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Tuesday, August 10, 2021

Finding Purpose By Movement In The Outdoors

To say that a Mount Abram summit begins with a serious, near vertical grind is an understatement. For some reason, it reminds of my grandparents ladder-like attic stairway, a narrow, near vertical shaft constructed with 4 inch treads on a 12 inch rise. Somehow, and at great peril, I might add, my Grandma Carder could traverse up and down that contravention of ethics and "building code" in 3 inch heels. Then, as if to elevate "perilous" to treacherous, Granddad never bothered to install a handrail.  The attic was crammed with odds and ends of "memorabilia," boxes and boxes of artifacts destined for a "someday" yard sale that never came to pass. If there is a "bright side" to getting old and crippled, it's that it will excuse long put off chores indefinitely, which, at some point, becomes forever.

There is an anatomical contradiction when escalating a grade as steep as Abram's. Achilles tendons stretch as they warm to the task, while quads, on the other hand, begin to tighten...followed by glutes, then low back muscles. Ultimately, on such climbs, posture flies out the window as you attempt to pull yourself upward on all fours, clutching tufts of tundra grass and willow limbs for additional traction.      

The route, if you can call a precipitous, rocky rolly couloir a "route," is straight up a drainage. In a "normal" year this drainage would still be holding snow, which makes for more reliable footing, believe it or not, especially when the surface is well softened by the sun on the way down. This year there is barely a sliver of snow, higher up on on Brown Mountain. This year's monsoon season has been quite active, with thunder storms and rain almost every afternoon. This accounts for all the flowers and green tundra, which helps take our minds off of the fire raging in our lungs and quads.

Above and below: Bobbie and friend, Jen, grind their way upwards toward and eventual saddle. From there it is a ridge-run to Abram.

The bees are busy this time of year. Snow could start flying in September up here.

Finally, the saddle. The "Reds" are sure showing off their colors on this day...

By definition, one must climb from a "saddle," no matter which way you go. At least the grade relents...

We started our climb from near timberline in the above photo...

On the ridge-run here, with colorful rocks and soil, and views to die for.

Here we are on the final push; another grade that rivals the initial couloir, but at least we can zig zag. This up and down ridge-run started way back at the taller Brown Mountains to the left of the "Reds." 

Almost there, girls.

Time to kick back and enjoy the views (Lovely Ouray in the above photo).

This is Jen's first summit of Abram...a peak she can see while sipping coffee or beer (depending on the hour of day...or not) from her rear deck. Jen says though she may have lost a lung on the way up, it was worth it to get this summit checked off the list. Now when sipping that beverage on the deck, eyeing Abram's pyramidal shape, she can say, "Hey. I've been up there." 

A peanut butter sandwich, a little bit of Gatorade, and it's time to head down...

Oh boy...such a long way to go.

Wonder Dog Sunday leads the charge down mountain. By the time we closed the doors on the truck, she was fast asleep in the back seat :)

Peace Out!

And remember; a trail without obstacles is destined to disappoint...

Mark, Bobbie, Jen and Wonder Dog, Sunday. 


  1. Whoa, that was a surprise to see Sunday the Wonder Dog in that last photo, I guess she must have been out front the entire climb. What a great climb and that view from the summit looking back N to Ouray is awesome. Sure wished we would have made that climb on our first visit back in 95, then every visit in the future we could have looked up at that summit and said what a great climb that was and what a View!
    ......and to think someday in the future that mountain top will not be seen again.
    You have to get out every day and live your life to the fullest for sure, you are only here Once.
    Thanks Mark & Bobbie for showing us the Mountain Tops.
    Grateful in California
    D & A

  2. What wonderful views! Well worth the near-vertical slog I'd say. And the wildflowers are fantastic! I'm missing my hikes in Oregon.....hopefully I'll be healed and home soon.

  3. Spectacular!


  4. Lovely hike! Was that a drone in the second to last photo?

    1. No...just a honeybee on its way to the next flower :)

  5. The views and alpine meadows full of flowers are really looking good to me. I can rarely see through the trees where I am these days!

  6. Stunning views and lovely photos. You are so fortunate to live in that amazing part of our beautiful country!


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