Travelling High and Low - October 21st, 2021
Heading out to Colorado was probably the most boring part of the drive. Through Iowa, Nebraska, and into the first glimpse of the mountains, the drive was pretty dull. Fields of Corn, into fields of long grass, into fields of dust and scrub. Arriving I met up with my friend Amanda for a host, thank you Amanda, and was able to get in a full day of Rocky Mountain High. Cannabis and Hiking as always and some great views. We arrived towards the winter snows, Amanda smartly with her micro spikes, myself not so smartly leaving mine behind. Although cut me some slack, my first trip to the Rockies. Tall cliffs, low cold lakes, and a fierce wind and sun made for a great day wandering through the scenic vistas and towering cliffs.
Through the icy mountain pass, lakes, the frigid and clear water stared out from between melting patches of ice on the surface. As we’d walk throughout the day, high above the valley floor, you could see the ice slowly letting go of its grip down below, as well as underfoot as we operated the evolving mixture of slush, snow, ice, and running water. Probably before we’d walked for 20 minutes we saw, and experienced, 20-30 falls as everyone that morning scrambled, rather than hiked their morning route.
After we got above the lower lakes however, the trail edge followed the cliff up and back, leading towards overhangs and
By the lakeside, hammock suspended above the rocks, I should have gotten a photo, the wind was pretty chilly, but the sun warmed us up enough for it to be just bracing. Salami, crackers, and cheese, made up lunch plus water. Simple and effective. The mountain wind, the bracing cold, the hike up in elevation, and the alternate hits of a pipe helped to elevate the experience even more. Rocky Mountain High indeed. The sun shining warm, the cannabis potent, the wind blowing around, and good company.
As I walked up I felt the altitude, but oddly enough it was on the way back down that I noticed it more. That simple mountain sterility of breathing. The easy to draw, hard to keep, and always would like more, way of keeping your lungs filled. I did better overall than I had expected after a year and a half of dispensary customer service bowing, but my shoulders held in there.
Cleansing I think might even be the word. Like that icy fire. A spoon, purging and searing the inside of your lungs with the purity of open air, and allowing life to enter back in, blowing embers for fires in your hiking furnace. Reminding you of your place as a human animal, as well as being.
The mountains themselves. What to say? Austere, Cold, Unforgiving, and incredible. The weather around the rocky’s had a not so subtle vibe of, if you mess up you will die, in a way that makes you pay attention. Although places on the trail are more dangerous than others, one thing that the Rocky’s exuded was a slight edge. Walking through the Appalachians, the Smokies, and many other mountain ranges, not all are so violent, and intense. The rocky’s felt alive, the mountains themselves, actors in their story. Nature is always more alive than we perceive it, but in the seasonal change especially as the mountains assumed their snowy mantles, deepening and darkening the days into December, the wind felt a steady, clean, changing breeze, drawing in and out of the mountains.
The next day took care of some coffee and work, while I figured out the next location to stay, and arrived at this awesome view point for a place to catch the sunrise. The original plan had been to head to arches, but once I saw the words “Dinosaur” National Monument, the wheel moved on its own.
Before I knew it. Bright and early sunset had come, and the 2 and a half hour ride had brought me to a wonderful little piece of the Utah/Colorado Border where I’d not only see amazing fossils, but make some new friends.