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Sunday, December 15, 2019

The Monster Inside Named Will

"Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster."   Nietzsche 

As transient windborne clouds swept across Lovely Ouray's slot of sky, swirling our mountain surround in non-dariy mists of cream, a sore need for a strenuous hike lit a fire deep inside. I waddled my fat Christmas ass over to our Panoramic Imax Windows and peered outside. It looked cold...trees bent and swayed in the wind. Hmmm. 

I decided to step out onto the deck for a look-feel. Huh. A too-warm wind pushed me around. Darn, no excuse. 

The air was damp, almost tropical, due to a weather phenomenon known as the "Pineapple Express" that streams moisture from Hawaii smack into California. Normally the Sierras steal our water, but they are no match for the Pineapple Express. Storms-a-commin'. 

Snow Bunny Bobbie had solo hiked from home up Oak Creek Trail a few days ago. She was tuckered out when she got back...said the snow was heavy and deep, like quicksand. She followed a set of old tracks up to the "Overlook," where they abruptly ended. Seemed no one had broken trail beyond that point. 

Not in the mood for an uphill knee-deep posthole, she turned around. I was surprised to hear that no one had gone beyond the Overlook, given the recent growth-spurt trend of winter-loving outdoorsy types moving here. Seems Lovely Ouray has been discovered and is now "on the map." 

There's a monster that lives inside me that actually enjoys breaking trail, so I volunteered him to go with Bobbie next time she wanted to attempt Oak Creek. Let the monster play the heroic role of "Snowplow Man."

Stormy days and nights filled with cookies and cake and beer came and went before we got back to Oak Creek Trail. And now the Pineapple Express was turning it into a "Souper-Slushy." 

Due to the overdose of Holiday goodies between Thanksgiving and New Years, I needed a good solid workout to stem the tsunami of belly fat flooding over my size 32 blue jean shorts-turned-miserable male corset. I grabbed my already "heavy-pack," filled the 2 liter bladder with water, added 4 large Gatorades to side pockets, then hoisted two 8 pound dumbbells from the coatrack shelf. Ready!

Bobbie's eyes rolled as she cast me a look that said, And now there are three dumbbells. Hey, the monster says I need to burn some excess calories. And there's nothing like breaking trail through thick heavy snow while weighted down with 42 pounds of gear to do the trick. The only problem with carrying hand weights is that they preclude the use of hiking poles that offer a stabilizing effect while breaking trail through snow. 

Oak Creek is a wonderful hike, even in winter. It's so convenient, not to mention that it wraps around to Mount Sunblock's sunnier south-facing aspect which also protects from bitter north winds.

It was a struggle against gravity and quicksand snow just to get to Oak Creek's Trailhead. I arrived with shredded quads and knotting hamstrings. Between the slippery snowpack-over-boulders footing, verticality, the extra weight...yet having to re-acclimitize to altitude...this was going to be a gonzo grunt. My gung-ho attitude began to fizzle like a spent Chinese bottle rocket soaked in man-sweat.

At the Overlook I seriously considered turning around. I promised the monster I would lay off sugar and alcohol for ever...even teetered on the brink of going vegan...at least till the Holidays were over. But really, how can one live a quality life without eggs and cheese?   

Monster Will is a powerful force...analogous to faith or gravity or magnetism. Each, if not all, possess an invisible, if not intangible force that can only be demonstrated by the "results" they produce. It's hard to believe in something we can't see, smell, taste or touch. But if we are attuned, we can feel the force. It's that subtle, inexplicable driving force behind achieving wildest dreams and seemingly unreachable goals. Will is what gets me up my daily "mountain," whatever it may be. 

Will got us here, postholes notwithstanding, to the windless peaceful side of Mount Sunblock.

But it took 5 caffeinated Shot Blocks to get me off the mountain and up our driveway. Where's "Will" when you really need him?

Left to right: The Amphitheater to Mount Abram
Today, as I suffer the "side effects" of Monster Will, me thinks it would be a good day to watch football...sneak a few Christmas cookies meant for friends and family, wash them down with eggnog and good cheer, and maybe have a beer or two during the Bronco game.
So much for Will Power.

As a series of storms roll in, Bobbie and I wish you a big Peace Out from our random adventures in and around Lovely Ouray.


  1. Im just in from Rockies walk around Northwoods Golf course (mile & a quarter) and Im feeling much like you, too many sweet treats already, plus egg nog and chocolates , next year I think I will regift most of this stuff to the homeless shelter in town, I don't need it at this age, to much work to try and get back into my 32" waste levis also:) Yes indeed the snowman should be hitting you again soon, I just viewed the Zion cam and it was the whitest scene Ive every witnessed , sure would love to be there and see it. We've sent your sledding You Tube video to friends and family with Best Wishes from Ouray Colorado , don't you wish you were here :)
    Al's making persimmon bread to hand out to all the neighbors this week then we have to get out sometime this week and get our Christmas picture and then we can relax and just enjoy the peaceful days of winter.
    D & A

  2. Wonderful to read, horrendous to imagine actually doing it. Glad you put Will away for a day and had some cookies!

  3. You guys inspire me daily! Down the egg nog you’re going to need the extra calories for come Monday or Wednesday ;)

  4. A spent Chinese bottle rocket soaked in man-sweat? Having a bit of trouble visualizing that one . . . can always count on your writing to challenge my mind :)

    1. Oh Terri, You must have missed out on neighborhood bottle rocket wars :) I lived in Missouri during high school and college. Throughout hot sultry summer nights we would wage war with bottle rockets...hold them in our hands, light the fuse, and at the very last second hurl them toward the "enemy." It's a wonder no one was blinded.
      mark :)

    2. The "man sweat" came from running for our lives...

    3. Oh!! OK :) Jeeze, when you end up as a regressed child in an assisted care facility in your 90s, they're definitely going to kick you out too!

  5. please needed picture of you carrying dumb bells!!!!! in all your years of hikes and thousands of miles how many hikers have you met carrying dumb bells?!?!?!only Mark!! one of a kind! you would do the same climbing Everest!! by the way - have you considered that climb! quick before you get old like me!! florida beach bum! steve

  6. Only Dumbbells carry dumbbells up a mountain. So no, haven't seen anyone else on the trail doing that :)

  7. Love seeing what your header photo will be for the day. Feel like we are sitting right in your living room. I liked your statement, "Will is what gets me up my daily "mountain", whatever it may be." I had to smile because my daily "mountain" today is just how to get out of this chair! Think I will post this on my wall for the next few weeks!

  8. I've done some silly things for weight training, but I think I would laugh out loud if I saw someone gripping two dumbbells in knee-deep snow. Nice work. ;)

    1. Says the gal who pulls a 50 pound sled across Alaska...


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