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Monday, August 24, 2015

Red Cloud Peak (14,034 feet)...

The hard (and stupid) way.

I have a confession. I'm lazy. When presented with a choice between Girly-man easy and Ironman tough, I'd choose the wimpy way all the time. I don't even feel Jewish guilt over my decision. It's my way of pacing myself and avoiding injuries.

So..with my usual glance at a map and 14'er guidebook, I set off on a well-trod path. 
At a little over a mile, I saw a few midget sized cairns leading across Silver Creek. I read somewhere there was an alternative, simpler and more scenic route to the top. I reckoned this was that trail. Well, I had the right idea, but the wrong mountain. That pretty way was on nearby Handies Peak!!  A Senior moments strikes again. 

The trail went from prominent to obscure up the South Folk drainage. At the base of a 1,400 foot scree field, the piles of cairns played themselves out. Hmmm. I think I can, I think I can. I started crabbing my way up the slope. Sometimes it was one foot forward, a two foot slide back.

Once, I made the mistake of looking between my shaky legs. It was so steep. How steep, Jeff?  It was so steep, that a drop of switz (sweat) went straight down toward the abyss. Returning the way I came wasn't an option. Going up is safer than allowing gravity to force you down. I kept crabbing up on all fours.

At a saddle, I saw this sign. See the photo. 

Sometimes, I just get lucky. 

I made it to Red Cloud and took the easy way back. 

Cheers and don't have senior moments when you are hiking 14'ers. 
Happy Hour in Durango, Colorado

Jeff


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