Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Heaven Completed

“I never let the truth stand in the way of a good story.” The name of the man who spoke these words eludes me at the moment but he was a successful and published author. A reading of Desert Solitaire by Edward Abbey indicates he adhered to this belief. He altered, edited, combined and perhaps created events to fit his need.

I find it distasteful to toy with the truth unless it’s obvious I’m teasing or in a playful mood. There was no begging, cajoling or pleading. Here’s what really happened on the hike to Bridge to Heaven.

Early in the week we searched for a reasonable loop hike that would take us up to elevations that afforded cool air and broad views of distant peaks and valleys. The hike we selected began in a marshy bottom with a stream that meandered through the grasses. A few mosquitoes greeted us but we continued along the side of the slope until we were confronted with mud, muck and a broad expanse of water that would cover our boots and calves.

We abandoned the hike and returned to Ouray (pronounced U-Ray) for coffee and a chance to select another destination. We decided to spend most of the day at a beautifully landscaped hot springs with 4 pools, flowers, green grass and shade trees. A blanket, picnic lunch and a volume of Wendell Berry’s essays for reading material made it a great day.

Later in the week we got up early for the Bridge to Heaven hike. A forest service road ended at a stream but it is sometimes possible to continue across the stream with four wheel drive. The depth of the stream, the width of water and the strength of the current ruled out any attempt to cross it by vehicle. I dropped a boulder slightly larger than a bowling ball in the white current and heard the muffled booms as it was carried downstream. We searched without success for a narrow crossing, downed tree or reasonably spaced boulders to cross.

The search turned into a series of jokes and foolish ideas. I asked Julie if she knew now to pole vault. She responded with a suggestion that I push a certain boulder off the bank and into the stream. I turned and saw a solid piece of stone about the size of a golf cart that was shaped like an Egyptian pyramid. I was amused but she found it down-right funny. After several more jokes at my expense, we returned with town for more coffee and a chance to search a map for other options. We selected the Gray Cooper Trail.

Mountain near Ouray
Mountain near Ouray (Larger version)

We started up the trail with a warm sun above and flowing water to our right. The higher we climbed the cooler the air turned and the sun faded behind clouds. I thought both of us had rain ponchos but discovered only one. Not even the threat of rain minimized the beauty of the water fall, cascades, alpine flowers and snow.

Crossing a stream
Crossing a stream (Larger version)

We arrived at the top of the trail with lunch, blanket and books but strong winds and thunder made a good case for a quick meal and hasty retreat. About halfway down the sun came out and we slowed our pace until new clouds and raindrops prompted a quickened pace.

The last of the snow
The last of the snow (Larger version)

Julie commented that the beauty rivaled everything we saw last year in Yellowstone. That night, back in the campground, I had more energy and felt more euphoric that I had all week. It was a perfect day!

Paul and Julie
Paul, Julie and waterfall (Larger version)


Blogger Buffalo said...

I almost envy you. But envy is a fault and I have none.

Believe it was Mark Twain who made that remark.

7/05/2007 02:06:00 PM  
Blogger Whitesnake said...


7/05/2007 05:04:00 PM  

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