Mt. Beirstadt, CO
Miles Today: 0
Total Miles: 10,816.0
Days on the Road: 176
We're off to Maine for a week, to go to this concert and see some friends. Also we might buy a house. Updates upon our return, August 10.
10 suggested readings while you're waiting:
It's Not Lonely At The Top, After All
With one fourteener under our belts, we figured the second one would be easier; less of a pull on our lungs, less of a pain in our asses, literally. But no, three days later our asses are still feelin' the 2900-feet-in-three-miles elevation gain, just as our quads can barely take the pressure of a cat walking across them since our over-zealous jog down from the summit of Mt. Bierstadt (14,060'). Chalk it up to the elation of climbing our second sizable Colorado peak or the threatening gray clouds bearing down on us or the downward momentum we got from descending those dizzying heights, but we -- as we now sorely regret - bounded down from the mountain like runaway tires on an open hill, bouncing off of boulders and gaining speed on every straightaway.
We may not have pushed quite so hard if the breakneck pace hadn't been set by a man we've come to refer to as simply Johnny T (Liz's brother-in-law). He started out the morning with the announcement that he "wanted to get his hike on". We later came to realize that this was a euphemism for "eat my dust, suckers", and we most pathetically did. We met him at the top, where Liz made the memorable joke: Hey Anthony, Mt. Bierstadt called, it's running out of space at the top.
That's right, it was a damn party at the top as winded, polypro-clad hikers took photos, jockeyed for standing room and marveled at...the parking lot atop Mt. Evans just across the valley. The highest parking lot in the U.S., as a matter of fact. It was there at the top that we reunited with Johnny T., whose short-sleeved shirt was now jaggedly sleeveless. Hot?, we wondered. Turns out it was a T.P. emergency. Not many people will sacrifice a perfectly good shirt when nature calls, but Johnny T is just that kind of guy. Resourceful, we mean.
Speaking of dumping on the mountains, we ran across countless "nature lovers" during our hike who seemed to have confused the "leave no trace" backcountry mantra with "leave a new and wider trail". These urban cows were stompin' all over the place, squashing the succulent slow-growing foliage that peeked out from the rocks and opting to walk five feet off trail rather then muddy their boots. Anthony gently admonished a few of the worst offenders, but we thought it'd be easier, if not more annoying, if on our next hike we wear t-shirts saying "If I'm pointing at you, you're not on the trail". Maybe the back would say, "Yeah, so I'm the asshole?" Instead, maybe we'll just try to enjoy our time in the backcountry while we still have one.
With visions of couches and pizza dancing in our heads and legs as useful as a down parka in the desert, we piled into the car and quietly watched pines give way to aspens as we bumped along the washboard road that wound down to historic Georgetown, then back out to the interstate toward home. Home? Yeah, why not.
© 2002, 2003 Anthony Hecht and Liz Jones. All rights reserved.