Monthly Archives: July 2012

Crazy but true.

NBC News: Tornado in Colorado mountains is 2nd highest on record

 

This is why I tackled the hike in March (joking 🙂 ).

Mt Evans tornado

 

Summer Lake Day hike!

Received a clean bill of health from the doctor on Friday after last weekend’s lightning strike — but still taking it easy for 2 or 3 weeks. ALSO only seemed fair to do a hike just for Ro.  My dog LOVES snow but swimming is a close #2.

Started off early after only a 20 minute commute but parked at the wrong entrance.  Protrails.com directs hikers to the West Portal Entrance (South Shore) which unfortunately is closed to dogs during summer.  ALSO thought it was odd that I was seeing so many women — like 30:1 ratio to men.  I walk up with my dog & backpack — past the start line up for ‘Diva Dash’, an all-women’s road race scheduled.  Sometimes you just gotta laugh at life’s mishaps.  Too darn funny.

Your girl’s weekend starts here, at the SHAPE Diva Dash Packet Pick-Up in the Millennium Room at the Millennium Hotel in Boulder.  You’ll meet your fellow Divas and get Inspired. Energized. We’ll have you ready to run, jump, splash and dash your way through the Saturday Diva Dash course in a flash. Bring your ID! You’ll need it! Don’t forget to shop the Diva Store, where we’ll be selling shorts and skorts, socks and hats, and more!

So…half a mile back to my car and maybe another mile up the road to the North Shore trailhead.  At this point starting kinda late so the sun is already warm — but this hike has only a 200 feet incline over 6 miles (virtually flat).  Walked down to a boat launch and let Ro get wet – yep, my dog’s gonna love this day 🙂

Wildlife watch at the Rez were easy pickin’s for Ro — flying grasshoppers and frogs.  Just don’t have the same game as marmots, pikas & black squirrels — poor little creatures didn’t know what hit them.  All but one of the frogs were released, grasshoppers did not fare as well.

Added Coot Lake to our day hike to extend total mileage.  Light hike day so took Ro to Community Park (Louisville dog park), went for a 3 mile run and hiked around Waneka Lake (another 2 miles) before showering and attending a late afternoon baptism.

Woke early on Sunday.  After our morning run, took Ro back to Community Park before we both got showers and headed to church.

Lazy summer days.  I’ll review this post in a few months when the snow starts flying.

 

protrails.com – Coot Lake

(p.s. Thanks Leslie for hike recommendation. Ro LOVED it, you were right!  ALSO, 3 creepy nudists – thanks for forewarning!)

 

First 13er – most aggressive hike to date; a tale I’ll likely never forget.

Arrived early but being a summer Saturday, parking at Mitchell Lake was full — adding an extra mile to our start (not so bad, considering my 2012 track record).  Two miles of pine before I pushed thru treeline.  Large boulder climb to the top similar to all past 14er week hikes, skies started greying up, but one quick push UP and SUMMIT SUCCESS!

Everything soon went suddenly wrong.

I took a short panoramic summit video and started heading back.  Ro touches his nose on my leg and I get a small static shock.  Ok that’s odd.  I step on a large flat rock and ZAP!  I pop back, fall over a summit boulder, hit my head and pass out.  I wake up soon after and luckily Ro is laying beside me simply checking out the scenery – not injured, hadn’t run away, a-ok.

I sit up, bit dazed, feeling nauseous.  I know I need to get down but still confused about where I’m at & what happened.  I don’t see a trail and start down the rocky mountain backside — yeah, crossed the ridge and started down the wrong side of Mt Audubon. Scary adventure ensues, not recommended. Ro and I start scaling down large mammoth rock formations — his back-end tucked snug into my backpack.  Ro sensed this was out-of-the-ordinary, stayed calmed, forearms over my shoulders, provided sloppy kisses along the side of my face every 20 minutes.

HELP – I yelled often; no one.  Not a soul.  Completely isolated and alone.

We’d climb down and meet a cliff.  Hike back up the mountain, hike sideways, then try to go down again.  Shale rock caused rock slides, so I’d target a large rock below which would stop our slide – concerned I would slide off a cliff, my body found weeks from now.  Not a best case situation.  Did it hurt?  YES.  Rocks cut my clothes, legs, arms, bloodied my hand.  Again, not recommended.

I prayed out loud, I yelled HELP.  Nothing; no one.  Down, we needed to get down.  I spotted a lake below, assumed this was Blue Lake where a related trail would take us back to civilization and safety.  Closer to the lake, I saw this water was surrounded by a willow thicket.  Tried walking on top of the short sturdy bush.  Not only was Ro held back by this undergrowth, but my legs were taking a beating.  And…mosquitoes.  Back up on rock and travelling horizontally around the mountain base, looking for a trail.

I stopped and emptied my stomach (often) – ’til I was left with nothing but the previous 2-3 sips of water. Sun was starting to set. Continued to push on knowing that my energy level would drop exponentially if I lost a day in the mountains.

Near dusk I saw a light and happened upon a young married couple.  I talked like a crazy person and told them I needed help.  My clothes were ripped, my shorts acting as a loin clothe – backside completely ripped away exposing blue underwear (boxers would have been better had I known, but at least I didn’t go commando :))

If I could have started with the lightning part first, I would have seemed less alarming.  BUT I had a dog on a leash — what crazy dangerous person travels with an Irish terrier?  As conversation continued I remembered more of my day.  Jason pulled out a map and showed me I was 27 miles from my car.  All I could think (& verbalize) was that I could not hike 27 more miles today.

There ARE good people out there.  These folks – Kerry & Jason – were the most amazing people.  They created an action plan.

Plan A – we talked to campers with a SUV; unfortunately they were severely [drug] impaired.

Plan B – hike 4 miles over the ridge of a nearby mountain; a 1000 foot incline.  Ugh, couldn’t imagine hiking anymore this day much less UP over a mountain at night.

Flashlight, water and off we go – Kerry led the way.  Positives: no rain, clear skies, lots of stars.  Jason sparked conversation throughout the hike, taking my mind off the distance and allowing my brain to re-piece together events of the day.  Less than 3 hours later, arrived back to my Prius — 2am Sunday morning.

Used absolutely everything in my backpack except the knife.

Expect a series of lame lake hikes over the next 2-3 weeks.  Leaving these kinds of adventures for younger folk.

 

FOLLOW-UP:  Jason & Kerry emailed me after the hike — again, AMAZING people.  Turned on my camera following day and was surprised to find a video taken from inside my backpack with hike conversation confirming this did all happen — not a dream.

ALSO, searched out a doctor Tuesday (first visit since 2007) — irregular heart beat, taped my right leg, wrapped my left ankle. Another appointment scheduled for Friday morning — gonna be a-ok.

 

Mt Audubon (summit video)

hike conversation (w Jason & Kerry)

 

 

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