When a good friend you've known since you met on the PCT is about to become a dad, how do you celebrate? Why with a hike, a beer and a burger after. It is a Hike n' Brew!
There are certain milestones in life that puts a large demarcation line in a person's sense of place and self. A point in life where everything else was BEFORE THIS EVENT and everything else was AFTER THIS EVENT. Where the current life can't be imagined without that certain meaningful and poignant event happening.
The two events that have defined my life for me was hiking the Appalachian Trail and moving to Colorado. Both done within a year of one another, the decisions to both hike The Trail (no matter what else I do in life, the AT will be always be The Trail) and moving to Colorado a year later altered the path of my life. Everything before the The Trail and Colorado was one life; everything after is another life.
Often these milestone events are only realized after the fact. As I sit here typing, my a past partner' is on the couch typing away on some school work. When I first met her, I did not realize what the event meant for us: Visiting Germany to meet her family. Holidays shared with my family back in Rhode Island. Sharing a life together in the present and hopefully many more years into the future. Meeting a past partner was another milestone event where my life before and after are quite different.
Which brings up the hike done this past weekend to St. Vrain Mountain. In a few short weeks, d-low will be a Dad. It is a milestone I understand the importance of intellectually but not on a personal level. His own personal milestone makes me think because his life and mine have had more than a few parallels. We are almost the same age, we will be married within two years of each other, have similar outdoor experiences and even both have careers in the tech field.
So as d-low's milestone of fatherhood approaches, it is making me take stock of my own life in some ways. Where do I want to be? Is parenthood the path a past partner and I want to follow? It is a decision that will leave a line that is BEFORE THIS EVENT and AFTER THIS EVENT more than any other choice we can make as a couple. And, since we are both thirty-eight years old, it is a choice we have to think long and hard about sooner rather than later.
With these thoughts in mind, a hike to usher and celebrate a new stage of d-low's life was organized. A chance to savor the outdoors where the schedule is perhaps a little more lax and the responsibilities back on the home front are less. Not a better time..but a different time in a person's life.
The hike chosen by d-low is a local favorite where the views are awesome and the hike is both a fall and summer favorite or winter and spring ski delight. Being "only" a hair under 12200' and a non-technical walk-up, St. Vrain's is often ignored for by peak baggers and climbers for other more challenging and hiker peaks. The lonelier nature of this peak more than suited us and the goal of our hike.
The morning started off with the picking up of d-low and our good friend Josh at a local coffee shop and off we went to the trailhead.
The hiker of honor at the saddle below St. Vrain's
The trailhead was quiet and climbed steadily but easily.
The wildflowers proved to be a highlight of this stretch.
The dark clouds started rolling out to Rocky Mountain National Park and the Indian Peaks but we were in an isolated pocket of good weather. We assessed the weather and decided to continue towards the summit and crossed a snowfield.
The summit was reached and we were awarded with a view that took in the surrounding mountains and we had it to ourselves.
The weather held and we enjoyed the view.
We steadily headed down and retraced our steps.
The aspens were reached and the hike was almost at an end.
The car was reached, cotton was changed into and another good hike was over. A wonderful memory no matter what stage of life or milestone reached.
The Route: This link has the info needed as well as directions to the trailhead.
Maps: The Sky Terrain S. Rocky Mountain NP and Indian Peaks Map is a map that will work. The Sky Terrain maps are very good overall. My only complaint…they need one for the northern part of Rocky Mtn NP! 🙂
Post-hike Grub: Oskar Blues, of course. 🙂