Catching up, glacier country

55° and clear this morning. After a nine-in-a-row work day stretch, we've finally earned ourselves a day off. There's lots to do with the house, but after so much work a hike up to the divide is a necessity. It'll be good to see the high country and what's been going on up there for the last two weeks. The flowers should be in full regalia and perhaps the elk have migrated up too. 

Elaine and I bought a cabin this month up in Happy Valley.  It's fantastic. It sits at 8,800 feet above sea level (the highest I've ever lived), is perched up on the hill above the valley and gets great sun. The land backs Forest Service land with lots of trails, and there is plenty of room for growing a great garden.  That's be a project for next spring. There is also an area with aspen trees and a Kinnikinnick and moss bedding that'll make for a great reading and relaxing spot. The original cabin was built in 1909 and you can feel the history dripping from the walls. Who lived here, what were their stories? This place is a true sanctuary. There are mountains on all sides, and even with this busy week of being into work at 7 am on some days and working 15 hour days, I was able to sneak in trail runs and power hikes with 1,000 feet of climbing almost every day. It was a good chance to work on going fast as opposed to going all day. One things for sure – there are no flat adventures in Happy Valley. It's good to be back on the western front. 

In addition to getting up into the mountains, the goal for the next couple of days is to syphon through the rest of our moving boxes, toss the junk and get the well insulated. In addition, it's time to start writing more and journaling about the transition into our new home. The crazy thing is, in less than two months time, there will be snow on the high peaks of Colorado, and I want to chronicle that change from this new locale.

We did have a nice adventure before the move and the work spell. Headed up to a remote valley in the Indian Peaks with rumors of massive glaciers. The rumors proved to be true, but it wasn't easy going getting there. Huge talus fields with chock stones, Alaska-style bushwhacking and just big distances made the adventure a challenge. The plus: we were able to camp during the 4th of July period at a beautiful mountain lake and didn't see a soul. If you're willing to get out there, you can find solitude anywhere, anytime.

Made some nice turns on the glaciers and spent a lot of time watching the ice break-up on the lake. The sound it made was sort of like chimes, like an orchestra in nature. Very enjoyable and relaxing. Swear we saw a wolverine too, but it was a little too quick for positive identification. That would certainly be something, as I've never seen one of those creatures in the wild. 

Here are a few images from the adventure. 


Colorado's native plant, the Columbine, at home amongst the glaciers.

Heck of a campsite. That was a tempting line staring us in the face, but we fore-goed it as a result of a massive cornice on top. It would have been like climbing up the barrel of a loaded gun. 

 Elaine climbing up to the far western edge of Boulder County. I suspect this might be the coldest place in the county on average. Hence, the rather large glacier! 

Blow this picture up. Elaine is in the middle of the cirque arcing some turns. Better than any cathedral in my book.

We did a bit of Euro-style alpine touring, linking glacier 1 and glacier 2. This one had a more gnarly feel, with rocks strewn all about. We're a bit late in the season, but I suspect a few weeks earlier we could have linked up 5 or 6 glaciers without any walking. Next year! 

After a good adventure, we enjoyed a rainy, cool afternoon at camp with lots of reading and relaxing.

Evening tea with my lovely wife and pup. 

Ice chimes from break-up. 

Evening fun on the 4th of July playing with time exposures and mountain creeks. 

Great adventure up in glacier country. We'll be back for sure. 

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