We been on the road since Friday. Usually it takes a few days into a journey to find your “mojo”, or the particular rythym of the road, but this one seems to be a bit more difficult than most. Small hindrances have kept cropping up, nothing major; intermittent rain and hail, a touch of altitude distress, and then there’s the crowds. You would think that it would be difficult to get claustrophobic in an area as vast as the Rockies, but the 4th of July seems to bring out the hordes in droves.
The first part of a journey usually tends to be about the places, with the latter part usually being about the people; this trek seems to be exactly the opposite, with encounters too numerous to mention in this post. In addition to the planned encounters with the sisters of Our Lady of the Desert and the outstanding family at Fina’s, we shared campsites with a couple of through-hikers, Mark and Monique, as well as a family with an beautiful autistic son and his gentle but protective Rottweiler. Each meeting was worthy oh its own post, a situation that we will remedy at a later date.
It’s the little foxes that spoil the vine, and even the most spectacular of surroundings can be obscured by expectations that sometimes are a bit too lofty. Tired, grumpy, smelly, almost like an unholy trinity of Snow White’s dwarves, we decided to turn in before the sun had even set behind the mountains.
A king size bed is roughly 7′ across, and I relegate approximately 18″ of this to dad when we’re at home at the Casa. A Thermorest sleeping pad is 20″ in width, and I see no reason why I shouldn’t keep the ratio constant; I’m sure that the Big Agnes sleeping bag company would probably void any warranty if they knew to what extent I tested their seams with my battle for sleeping supremacy, but we finally reached a compromise, nested together like a set of Russian eggs.
The combined output of two sets of snoring lungs raised the humidity level of the tent to that of a tropical rain forest, and the steady drip of condensation on dad’s head served to rousted him from his slumbers; I had no problems in this area, as I was burrowed own behind his knees.
The “zzzzzzzzz” sound of dad opening the tent fly caused me to extricate myself from my cocoon of nylon to find an absolutely glorious, although frosty, sunrise. The sound of the creek burbling beside the tent had been more than sufficient to mask the sounds of another pair of campers setting up shop in the night, but they had not yet arisen, so we technically had the valley to ourselves. If you’ve never experienced a Colorado high country sunrise, it’s indescribable, but I’ll try.
The sun rising in the east barely illuminates the tips of the western-most peaks, the aspens and spruces sillouhetted against the skies of both ends of the valley like alpine bookends; as the sun continues her ascent, her warmth washes down the slopes, incrementally transforming the cold grays of the valley into a cauldron of color. The remaining pockets of snow in the high cornices restart their melting process, adding the sound of waterfalls above to the increasing volume of the creek below. One almost hates to intrude on this magical scene, but the allure of caffeine beckons, so dad has to drag out the Whisperlite stove, and the day “officially” begins.
At least for him; I’m crawling back into the sleeping bag.