Spirit in the Sky

Still chasing wildflowers, Mark gets word that Spirit Basin is near peak. A master at logistics, he figures out a way to drop off Pet Rex along the Million Dollar Highway. We will then shuttle eight of us up to Spirit Basin for a one way hike, while still leaving Bobbie a way to bug out early, since it’s a work day.

Hillsides, tinted yellow and magenta.

Hillsides, tinted yellow and magenta.

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Barstow Mine

Barstow Mine

I could have sworn he said we would be hiking “down” a mining road, but then no hike in the San Juans is worth getting dressed for without a little heavy breathing. We must first climb up to the overlook, which brings us through a beautiful wildflower-filled basin. The overlook affords spectacular views of Red Mountain, a place that would almost make my heart bleed just as red to be up there.

Red Mountains, living up to their name.

Red Mountains, living up to their name.

Radio tower man-talk.

Radio tower man-talk.

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Beautiful Spirit Basin

Beautiful Spirit Basin

We meander down and down through a pine forest which is soon eclipsed by lush, quaking aspens. It is another glorious hiking day in the San Juans.

Lunch stop launches into photo shoot...

Lunch stop launches into photo shoot…

John and Joallen Q. sit for the Postcard Maker.

John and Joallen Q. sit for the Postcard Maker.

I can hear Bobbie's laugh every time I look at this photo..

I can hear Bobbie’s laugh every time I look at this photo..

Being the only respectable wage-earner among us, Bobbie leaves us for work.

Being the only respectable wage-earner among us, Bobbie leaves us for work.

As anyone who follows this blog knows, I am typically a week behind in my posts. So while the photos reflect a rewarding hike through Spirit Basin, what follows is written in “real time.”

I am now back in Texas once again. I got some sad news after the Bullion King hike last Wednesday that my Dad had passed away, just three months and a day following my brother Stephen’s passing. He had fallen and hit his head on the concrete just two days prior. Mom called 911 and rushed him to the ER, but unable to find any negative impact from the fall, (coupled with the fact that he was threatening to walk home. ;-) ) they dismissed him.  Two days later, he died peacefully in his own bed, Mom holding one hand and my brother Don holding the other.

Fog rolls into camp

Fog rolls into camp

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At 94, my Dad had lived a very full life. He slipped the bonds of his aged body just in the nick of time, as confinement to a care facility was imminent. As a farmer and outdoorsman, this would have been nothing short of entrapment to him, and would have killed him and my mother both. So although it is a terribly sad time for my family, particularly on the heels of my brother’s death which left us all so tender, it truly was the best of all possible outcomes.

Mom is doing surprisingly well given the circumstances. She and Dad were married for 68 years, so understandably it leaves a gap, particularly after having just lost her youngest son. But she is the most strong-willed and fiercely independent woman I know, so I trust she will adapt and evolve better than most half her age.

Somewhat rare "White Columbine."  Though the outer petals are still a faint blue, the overall coloring is cream.

Somewhat rare “White Columbine.” Though the outer petals are still a faint blue, the overall coloring is cream.

Magenta Paintbrush

Magenta Paintbrush

Monk's Hood

Monk’s Hood

Once again, I am so grateful to have been surrounded by good friends when the news came. From helping me figure out a solution to store the Winnie, to cleaning out the fridge for storage, to an entertaining ride to the airport, offers to do my laundry and conversations shared over “A toast to Dad,” it was so very soothing to be surrounded by such wonderful, like-minded friends. I will never forget their love and support.

I learned a lot from my Dad. If we are put on this earth to learn lessons, he certainly played a big part in mine. Among these life-lessons, the greatest gift I could have received was his incurable wanderlust. From hitching the rails to California at age 17, to a solo road trip to the Texas Valley in his GoodTimes Van at 93, as a farmer, he never let any grass grow beneath his feet..Godspeed, Pop!

“All that is gold does not glitter; not all those who wander are lost; the old that is strong does not wither; deep roots are not reached by the frost.”
― J. R. R. TolkienSolK

Sol K. Anthony
May 17, 1921 – July 29, 2015
Wander in Peace, Pop.

“Spirit In The Sky”
by Norman Greenbaum

When I die and they lay me to rest
Gonna go to the place that’s the best
When I lay me down to die
Goin’ up to the spirit in the sky
Goin’ up to the spirit in the sky
That’s where I’m gonna go when I die
When I die and they lay me to rest
Gonna go to the place that’s the bestSlide 2

The Lost Horizon

So now that I am fully acclimatized (said with a wink and a grin!) it is time to do the one hike that has been on my mind since discussions began last winter about a summer visit to Colorado. For three summers now, I have watched posts on the Box Canyon Blog about a place called “Ice Lake,” only accessible by foot. Year after year, I watch as Mark and Bobbie guide friends and family up to this most magical of places Continue reading

Climb High, Sleep Low

I have had altitude sickness twice in my life – once on my attempt to summit Kilimanjaro, and again in Nam Tso Lake in Tibet.   I liken it to sea sickness, in that I would do just about anything to make it stop. As best I can describe, it feels like your brain is suddenly two sizes larger than your skull, and my gray matter might begin protruding from the eyeballs at any given moment.  Each move must be made in slo-mo, otherwise everything pounds and pulsates with every step.  Call me paranoid, but it is not an experience I wish to repeat.   So when Box Canyon Mark says Continue reading

Must There Be Pain?

The scenery around Lovely Ouray is the type of stuff from which those hokey corporate motivational posters are made.   You know, the ones that they hang in the break room that show some fit mountain climber scaling a mountain that no corporate job would permit enough time off to drive by, let alone climb?   The kind of propaganda posters that try to reinforce that “Without pain, there is no gain?”   I have always preferred to think Continue reading

Outskirting Ouray

I have been following the Box Canyon Blog since before I even had an RV. I figure I have read through about a hundred posts touting and tempting life in a box canyon affectionately referred to as “Lovely Ouray, the Switzerland of America.”  So I knew before I got here it would be a special place.  Give me a box canyon, and I am happy. Give me one filled with hikes, a brewery, a hot springs, and a chocolate shop selling “Scrap Cookies” made from left over chocolates? Well, about the only thing you could add to top that would be to throw a couple of good friends into the mix! Life’s own version of the Scrap Cookie.  ;-) Continue reading

Up on A Tightrope

The great  Karl Wallenda, tight rope walker extraordinaire of The Flying Wallendas once said “Walking the wire is living, everything else is waiting.”   I feel that same way about being on the road.  It is living.  Everything else is waiting…

My family senses this stirring in me.  My Mom has thankfully always been one to “push her chicks out of the nest.”   So finally, after 75 days of being parked down on the farm, she says “I don’t want you waiting around here for Dad and me to croak.  It’s time for you to get back to living your life.  We’ll be okay here.”   I saw a crack in the window, and I flew through it. Continue reading

Flight of the Honey Bee

For several years, my parents have had a hive of bees living in between the walls of their storage shed, painted to look like a red barn, therefore appropriately referred to as “The Red Shed.” No one knows how they got there, but Mom remembers seeing a swarm arrive one day, so thick it darkened the sky. Shortly thereafter, they started noticing increasing numbers of bees inside and around the shed. Continue reading

Workamping

Since having retired last October, I have on more than one occasion been chided for being on “perpetual vacation.” To that, I say, “What the heck’s wrong with a perpetual vacation??” After all, I worked long and hard to earn “time off for good behavior.” So why give it up so soon? Maybe I will get to that point eventually, but for now, I still enjoy “vacation mode.” Continue reading

House of Pain

It’s been over two months since my last blog post.  One might think by now that I would be out of the habit of keeping the blog.  And most days, they would be right.  I often think I won’t update the blog again.  It’s a waste of time.  As Willie would sing, “You cain’t make a record if you ain’t got nuthin’ to say.”  But if I am truthful with myself, I miss writing so much it hurts. Like so many things in my life, there doesn’t seem to be a middle ground.  I have always preferred it that way.  Anything but lukewarm mediocrity.   So the mood swings from “Never again!” to “How could I possibly not? Continue reading