Sunday, August 20, 2006

I Love The Smell of Bug Spray

Friday was a great day. I went to work and did a presentation for a job interview I've been waiting for for some time. It went really well -- and then I was off at noon, and home to change and get my pack together. Brian and I were out of the house by 1:30 and on the road to The Holy Cross Wilderness south of Vail, Colorado.

We made it up a Jeep trail to the trailhead for Sopris & Brady Lakes, and found a good campsite near a smaller unnamed lake.

It started raining as we were putting up our tent, but by 5 p.m. I was sitting next to the fire under a tarp with bug spray stinking us both up, and I thought "Wow, it's 5 and I already smell like a camper." I do love the icky parts of camping -- it reminds me of the ease of life in the city with flushing toilets, electricity, and the protection from the elements. It continued to rain all night long. Fortunately in the morning we got up and it had stopped raining long enough for us to take a hike up towards the lakes.

To say the trail was terribly maintained is an understatement. I suspect NO ONE had done anything for trail maintenance since it had been built. The picture of me you see here is of the creek that we followed, mostly using deer trails after the human trail had long disappeared. We ended up hiking up to about 11,500 feet of elevation. Let me say this -- the sky is even bluer than it is down here at a Mile High, the sun is stronger, and the air is VERY thin, so every step requires more breaths to try to grab whatever oxygen is available.

We stopped for lunch at one point, realizing that we weren't going to find either Sopris Lake or Brady Lake -- we were a bit lost, but stayed by this creek, and found this beautiful waterfall.

As we headed back down, we had no idea where we had come from, as we had wandered around for some time looking for the trail that was long gone. So, we descended slowly, following the creek down the valley so we could find the trail again. Treacherous terrain -- very treacherous. I slipped several times because the woods were so wet, that every log we had to climb over was slick as snot.

But, we made it. We crossed the creek several times, and made it past a large rock cliff that if we hadn't stayed near the creek we would have had a tough time getting down. Several times the stories that play out with lost people in the woods went through my head. The #1 Hiker's credo is to STAY ON THE TRAIL. Well, we didn't do that.

The good news is we knew where we were, generally, and just heading downstream for almost an hour finally lead us to what looked to be the trail. I haven't been that psyched about something so seemingly small in a long time. We'd be ok.

Of course Brian never worried. I'm the worrier. But then that's the way it always in our lives together. I worry, Brian says "It'll be ok."

And it usually is.


Katherine said...

Sounds like fun...except for getting lost. I would have panicked, knowing me. We live ten miles from the tallest mountain in Alabama, Mount Cheaha. It's literally in our back yard. It's beautiful. But the fear of snakes keeps me from camping in the summer time. Too many poisonous snakes around here. ICK!

Cal said...

Sounds like a wonderful weekend- and adventurous to boot!

I love the photos- looks like a beautiful area.


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