Published: September 24th 2010September 21st 2010
How far does one have to travel to qualify for posting a travel blog? A happy dilemma that we have living here in the Four Corners is being surrounded by some of the most spectacular scenery on earth. I thought I'd post a few pictures out to the world to show off the neighborhood. Subscribers that are subjected to my Facebook posts, you might as well get back to work because this will be wildly redundant for you.
Thanks to agreeing (for some reason) to do a rim-to-rim day-hike at the Grand Canyon in a few weeks we've spent the past month's weekends high in the mountains 'training'. This typically means day hikes at decent elevations 9,000-13,000' with 20-40lbs. It's been a lovely excuse to ignore the mess in the house, the garden that needs to be put to bed and the countless other ranch chores that would otherwise get done in favor of my favorite avocation. The chickens have been lucky to get food and water.
I am definitely happiest hiking. So is the dog.
In our front yard we have the fabulous San Juan mountains, home to countless breathtaking hikes and fall is definitely the time
to go. Gone are the storms that like to blast the unsuspecting off of unprotected ridgelines, gone are what few high-elevation bugs dared come out in the first place, gone for the most part are the wildflowers that make a fast and furious display in the warmest part of the mountain summer. When the wildflowers disappear the trees take the baton and put on equally awe inspiring displays.
The past five weekends have been spent on some of our favorite trails as we try to hike our way to feeling better about our chances of accomplishing a 26-mile, 10,250' elevation loss and gain death march. Really in the end I hope it comes down to heart more than endurance because really, who (that has a day job) can possibly get reasonably 'ready' for that hike?
First was Ouray and the straight-up hike to the Chief Ouray mine and Upper Cascade Falls. That was a good ass-kicker. The 50lb 2 year old (and acoutrements) on my back sang me songs and expected lively conversation as I tried my best not to puke all over my shoes. I was thankful to not have anyone with me (other than wee Addy
who has promised not to tell anyone) to witness the absurd amount of oxygen I was using up. 1200' up what seemed like a ladder was a good start.
Then Hope Lake, a lovely hike over the river and through the woods up to 12,500+ at the pass. Todd hogged carrying the baby so it felt like a cake walk only carrying 20 lbs. I was cheated. It'll be his fault if I die in the Canyon.
Next a lovely weekend on the Colorado River burning no calories and drinking beer. We'll blame Paul and Gabi for that wasted opportunity for self-betterment and chalk it up to nothing but fun.
Onward to Centennial Peak via Sharkstooth Pass the next weekend where I proudly hauled that sack of bricks kid up to 13,062' and felt superhuman. Happily Todd hauled her down because that ridgeline is dizzying and scree-covered and my oxygen-deprived mind was sure I was going to fall off the mountain. And this is a pretty easy walk-up mountain by western mountain standards. Only an apoxiatic idiot that hasn't had her share of Cheetoes would fall off that mountain. But that's how it felt the whole way
down; I was glad to not be carrying another human. Beautiful day.
For Todd's birthday we had a Family Death March up to the Calico Ridge, one of the lovliest pieces of trail one would want to spend with a couple dozen of the world's loudest motorbikes. Thank goodness less than one half of one percent of land in the lower 48 is set aside for wilderness. We'd hate to be able to find a little peace on a hike. Who am I kidding? The drama of two whiny children made me barely notice the motorcycles. Almost.
Onward! Last weekend Maisy and I backpacked up to Lower Blue Lake, one of my favorite spots on earth. What a treat to have a whining-free 48 hours with my big kid who proved that she's ready to backpack with the big kids. What a joy to share the thing you love to do the most with your kid.
If we survive the canyon I'll be sure to let you know. If not, remember, it's Todd's fault
There are more photos below