Tuesday, August 10, 2010


The last three days have been filled with a few firsts and revisits. Me, Wally and Beav took a trip to SW Colorado just for the hell of it. I did absolutely no forward planning except for booking a hotel res and glancing at a map. Usually I have a plan months in advance. Restaurants that appeal to me, sites I want to see. Everything is thought of just in case. Just in case what I'm not sure. I always have an obsessively constructed packing list, too. Not this time. Nope. And yeah I forgot stuff: ipod charger and hair dryer, notebook and reading materials but really I managed. I bore the cross of not drying my hair or having the ipod to entertain me. I even survived without a book or anotebook. I did remember the computer so I could write.
Since I moved to Colorado in 1987 I've been to the SW edge of the state once and that was a quick trip to a wedding in the mountains. So Durango was like a new town for me. I'm a little ashamed I haven't bothered with the mountains in about five years. Sad isn't it? I've been half way across the globe but haven't taken a forty mile trip to the west into the foothills. Surprise surprise it's pretty just outside of my town! Who knew! And there is river rafting close to home and hiking too. But I had to plan a trip 350 miles away for river rafting and hiking. I text messaged the girl about two hours into our trip and gushed all over the place about how she and I plus dog should go to the mountains for the day some weekend.

Speaking of river rafting. I went rafting in early June 1987 on the Colorado River. It wasn’t mellow water and it wasn’t fun. I was terrified and had the mantra of "rock head rock head rock head" going through my mind the entire time. It didn't help that our guide plus all the riders except me were either drunk or high or both. Good times. Good times. So whenever I meet people for the first time and they ask if I camp or enjoy river sports I look at them like they have grown an extra head, clutch imaginary pearls around my neck and screech, NO!

We took a short float trip Monday morning and it was a blast. Mind you, it's late in the season and the Animas River was "mellow" but it was just a hoot and a half to be out on the water and swim a little, too. I think I'll go again but maybe earlier in the season when the water is a little more exciting. It helped to have a completely sober guide and sober raft mates. The guide laughed when I told him about my experience and knew exactly what I was talking about. River Rats are known for their party attitudes.

After our float trip we drove up the hill and took a hike. Five miles in five miles out. That's ten miles, a one and a zero. That’s a lot for me, too. The last time I hiked--aside from a two mile dog walk--Y2K. I attempted a fourteener and lost my lunch, breakfast, dinner and god knows what else once we were at 13k. I assumed it was just the altitude and thought I couldn't tolerate it. Turns out it was probably the altitude plus the vicodan I had been taking post oral surgery. The cigarettes didn’t help at 13K either. As I got older and continued to smoke I was terrified of having a heart attack on the side of a hill. But whaddya know, my pulmonary health must be restored because despite being winded from walking from 8000 to 9000 feet my heart didn‘t skip beats, an elephant didn‘t sit on my chest and I didn‘t die. The hike we took was my favorite kind of hike: varied terrain that goes in and out of conifer forest, aspen groves and alpine meadows. I love alpine meadows. I could just lie down and nap in an alpine meadow. In fact, I think doing just that should be on the bucket list. Luckily, I was able to walk this morning and on our way home we stopped at a couple of trail heads along Wolf Creek pass and hiked a half mile up to a lovely water fall and then stopped at another trail head near the top of the continental divide. We hiked maybe a mile in and discovered we were at the crest of the ski area and found a field of strawberries that were just starting to ripen. I left a few for the bears but not many.

Further down the road, I made friends with a genuine yard cow!! We switched drivers in the San Luis Valley and stopped at a local milk/cheese farm store. We turned into the drive way and there she was tethered to the fence in the front yard. Cleo was prettiest little fawn colored cow in the world. She was gentle, too. My life is now really complete because I made friends with a yard cow. What a summer! Elephants and a cow! Does life get any better than this?

I didn't barf riding shotgun over Wolf Creek pass like I did twenty years ago. Beav drove it too. Too bad about the upholstery over the passenger window where the OMG straps should have been. He was pretty impressed with himself when we went back over it today and he was the passenger reaching for the OMG strap. There were a couple of times I had my own eyes closed this afternoon as we made those hairpin turns.

The most amazing first! The sons didn't argue with one another one. Single. Time. No one acted like an asshat. Not even me! No one whined or complained! Not even me!! And I can always find something to whine about. This is a first for us. How sweet, everyone's all grown up now. Gone are the days of knocking each other's teeth out and being confined to separate corners of a station wagon.

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