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Sliding in to home

August 13, 2010

Back at the ranch.  The verdict is mixed, but not as confused as the Blagojevich jury.  I met up with the BMTC in Georgetown and we discovered that Guanella Pass was closed due to a rock slide that the DOT won’t get cleared out until October.  Reluctantly Bierstadt was crossed off the list and did some exploring.  We went over to drive up Evans in order to get some good 14,000 foot air.  Saw many bicyclists doing their own version of the Tourmalet on the way up.

Sadly, this turned out to be my high point for the trip.  But BMTC went on the score Democrat and Quandry later in the week.  Probably the most fun came from watching BMTC drive back down the Evans road.  It is exceedingly narrow and lacks shoulders and guard rails.  A bicyclist passed us going, at what I would call, a prudent clip. 

The weather continued to be dicey so we moved over to Dillon to use as a base for Democrat and Quandry.  After we got moved into our rooms I went out to start my truck and the fuel pump decided to give up the ghost.  Lovely Kimberly at the motel recommended a good backyard mechanic, and he came and carried away my truck.  I was pissed, but BMTC convinced me to quit bitching and go for Democrat.  Tomorrow’s forecast was for glorious weather.

I consented to carry my cell phone to talk with the mechanic if he called, and off we went.  I’d gotten about a thousand feet of the gain from the trailhead when the mechanic called and told me I’d owe him about $1,100.  I should have followed may second instinct and turned around to go down and cry.

I continued up to about 13,500 when the trail moved onto a talus covered ridge edge for a good piece.  Here the arthritis in my knees caught up with me and balance became somewhat — shall we say, intermittent.  I thought I had realized my first instinct when the mechanic called when I had the sensation of my pack shifting and starting to pull me backwards off the trail.  The photo was taken after I got stable and sat down.

I decided to pack it in and headed back down.  The pikas scurried around and chipped at me, a hummingbird  buzzed by at knee level, and a marmot came out to laugh at me.

BMTC collected the summit and we went back and paid the mechanic.  Tomorrow the weather would be swell and Quandry was on the list of things to do.

I drove out to the Quandry trailhead next morning and waved good-bye to BMTC.  To favor my knees I decided to walk the McCulloch Road to its terminus below the Peak’s summit.  It was a nice level surface and stayed at about 11,000 feet, plus or minus.  Knees felt okay, lungs functioned surprisingly well, and I met some really nice folks, both local and from out-of-state.  I finished well before BMTC and watched all the hard-bodies come down, knocking off the Quandry 7 mile trek in about 4 hours.  We’d figured BMTC would be out until about 1:00 p.m., so I settled in to do a little paperwork I’d brought along.

Quandry was not kind to BMTC.  She rolled back down the hill about 2:30 p.m.  Uncharacteristically, she said she didn’t linger on the summit to talk with folks; today she just staggered over, tagged the pole, and headed back down.

We went back to Dillon, bought a dinner that couldn’t be beat and resolved that people our age should not do serious trekking in this country two days running.  Being broke, I excused myself to head back to SoDak and BMTC went on to her sister and relatives in Crested Butte.

This afternoon I opened up my emails.  Two new “other activities as directed” orders awaited me.  Looking out the window, I see the weather is bad — storm building — just what was forecast for the Colorado high country for today.   I don’t feel so bad.

— Margadant

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Gunnar Berg permalink
    August 13, 2010 7:24 pm

    Both looking good.

    I since haven’t figured out the BMTC moniker. Everything I come up with is obscene.

    • August 13, 2010 10:41 pm

      Back in her home environs she is known as “Big Mountain Tough Chick.” During the southern Cal heat season I started to refer to her as “BDHC,” for Big Desert Hot Chick, which raised a modest smile. But coming off Quandry she earned a new moniker, “BALC” for Big Altitude Lip Chick.” It really was a slog and she arrived back a the trailhead with blisters on the inside of her lower lip. One should always trek at altitude with one’s mouth shut. Protection from the nasty UV rays.

      — JM

      • Gunnar Berg permalink
        August 14, 2010 12:30 pm

        I like the obscene ones better. She might not. Speaking of obscene, Dex was over last night for a Bell’s Two-Hearted Ale (on a 100 best beers in the world list). I think he’ll be staying over on Labor Day weekend if you’re free.

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