The Adventure in Getting There


hitcherThe Dentist’s is a great place to practice meditation.
An hour and a half of drilling and filling and I began to nod off.
Missed the bus, so started attempting to hitch back up the hill to my house. From the looks on faces of passengers in vehicles which sped up as they passed, I knew something was not right. Ran a hand over my Novocained face and realized what I had thought was an inviting smile was. Well.
Not.
Plunged into the shrubs and trees and wove my way home for a long, strange nap.

Loaded backpack to the sound of a thundering sky. Set off and it began to rain. Rain turned quickly to hail. Jumped a bus to Frisco and thought really hard about the invitation from friends to spend the night.
It was what I wanted to do but my marrow insisted there was something else I needed. Wouldn’t/couldn’t put a name to it but I trusted it was to be found outside.

Stalled at Ollie’s, waiting out the afternoon deluge in the company of a deaf old motorcycle chap. As the rain eased and I decided it was time to set out, he shook my hand earnestly and imparted final words, “you gotta find yourself a man.”
To which I replied, “when I find one who can keep up, I’ll do my best to keep him around.”

Sometimes, you just have to get out of town to remember why it’s important to get out of town.

Shouldered my pack around 5 pm for a 3,300 foot climb to the top of 10 Mile Range.

The thing with climbing mountains is, it always involves going up. Brings a poignancy to expressions such as, “it’s an uphill battle.”

The first several miles were familiar. It is new to me to hike trails that are no longer new to me.

Cut from Rainbow Lake up the Peaks Trail, met the Colorado Trail/Miner’s Creek Trail and climbed through the evening.
As dusk settled the clouds again began to gather.

Arriving at tree line around 8 pm in an eastern facing bowl between peaks 3 & 4, I marveled that, just weeks ago, this area was covered by snow. Resented the final, long switchbacks, recalling how much quicker and more fun it had been to shoeski down.

Climbing to a saddle of an eastern buttress of Peak 4, I could see the lights of Dillon and Silverthorne to the North-east, while Breckenridge was lit up to the south east.

I pressed on, southward, until hiking alongside Breckenridge. These next three miles were exposed alpine terrain. In this stretch I have experienced everything from snow squalls to blue bird days; had no idea what it held in store this time around. While the clouds were ominous, I pushed brashly on, determined to make camp on the west side of the range to put me within comfortable shooting distance of tomorrow’s objective: Francie’s Cabin.

The climb traversed the range, I kicked along blind, trusting the ground to be there. Wishing I had brought wussy sticks trekking poles. (Thanks for ingraining that bias, dad. Still trying to let that one go). Wore my headlamp, though preferred the visibility in the dark, rather than being concentrated only on a small patch of light underfoot.

The trail, a phantom line ahead. Not to be looked at directly but held in peripheral focus. A lightening storm began just over Breckenridge. The silence was eerie, how am I supposed to tell how far away the strikes are unless I can count seconds between the flash and the crash? Never mind, I see exactly how close far those suckers are. Everything shocked into stark white light for a split second. Over and over again. Took cover and watched.
I never noticed before but, while lightening itself flashes quickly, light will linger for seconds afterwards. Like the echo of a singing bowl; only a million times more terrifying. I tuned in, attentive and curious.

“You are not supposed to be up here,” rumbled the Sky.
“But I want to play with you!” I cried.
“This is not the time or place,” it clashed.
“I like all the ways you are, I want to know you everyhow,” a childish desperation welled up in me.
“I do not guarantee safe passage,” he admonished as the storm growled in accord.

Watching a sheet of rain approach as silent lightening bolts leaped about the sky just to the east. Hunkered down beside and beneath a large shrub, feeling my new fillings sing and tingling currents in my toes and soles of my feet.

Awe inspiring.

Through a well in the cumulonimbus, I could see moonlight cast along the thick walls. I beseeched her to come out and play.
Listened as thunder ricocheted between clouds. I was tiny and terrified, cursing and defending my foolishness. Accepted the lot I had cast for myself, turned my face to the heavens, I submitted and prayed.
Prayed that the Lord does in fact protect Fools and small children.

As fat raindrops splashed on my cheeks, I breathed deep of the electric air and stared deep between stars.
Clear sky widened from the western horizon (another mile of trail or so ahead) and immediately above.

Minutes stretched long as my muscles cramped and the rain abated. The swath of stars grew as the storm pressed on to the east.
I began to move again.

Moon rises above the storm.
Serenity atop fervid volatility.

I moved quick as possible, knowing that lightening can strike many miles from a parent cell. Achieving the ridge, after 5.5 [five point five] miles of climbing just as the moon shone out in full, I was elated and cripplingly grateful. Began to dance and sing a thank you song but the sky was still grumpy, “move along little one,” it grumbled.

Traipsing along, singing and breathing, bathed in moonlight.
Realized, that what I had needed was to charge up my moonshadow.
Smiled as she ranged long across alpine grasses.

4 thoughts on “The Adventure in Getting There

  1. GOAT 山羊 says:

    Nothing like a good storm when you’re not in TOO much danger. I can relate to that feeling of euphoria afterwards. And heading up there by yourself is exhilarating in its own way too. Stay safe!

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