Thursday, July 23, 2015

Hiking with a Viking...

I met Paul the Pilot (AKA Paul the Polly-Anna), on a long ago Ride the Rockies Bicycle Tour. He rode an antiquated Schwinn Le Tour bicycle. His metal steed was clunky, unresponsive and oppressively massive. Paul is a large, lean, headstrong, "Type A" Scandanavian. He muscled his bike up the passes, laughing at the Bike Nazis he left in his wake. He's a tough dude. 

I mentioned the newer, lighter bikes that were available in stores called Bicycle Shops. His answer, "This bike is fine. Why buy another one?" 

You know the saying, "You can always tell a Scandanavian, you just can't tell them much."

Now Paul is gainfully unemployed, recently divorced and taking the same heavy handed approach to backpacking. 

On our three-day, 28 mile journey in the Maroon Bells/Snowmass Wilderness of Colorado, Paul's concession to lightweight gear was leaving his Grand Piano behind and settling for a Baby Grand instead. Out of his Mount Everest Expedition pack came a pound of raisins, a heavy two person tent, (for himself), a container of liquid coffee creamer, a spice rack, a large plastic 7-11 coffee mug and other extraneous add-ons. I was surprised there was no portable sauna. I feared placing my puny backpack next to his. It might have eaten it. 

Now is a good time to mention, the hiking loop contains four passes over 12,000 feet too. 

So...just like that bicycle tour from so long ago, Paul employed brute strength to make his way up the passes. He still managed to leave most younger, better equipped hikers in his wake.The one and only reason I was ahead of him was my mini backpack was half the Wells Fargo Bank vault weight of his backpack. He's still a tough dude.

Then again, what can one expect from a region who brought the world such notable Bad-Asses as Eric the Red, Roald Amundsen and Fridtjof Nansen. I hear they eat lutefisk too. That's fish soaked in lye. 

At least our hiking conditions were to Paul's liking. Cold, wet, damp, cloudy and plenty of white death (snow) to traverse. Perfect for the newest Scandanavian Bad-Ass. 

This Cold Weenie survived the ordeal. In fact, a wonderful time was had by all. 

Cheers from Carbondale, Colorado,

1 comment:

  1. Beautiful pictures - and a very cute pika! Thanks!