For the past two years now, my good friend Nahum comes back to Colorado to work with colleagues still here at CU, see friends and to play in the Rockies that he loves so much.
Part of the reason for me modifying my Canadian trip was the fact that Nahum (along with his a past partner Patricia and his daughter Shayna) would be in the Boulder area for a little over a month. The backpacking trip was planned. The month stay in Boulder, not so much. Long story short is that Shayna (only 5 mos old) needs a liver transplant within six months. Some of the world experts in pediatric liver issues are at the Denver Childrens Hospital.
There were other reasons (personal, family, being gone a lot and wanting to enjoy the Colorado summer) for modifying my Canadian trip, but being here to see my friends and support them in their time of need was a factor as well.
One way many of us have helped the Aravs (and Nahum in particular) was again immersing him in the Colorado mountains. A place he loves and misses. A place where he can be reminded of what is good in life and not worry about an issue I hope none of us have to face.
I was able to loan out of some of my better gear for regular backpackers (not crazy thru-hikers like me! ). A Coleman F1 canister stove, my ever faithful Kelty Zen and other misc, good quality gear.
I mention this fact because joining me at the last minute was a friend. Needless to say I enjoyed the company..but had to get some more gear.
So I had to go to my car camping gear. Yours truly lugged a Simmerlite, a 3 person Eureka Tetragon (I use it for car camping..at 8lbs it ain't my usual shelter!!!! ) , and old MSR stainless steel cookset (since regulated to my truck for car camping as well) and some food that is a bit better than my usual thru-hiker fare (cous cous with salmon and artichokes anyone?) Oh yes, and a 3 liter box of wine. Gotta have the vino.
Lugging this gear showed some important points:
- I can lug 40+ pounds and still go at a good clip to the passes
- I don't see why the hell I would want to do it on a regular basis
After the usual driving, gas stops and coffee filling, we made it to the trailhead.
Nahum's trips are what I call "social backpacks". The emphasis is on camping (and making basecamp at that) and less on hiking among most of the trip members. The reason for this type of trip is simple. Most of our circle of friends are your typical backpacker. Perhaps one or two trips a year, heavy gear and wanting to camp as opposed to hike.
Not my usual style, but enjoyable in its own way. It also shows how their are many ways to enjoy the outdoors (despite what some people on the Internet will yell ya! 😉 )
All of us made it down the trail after waiting out a deluge. We made it to the Missouri Lakes.
The skies started to darkern again and weather was moving in. Most of the crew wanted to call it an early day and not go above treeline to the pass. Perhaps a wise decision as the rain came in and the cold settled into the valley.
The following morning, the gear was leisurely packed up and we made our climb up to Missouri Pass in perfect weather.
The views from the pass were, needless to say, stunning. Overlooking a vast valley dotted with lakes, remnants of snow on the mountains and wildflowers in full bloom.
We made it to a string of unnamed lakes and made our camp for the rest of the weekend in a meadow with trees. The other side of the valley was full of people. Beyond the pass? We had the valley to ourselves.
At night we enjoyed a good old fashion campfire, some wine and smores. The conversation flowed, the night sky above was beautiful and life was simply enjoyable.
The following morning, all but Dave, Nahum and myself took off to head out of the mountains. Dave, Nahum and myself decided to stay another day and hike a trail-less ridge that was dotted with lakes and led to a wide valley.
Dave had to leave that evening for obligations in town. It was just Nahum and I. We had another fire, talked well into the night and enjoyed the quiet around us.
The following morning we hiked out and over Fancy Pass and enjoyed more of the views that Nahum just did not get in Blacksburg.
Nahum and I made it down the steep pass and worked our way to a jumble of use trails at Fancy Lake. The map was quickly consulted and all that was left was a stroll down the trail to my truck.
We reached my truck just as another deluge started. Great timing!
Cotton was thrown on, a quick cup of joe was bought in Minturn and we then made our way to Frisco for one last quest: A steak dinner!
A little restaurant was found courtesy of the local visitors center.
Silver Heels served a wonderful ribeye steak, Caesar salad and potatoes washed down with Fat Tire. A bit of a splurge..but a fitting end to a wonderful trip.
All the photos