. You always capture these peaceful vistas in a long distance view of gorgeous. Glad there aren't too many out there.

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  6. That header photo.... WOW! And C. Bukowski quotes always ring true. You and BJ have made the most of summer 2018.... Thanks for taking all of us along. -Scamp

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