Walkin’ on the Sun

I left Texas on a Wednesday, after two weeks of mowing, weed eating, and general maintenance required to get Mom restocked, refueled, and reset before my flight back to Colorado.  It was 106 the day before I left.   I realize that is nothing to the Arizona contingent, but in the Dallas area, there is no such thing as a “dry heat!”

106 at 6:00pm!

106 at 6:00pm!

The only section of the yard I didn't have to mow.

The only section of the yard I didn’t have to mow.

While I was in Texas this time around, there was little time to return to the House of Pain as family matters took precedence.  And it was too darned hot to do much of anything outdoors.  If you didn’t get it done before 10:00am, there was no energy to resume outdoor activity again until after 7:00pm once the scorching sun abated, dropping lower in the sky.  Most of my midday “activity” was spent running errands in the air conditioned car, or sitting atop the riding lawnmower.  So I was a bit apprehensive about returning to “Adventures at Altitude” that I left behind so suddenly.

The road up to Red Mountain starts off with scenic mountain views.

The road up to Red Mountain starts off with scenic mountain views.

I am pleased to see so many wildflowers still in bloom when I return.

I am pleased to see so many wildflowers still in bloom when I return.

I will be "bringing up the rear" this entire hike!

I will be “bringing up the rear” this entire hike!

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Did I mention it was a steep hike? Jim, Gayle and Chris are making me look bad way back here!

Meanwhile, boots kept marching in Ouray while I was away.   The only thing more heart wrenching than reading about the upcoming hike descriptions in their daily emails would have been to be omitted from the distribution list.  One by one, they were crossing off the hikes I had dreamed of doing:  Bear Creek Trail, Red Mountain Summit, Twin Peaks.  It was torture, reading about the meet-up time, trail length, ride logistics, and follow-up blog posts, knowing my “daily activity” included a whole lot of sweat, chaff, and bug spray.   But knowing the Winnie was waiting in nearby Ridgeway State Park made reading emails and blog posts while sleeping on the inflatable mattress a little more bearable.IMG_2133 IMG_2135

Those two dots approaching the summit of Red Mountain #3 are Gayle and Chris.

Those two dots approaching the summit of Red Mountain #3 are Gayle and Chris.

We arrive at "Picnic Plateau" atop Red Mountain #3.

We arrive at “Picnic Plateau” atop Red Mountain #3.

By the time my connecting flight arrived Montrose, and stops were made to replenish the Winnie, (Thanks, Debbie!)  the ubiquitous monsoon afternoon thunderstorms had begun rolling in.   I didn’t exactly fancy repositioning in the rain, much less while dodging bolts of lightning, so I spent the night in “stealth mode” inside the Ridgeway SP Boat Storage.   My second day was spent positioning out of storage, acclimating with a walk down the road, and visiting our fearlessly convalescing Guide Noir, now out on “Injured Reserve.”IMG_2138

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So once settled back in the San Juans, I am eager to rejoin the gangs hiking circuit.  Soon, a plan starts to gel for a Friday hike.  How about let’s start with something easy on Suzanne’s first day back on the trail…like, oh, maybe summiting a mountain?   Oh, sure, it’s only 1.8 miles, but starting at an elevation of 11,400’ and hiking to the summit at 12,890’, a pretty dramatic vertical rise for a recently reset flatlander!

We all marvel at the ability to see 360 degrees of mountains from here.

We all marvel at the ability to see 360 degrees of mountains from here.

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Gayle shows me where Mark shinnied down to get a close up of this red rock ridge last week...tempting.

Gayle shows me where Mark shinnied down to get a close up of this red rock ridge last week…tempting.

Jim and Gayle have been to the Red Mountain #3 summit just the week prior, but they say the scenery is worthy of a repeat.   Chris will also join, as he missed the hike the first time around due to in-town visitors.  Having done this hike previously, Gayle warns that it got very cold and windy at the top last week, so wear layers in case it’s another nippy day.

Red Rock Beach makes for a good sunbathing spot.

Red Rock Beach makes for a good sunbathing spot.

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That ridge looks so "walkable" if only it weren't for that little ledge in the foreground.

That ridge looks so “walkable” if only it weren’t for that little ledge in the foreground.

The hike up wastes no time in climbing, but it is a gated, 4WD road, now closed to vehicular traffic.  I figure if an automobile is capable of getting up the steep grade, I should be able to make it up, even if it’s in low gear.  Thankfully, the majestic views across the mountains begin with the same sense of urgency as the incline, so I am grateful for the frequent photography opportunities as I wheeze and sputter all the way to the top.

Headed back down.  Gotta watch that gravel.  It's like walking on marbles.

Headed back down. Gotta watch that gravel. It’s like walking on marbles.

Gayle and I take a jaunt down a side road and discover more wildflowers.

Gayle and I take a jaunt down a side road and discover more wildflowers.

Once we reach the summit, we are in luck.  The sun-baked red rocks are warm, and it feels like perfect picnic weather with 360 degree views. Mountains in every direction, as far as we can see. And what picnic is complete without fresh baked “Summit Cookies,” straight out of a Lazy Daze oven, compliments of Chris!

Chris makes great "Summit Cookies!"

Chris makes great “Summit Cookies!”

"My new shirt is so bright I gotta wear shades!?"  (Photo compliments of Little Adventurer Gayle)

“My new shirt is so bright I gotta wear shades!” (Photo compliments of Little Adventurer Gayle)

Ohhhhh, can I just tell you how happy I am to be back?

34 thoughts on “Walkin’ on the Sun

  1. I would do that hike again in a heartbeat, especially if Chris supplied the cookies! By the way, Chris did join us the first time, too, but he was another glutton for more punishment;-)

    • Hi, Ed. I know people rave about the photo quality of their smartphones, but I must have gotten a dud, because my iphone takes lousy photos! I typically carry a Canon S110 Point and Shoot, but ironically, I forgot it on the Red Mountain hike. These were all taken with my $99 Canon ELPH, which continues to be my favorite camera because it is lightweight enough not to weigh my shorts pocket down. 😉 Thanks for the nice compliment. Hope you are looking forward to your visit…

    • “Freakin’ techinicolor!” is right, Lisa! Wasn’t that what Dorthy said when she stepped off the front porch in Oz? 😉

  2. You have had a rough summer! I am amazed at your ability to recover & bounce back. Sorry I missed you in Midlothian. I’ve had illness in my family I went down for. Pat & I are back in NM and my ears popped just getting here! I can’t imagine how you adjusted to the altitude where you are!
    These pictures are fabulous! Almost enough to make me want to get in shape & follow you around…….almost. Keep posting and I will enjoy your travels from a distance! Love you, girl!!!

    • Reta — Sorry to hear about the family illness. Hope it was nothing serious!! I hate that I missed you too, but we will keep trying, and catch up one of these days! Thanks for the nice compliment. Sell that big 5th wheel, get yourself a little Class C, and come on and join me while Pat is still working. 😉

    • Oh, I like that song! I had forgotten all about it! Everyone always defaults to the Willie song of the same name, but I liked this one more. Gonna go find it on YouTube. 😉

  3. I would love to see a map of all your hikes. The pictures are just fabulous! My favorite drive in all the world is U.S. 550 in Colorado. Thanks for sharing.

    • Thank you, John. We just about wore that rode out while I was in Ouray, or at least the section to Silverton. So many great hikes along that road, and I agree, the scenery is unparalleled!

  4. Love seeing you out enjoying this beautiful hike. Those Red Mountains are just so cool. What a view! I can totally understand exactly how you were feeling as you read through the Gangs’ posts. Being gone from the mountains since mid June is really, really hard. I drool through blog after blog. But we are finally pointed in the right direction!! We should get to Nebraska by next week…wahoo! I am hearing those mountains calling a little clearer:) I am sure having the gang and the mountains is welcome help as you move forward:) Thinking of you:)

    • Thanks, Pam. I am glad to see you and John pointed back this way too, as it means a meet-up is more likely. 😉 I hope you are close enough to answer those mountains back soon, cause it sure feels good!

  5. I Love Colorado. I hope when I get back there that I can connect with a hiking group like you have done. Guess I better start to follow Box canyon Marks blog. Seems he is one of the leaders

    • Susan — Yes, Mark is a great leader, but he would probably rather be a loner if we would all just stop stalking he and Bobbie up the mountain! LOL! Thanks for the comment.

  6. You are becoming quite the accomplished mountaineer. Can’t be easy after the flat lands. Been a rough few months but I’m glad you’ve survived and continue to join the gang in these awesome mountain hikes.

    • Thanks, Gaelyn — It is an addiction, I will readily admit, and these mountain views are a pure strain of “hikers heroin!”

  7. Sunday, laying in the “nook” of my Winnie, happy…but even happier to see you on that mountain in your new shirt….Wowzer!

    • Linda — I agree, one of my favorite places to spend a Sunday morning, in the Winnie “book nook!” So glad you are enjoying your View!

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