Know when to fold 'em
Know when to walk away
And know when to run
"The Gambler" by Kenny Rogers
Yesterday, I left Carbondale with the idea of summiting nearby Mount Sopris. (12,965 feet). With a 70% chance of thunder-boomers and lightning as the forecast, I was more than a bit concerned. However, after my usual two pots of java for breakfast, I was feeling game on.
As I made my way through the green ecozones, all was fine. The sun was shining, the wind was gentle and temperature was set for cotton instead of fleece. Perfect. By the time I got above tree line, conditions began to change.
To the east of me, the valleys of the Maroon Bells/Snowmass Wilderness were beginning to fill with cloudy and wet stuff. I felt a few drops of moisture myself. It wasn't my sweat either. With half an Empire State Building of uphill ahead of me, I made a decision. It was time to head down.
Despite Sopris' minuscule size compared to its neighbors, it's an extremely steep endeavor. The mountain's flank is composed of rock slabs strewn about in a haphazard state. The odds are "flip a coin" whether the unforgiving surface slides or not. The descent is tedious and slow. There is no quick exit off of Sopris.
One can always second guess a hiking decision. Would I have been able to complete the climb safely? Possibly.
Did I make it back alive for another Happy Hour? Definitely.
I made the right choice. Sopris is not going anywhere.
Please try and make the Right Choice when you are in Wild Places.
That's not my handwriting in the last photo.