Mountains of Fun

Although I will never get bored earning them, you may get tired reading about my fun weekends in/near the Rockies. I care about your boredom, but I’ll risk it anyway. My weekend was, in short, fantastic and comes in 2 acts with a musical intermission.

Act 1, in which 2 people hike in the wilderness seeing wonders:

Columbine

Columbine looking at Dana doing odd contortions to catch the perfect light.

This weekend’s hike was much like last weekend’s just in a different place, somewhere above the Moffat Tunnel (a 6 mile train tunnel under the Continental Divide). There were constant waterfalls, beautiful trees, excellent company, and loads of wildflowers. Spectacular beauty … well, I can’t even pretend it gets boring. Unfortunately, the wildlife consisted mostly of dogs, squirrels, and chipmunks. There were a couple of tree stumps that looked, for a moment, like bears, but, alas, no such luck. The highlight this time was the flowers, where I was the flower spotter (honorary) and Dana the photographer.

tough flower

Waiting for the purple flower to drip … just … one … more … time.

Was it worth the 4 miles of gasping and scrambling and mud? Yup.

Musical Intermission:

After the glorious day in the mountains, we went home, having neither a tent nor a tolerance for hole-in-the-ground sanitation. To be fair, hole-in-the-ground sanitation would be perfectly fine if it had no smell, was self-cleaning, and made a re-assuring flushing noise after each use.

Going home means hurtling down Boulder Canyon, gently enough to keep heart rates low. Being too exhausted for real conversation, I asked for some music. Dana, the passenger, looked through my crazy music collection and said something like, “How about j.hubner? Is it any good?” Faster than this sentence conveys, I replied, “Yeah!”. And so, while Mr. Hubner was just getting rear-ended he was also serenading us with his thoughts on being the Kaiser and wearing a beard of bees. There is actual video evidence of canyon walls passing while Hubner plays on. That evidence, safely stored in both Colorado and Indiana, will be released if certain demands aren’t met … I’ll get back to you on the demands.

Act 2, in which 1 person learns a lesson:

Last weekend I felt immensely proud of a 27 mile comfortably hilly bike ride. I felt a little like an athlete. Sure, I’ve been in much better shape at times, but it was the first time in a while where long-riding cycling fun was also easy fun. This weekend? Further, faster, harder, and more rewarding. I don’t mean to brag, but after 35 miles, I’d conquered every hill in my repertoire that scares me … and more. When I say a hill scares me, I mean that, on more than one occasion, I’ve had an actual tear knowing the painful ascent is coming. The worst part of these hills is seeing the entire hill the entire time and for 20 minutes before you even reach it. Last weekend that was no problem. This weekend, as I approached each one, I had twinges of fear. Partway up each one I thought about giving up. Soon after, I remembered I just had to move forward a little bit and do that again until, with much surprise, I reach the top. That was my lesson. That is the lesson I am so good at preaching and so bad at doing: have a vague goal, but just worry about the next step. Yeah, I conquered the hills, one of them in my fastest ever time, but mostly, I got my head right … and made it home before mist completely obscured my glasses. I’d share photos, but, if they were of me, you’d just see a soggy suffering mess, in the middle of building his confidence up.

Yeah, I’m proud of myself, not for where I live or any athletic accomplishment. I’m proud of living here, not merely existing. I’m proud of growing, even as my weight shrinks to merely 10% above what I want it to be. I’m more proud of, after long years of work, having a partnership with the awesome Dana that lets me be me and have fun with her being her. Being. Living. Growing. Yup, life is good.

14 thoughts on “Mountains of Fun

  1. Glad you had fun with the Awesome Dana going o’er hill and vale, enjoying not just the wonders of nature, but that of people’s dogs. This brought to mind two separate issue – the beauty of he highlands and toilets.

    First, the beauty part. since your blog tends to be oriented to music, and you’ve been recently posting beautiful pictures of highland areas, you might enjoy the following. The first is a video from part of the Czech composer Bedřich Smetana’s musical poem titled “Má vlast” (My Homeland). This part, called “Z českých luhů a hájů,” or, “From the Czech (Bohemian) Highland Meadows and Forests,” is a pretty fair view of the area he was staying in when he composed this part (read the blub). While this part is nice, musically, by far my favourite section is named “Vltava” after the river, describing it’s journey from a tiny rivulet into a large river (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kdtLuyWuPDs). It’s often referred to as “Moldau,” which is the German version of the name, but I think the original name ought to be the one used. The entire cycle of Má vlast is here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7KsQz64rkAI

    WARNING! NEXT PART NOT FOR THOSE WITH EXCELLENT IMAGINATIONS!!!

    Now onto toilets … I don’t have any pictures, as all are ingrained on my memory, both visually and olfactorally. If you have difficulty with the chemical toilets you saw (and smelt), don’t ever take a Russian train, or use an outdoor Bulgarian, Romanian, or Tunisian toilet. For the first, think of open hole onto the railway and not even beginning to approach clean, and for the latter three, think shed with open pit, rope and flies.

    Sorry. Now, just go back and relax to the lovely music.

  2. I love me a dose of Orange Positivity. I wish I could bottle it and keep it for days I am feeling down. Thanks for sharing your awesome time!

    • Blame some of it on Angela. She lit the fire for awesomeness posting over here in Orange Land! Future awesome adventures are planned including tall mountains, nearly impossible bike rides, and maybe a performance or two.

  3. I enjoy reading about your time in Colorado, as I want to return. Congrats on tackling those hills, even if they sometimes cause a tear to emerge. I prefer seeing the entire hill, as opposed to false summits (the incline, some Colorado 14ers).

    • While hiking, I agree. I have the stubbornness to make it up anything. On my bike, it’s oddly different. I expect the farthest point to perceptually move towards me but I’m moving too slow to make that happen. For me, life burdens resemble cycling hills so it’s an accessible lesson.

Am I wrong?