This was an early morning wake-up as we are headed to Lake City for resupply. We were on the trail at 5am with headlamps fully engaged. However, there was a bright full moon that was still shining bright and helped illuminate the narrow strip of dust and dirt. It was another morning that was difficult to leave the confines of my warm goose-down quilt but once I was moving, the morning couldn’t have been better! There was a lot of chirping going on and I finally narrowed it down to a family of grouse. Mamma was warning the babies that the giants with packs were coming and everyone went different directions. They were fairly young as their feathers reminded me of what I have stuffed in my puffy jacket. Sorry grouse! The problem with grouse is even when you take a photo of them, they blend into the scenery. I’m sure that’s the way God designed them. But this amazing weasel put on quite a show for us. First of all, the fact that this is the second weasel we’ve seen is quite incredible! He popped his head out of the pile of rocks and then moved over and sunned himself. He must’ve never seen upright turtles before and had no care that both Triple-Z and I were watching his every movement. After a bit of time, he ran off and we both looked at each other in astonishment! Today was a climbing day. We had four passes to climb over and a ridiculous descent! But the caveat was that every turn we took, there was magic. The beavers were at it again building a three-tier pond with waterfalls providing a haven for birds, deers and whatever else could use this body of water. We sat watching a deer come down to drink while birds playing along the banks searching for worms. We could’ve stayed all day waiting for the elusive moose but we needed to get a move on. We made it up and over our fourth pass and reached the summit which was 12800′. As I looked around, it was something like the Grand Canyon with these beautiful mesa’s overlooking this glaciated carved canyon. The thing I find so interesting in Colorado is all the colors of rocks and minerals. I’m not sure what the chalky white is but it could be sulfur, ash or as one of the locals mentioned, arsenic. I’m definitely not a geologist but all I can say is WOW! It just keeps getting more stunning daily.Once we crested the summit, we had shale fields to navigate through. Even amongst the rock, there is life sprouting. This is some kind of thistle of sorts with very thorny leaves and lavender flowers. It’s about the only thing that I could find that was thriving besides the Pikas (overgrown hamsters) and tons of marmots! We hurried off and made our way to the tundra like plateau. We could see a bank of clouds headed our way and were hoping to escape the certain wrath of rain and hail. We walked three to four miles on this plateau that kept going and going… and going! And the rain was inescapable. The best part was that we had already scored a ride and all we needed to do was get off this mountain top. Triple-Z was in the race of her life not wanting to miss our ride to Lake City. I hung back with “No Beta” aka Will, who was the one getting the ride and figured they wouldn’t leave till he showed up. And so Will and I made our way down in the rain and arrived a few minutes after my hiking partner. Lucky for me, Will’s ride was still waiting. The five of us, the driver, Will and his girlfriend Sage, Triple-Z and I crammed into a Subaru with all our wet packs and drove ever so slowly to Lake City. It was a stinky car but a free ride! The Silver Spur Hotel is our home off the trail for two days. Oh glorious running water, flush toilets, clean linens and darn good food! Fried Catfish and Hush Puppies are the goings on around these parts. I’m in!
If we live by the spirit, let’s also walk by the spirit.