I Dream of Sparky

Sparky and I sure have been itching for a mountain fix lately, we’ve both been restless and distracted.  We’ve been hitting the trails before and after work on a consistent basis, and we’ve been hitting the gym, but the buzz it gives us only lasts so long.  The only cure for our restless legs was a trip up a peak.  Quandary’s conditions were more than ideal last weekend: hard packed snow, spikes only, moderate wind…so how could we resist!?

Straight away, after work on Saturday, I packed my bag and made my way to the base of Quandary.  I parked my car, set my alarm, and nestled into my sleeping bag.  “BEEP BEEP BEEP BOOP BOOP BE DOOPEY DOOP BEEP!” went my alarm clock the next morning.  I rubbed my sleepy eyes, put on my big girl pants, laced up my boots, and put on my spikes.  Sparky and I both made a pit stop in the bushes.  Ah, nothin’ like the crisp wind against your cheeks first thing in the morning!  I thought to myself, “I sure have missed this!”  I’ve missed living out of my car, missed peeing outside, missed waking up before the sun comes out, missed being out on the road, missed the adventure, I’ve missed the magic.

I made my way up the trail with my headlamp illuminating the way.  Every turn and every burn in my legs felt like an old friend reminding me of the adventures of the past.  In the back of my mind, I knew I was getting sick because my smelly sister had been coughing and sniffling and oozing germs from all orifices that week.  But, I told myself I wasn’t allowed to acknowledge my sore throat or my runny nose or my aching muscles.  “NO, Alix!  You are not allowed to be sick!  It’s time for an adventure.  You can be sick later!”  And what do you know!?  It worked!

Before I knew it, I was above treeline and the old Sun was beginning to come out of hiding.  I kept turning around to soak in the explosion of colorful beauty rising from the east.  I even tried walking backwards for a little while, just because I hated to miss even a single moment.  I snapped a few pictures and videos along the way, and each time I did, it felt like my fingers were going to fall off.  I pulled my scarf over my face to soothe the burning feeling from the passionate kisses of the bearded wind.  As I climbed higher, so did the sun.  I felt moderately fatigued but mostly just ALIVE and ELATED!

Sparky was in tip top shape, as usual.  Nothing ever seems to slow him down and he is always smiling!  When Sparky and I reached the summit there was a man there who offered us hot cider.  We met briefly at the trailhead and had agreed to kinda watch each other’s backs for the day.  It was his first winter summit…and it was mine too. He was tall and thin and spry.  He was the kind of guy, from what I gathered, who enjoyed a fast paced adventure in the mountains.  I’m a more slow and steady kinda gal.  We were polar opposites, but friends for a day.

As we chatted over hot cider two birds hovered closely over us.  We could hear the wind brushing against their wings and we stopped mid-conversation to take in the moment.  It seemed special for some reason.  The moment came and went and the conversation only picked up again briefly before the man at the summit and I separated.

I stayed up there for a little while to take in the view and hold on to the adventure for as long as I could.  That cold crisp air is my favorite air to breathe!  The sun was bright and the sky was ultra-blue, almost the same color as Sparky’s mane.  Eventually, I made my way down with occasional stops to chat with curious little birds in the trees.  And the next thing I knew, I was back at my car.  I stopped in Alma to get a coffee and I listened to a live band play some folk-type music there.  I thought about sticking around to grab a drink at South Park Saloon “The Highest Saloon in the USA, 10,580 elev” but I had no appetite and had lost my thirst for beer.  I always slip into a bit of a post-summit depression like that.  I can’t exactly explain why…but the world seems a little heavy sometimes after a good day in the mountains.  No complaints, just something that my mind goes through.  It’s like waking up from a good dream and wishing you could fall back asleep, wishing you could hold onto it for just a little bit longer.

The next day, I did my favorite “secret” hike, somewhere between the Springs and Canyon City.  It’s one of my very favorite places to go and I almost always have it all to myself no matter what day or time it is.  My body was definitely feeling the cold I had coming on, and my throat felt like a cactus was growing in it.  I slept heavily that night after a dose of cold medicine.  The next day…it was back to work.






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