Box Canyon Blog.com

"We are here to unlearn the teachings of the church, state, and our educational system. We are here to drink beer. We are here to kill war. We are here to laugh at the odds and live our lives so well that Death will tremble to take us." C. Bukowski

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Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Know When To Fold 'Em


"The most appealing thing about you is that nobody has ever experienced the order of things exactly the way you have... You can't tone down for any audience-real or perceived. That's poison. That diminishes your calling. We simply aren't capable of creating great things with the objective of being appreciated by everyone who witnesses."  "Creative Creatures,"   by Julliet



I'm well aware that the pages of this journal often fail to resonate with some, if not most, of its audience. Bobbie and I are fortunate to live in a mountainous environment, one that replenishes our souls and inspires outdoor activities. As I recently told my brother, Dan..."it's what we do." 

But the "clock" is running—faster and faster it seems—and while "inspiration" runs fast and furious, our bodies are growing slow and furious. What can possibly replace "what one does" when they can no longer "do" it? When that day comes, be it a year or a decade or, if we are lucky, we die just before that happens, I hope to seek out other sources of inspiration to be more creative...something that now plays a back burner role to outdoor activities.     

At least I know where to seek inspiration. I find it in Juliet's musing blog compositions, the nightly read at my bedside, and, for now, the challenges that lie right out my front door. Whatever it is it must be challenging, for an unchallenged existence is just that: Existence. Believe it or not—like it or not, humans flourish when challenged, be it creative art or meaningful work, be it mental or physical or, preferably, both. It has been my experience that mental and physical are complimentary in that one tends to balance the other. And "balance," after all, is something we need now more than ever.


Road Block!
The "Weather Guessers" predict partly cloudy skies with only a slight chance of thunderstorms later in the afternoon. Since Meteorology has yet to prove it is an actual science, we get an early start... just in case.

Bobbie suggests a hike up to the lake above Bullion King Mine in hopes that most of the snow will be gone by now. Maybe so, it does has a south-facing approach and broad bowl basin. 

As you can see in the above photo, snow blocks the road a few miles up. That's ok, we are here to hike. What's another couple miles?







The "partly cloudy" fails to materialize. Skies continue to darken and thunder rumbles in the distance.   


Then it starts to rain. Out come jackets. Rain changes to gropple, wind kicks up, out come the gloves.


So far so good...except for thunder, which seems to be getting closer. WTF? It's like 9:30 in the morning!

The higher we go the more we encounter snow, eventually covering our cliff-hanging notch-of-a-road.


We make the first couple of blockades with no trouble.


But then we come to this. What the photo doesn't show is a deadly cliff, down and to the lower left. 

I venture out a few steps to test a possible traverse. Yikes. The snow is still frozen... enough that it was difficult to stomp/carve step for Bobbie to follow in. 

We stood there, under-dressed and undecided. Thunder rolls, gropple falls, skies darken. We practice "self-arrest" maneuvers with hiking poles...in case footing gives way to "slope." 

In the end we decide to bail. Too much risk without proper gear...and thunder. Of course halfway back to the car skies clear, birds chirp, and gropple dissipates. 

Not ready to go home, we slog up to a ridge line in order to have a peek at Black Bear Pass Road.





The road is clear down low, but eventually gets snowed in up higher in the "cliffy" section.  We talk about running the ridge above Black Bear, then recall from experience the sketchy steep section with huge boulders just aching to take you out. On top of that, my legs feel tired...weak as a couple wet noodles. We bag it, go home and take a nap instead. The mountain will be there tomorrow... 



On the way home, I stop to photograph some of the avalanche carnage as a result of last winter's nearly 800% above normal snow.  










This panorama shot of leftover avalanche debris (below) was taken just 3 miles from Lovely Ouray on Highway 550 South. There's a deep canyon under all that snow and "lumber," but you wouldn't know it by looking at the photo.

Panorama: Scroll →



Peace out...
mark and bobbie

20 comments:

  1. So much snow this year! Does all the avalanche/tree debris usually get left in the drainage channel? That looks like a massive undertaking to clear it out.

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    1. Most of it does stay in the drainages...except when high flows float some of the top layer logs downstream, some of which get hung up under bridges or in culverts downstream. It can actually divert flows from the dam effect and wash out roads and flood property. So yes, it does cause problems and the respective Counties have to stay on top of clearing debris as it accumulates for years to come downstream.

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  2. Sigh.....this might be a year that we don't make it up above the lake. Probably won't even get up to the lake! It will definitely be a different view this year with the snow and avalanche debris!

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    1. Well, at least you should be able to catch the much delayed wildflower bloom. :)

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  3. Glorious days! Even if you have to bag it. Looking forward to to joining you soon!

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    1. Us too! Abrams, baby...is on the top of the list. A must see and do for Kelli :)

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  4. Totally amazing, that avalanche carnage! So what's next?????!!!!

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  5. Knowing you, I have a feeling you may have a hard time finding things challenging enough to make you happy when the time comes :-)
    Those avalanche debris photos are impressive!

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    1. Wheelchair racing????
      I see it's getting hot down in Albq.. 95 plus???
      come see us sometime :)

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  6. We hike three or more miles a day. Slowly but surely our legs are giving out. We still go out though. We’re not giving up on hiking yet. Our newest activity is trolling in our catamayak. Bill converted our kayaks! We tried it out this week. We can’t wait to go out again. Bill enjoys all your pictures. He drove 550 to the Idarado and Sunnyside Mine in Silverton for many years. Thanks for sharing.

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  7. Wow, I bet Bill has some great stories...especially on winter trips! Have fun on your new toy...sounds cool.

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  8. Lots of us wondering about that “what one does” changing. In the meantime it’s good to see you guys are getting out there and doing those magnificent mountains. Chris

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    1. I am a card-carrying member of "the older I get the less I have to lose" club (it's a small club compared to "the older I get the more I want to stay alive no matter what it costs Medicare, children, society, deficit spending). Anyway, that opens up a whole new realm of possibilities :)

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  9. I agree. Challenge is everything, and the more we crack open through struggle and determination and when lucky, success, the greater our life experience. Always appreciate you linking my blog (it definitely drives my numbers up haha). Feels good to know that sometimes my words and experiences resonate. Dad and I spent 4th of July at the camp he's hosting and we are still trying to determine what to do with my plane ticket from April- back to canyonlands, or zion, or northern arizona? It would be the end of october or early november and we'd like you two to be included if it works out for you

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    1. We are up for most anything...let your heart decide :) We've barely scratched the surface, be it southern Utah or Arizona or Ten Buck Two :)
      That was a nice piece you wrote!!!
      Cheers
      mark and bj

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  10. Nice little walk in the park and Great Devastation Photos, have never witnessed before now, so thanks Mark & Bobbie for being YOU.

    Julliet hits the nail on the head with that post. (too smart for her young age :) )

    Mark that header photo is awesome, would love to know that Mt's name & location.....looks real familiar
    Oh, can't wait to get to Ouray and see the cowboys riding into the Western hotel for a drink on their trustee steads
    D&A

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    1. The mountain is Coxcomb and it might look familiar because you can see it from a few places around the Ridgway area, behind the Cimarrons, Courthouse and Chimney Rock range. Bobbie and I were on our way to climb Redcliff, a near 14er and it's neighbor to the north.
      thanks for the inquiry...we haven't got up the courage to climb Coxcomb yet :)
      mark and bj

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  11. Great Photos! Your blog is always appreciated and inspiring, life is a wonderful challenge if we let it be. I have trained and ridden horses all my life and am finding it is something I am letting go... So I decided to get a puppy that can travel with us and train it... life with puppy teeth and ankles....ugh challenging, be careful on what you pick to do next. :)

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