The Charlie Bravo Story

Riding the storm out

Charlie and I came out of the backcountry late yesterday afternoon to find ourselves staring straight into the teeth of a winter storm warning. We were on the WRONG side of the range, with the Rockies standing between us and the Casa. While I love Colorado, I love home more, and Friday is my day to keep Jude; I ain’t fixing to get stranded over here.

So we made a run for it, but it wasn’t pretty. The storm nailed us as we were going up the west side of Monarch Pass; near white out conditions, but the die had been cast and there was no turning back now. After an eternity of churning up the mountain, we hit the summit and kept going. At exactly midnight, an elk jumped white out in front of us and into the far lane, actually turning to bound beside us for a few paces until turning to vanish into the night. This would usually have been an awesome experience, but I didn’t have the inclination towards for any additional entertainment.

Salida, Westcliffe, Gardner, Walsenberg, Raton, I checked the radar every time I got a scrap of signal only to find the storm still bearing down on us, 4-9″ forecasted in the mountains is no joke. We finally hit I-70 at 0300 and were granted a reprieve; we parked at the first empty parking lot we happened across, crawled into the sleeping bag and slept like the dead.

At sunrise, we were jolted awake by the world’s rudest alarm clock; the belligerent banging of a trash truck emptying a dumpster. My eyes are still full of sand and I have a chronic case of the zacklys; you know, where your breath smells exactly like your bunghole… But the storm is still advancing, with Raton expected to be hit later today. But at least for the moment, we’re now in front of it. And I plan on keeping it that way.

See you at the Casa, Jude; the old man’s coming.

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