Monday, May 25, 2009

Lots of Adventure – Not all Wanted

First off, I missed writing yesterday because I was in the Littleton Adventist Hospital Emergency Room for a good part of the night. I was there with my sister-in-law Celinde. She has been undergoing chemotherapy for breast cancer for the last 4 months and she was having some issues. Tim my brother and Cole my nephew have been out of town for the last 5 days and so Celinde needed some urgent help. Celinde called over to our house around 8:30PM and asked me to go to a Walgreens 24 Hour pharmacy and pick her up some medicine. I got the medicine to her house but she just didn’t look like she was in good shape so I decided to hang out there for a while with her. After about an hour things weren’t getting better so she decided it was time to go to the ER. I don’t want to go into all the details, but she was running a pretty substantial fever by that time. So off to the ER we went. I hung out with her until about 12:40AM when she talked with the ER doctor and decided it was best to be admitted. She is still in the hospital but things are looking better and hopefully will be discharged on Tuesday. Prior to the call from Celinde, Zack and I had a pretty good day on Sunday. We had started the day in our condo in Silverthorne. The weather was looking threatening from the time we got up, but the rain did hold off for several hours. We got up and did our normal routine of getting the dogs fed and out for a walk. Our walks in the morning have been abbreviated because Bailey just can’t handle it anymore. So we are doing walks that he can handle as opposed to our normal 1.5 mile loop that we would typically do every morning. After getting the dogs settled I got all of our gear packed up and we headed out the door. Our first stop was McDonalds in Silverthorne for a quick breakfast. Nothing too much as we knew we would be hiking a lot, but enough to get us going and give us some energy. We then headed to the trailhead for our hike. We were going to hike the North 10 Mile trail that starts right at the outskirts of Frisco and then heads to the north, penetrating deep into the Eagles Nest Wilderness area. The trailhead for this trail is located right off the I-70 exit for downtown Frisco. Once you get off of I-70 you go to the end of the exit and turn right into a gravel parking lot. The trail head is on the north side of the parking lot. The trail starts by following a small paved road that leads from the parking lot to a large water tank that is part of the Frisco town water system. The water tank is reached after walking for about 200 yards. From there the trail heads into the woods along what was once an old mining road. For the next several hundred yards of the trail you are walking through forest that has been destroyed by the pine bark beetle. All the trees have been cut down and it looks very similar to the terrain we covered on Saturday. This section of the trail is very easy and gradually slopes upward. However after about ½ of a mile, the trail gets much steeper and begins to ascend several rocky ridges. During this part of the trail the North Fork of 10 Mile Creek runs right beside the trail. Due to the large amount of spring run off, the creek is running with a tremendous roar. There are numerous cataracts and waterfalls as the stream tumbles down from the heights. One particular waterfall caught our attention as it was very dramatic where it fell through a crevice between two gigantic boulders. We spent a bunch of time just hanging out there enjoying the view and appreciating the fantastic waterfall. While we hung out at the waterfall a couple with a golden retriever came up and Zack and I spent a few minutes talking with them. Zack was totally taken with the dog. His name was Henry and Zack just played and played with him.
(Zack by the waterfall.)
Zack really loves meeting up with dogs on the trail. He does a really great job of always asking their owners before he pets them or plays with them. I was really impressed with how he handled a couple of situations on Sunday. In one case, the people cautioned him to be very careful around their dog as they had just gotten it from a shelter 3 days before and they weren’t certain how it would react to children. Zack cautiously approached the puppy (I say puppy though the dog was full grown) and got very close to the ground to make his profile much smaller. He tentatively put his hand out towards the puppy with his palm turned up right. He said a lot of soothing words and the puppy approached him and licked his hand. The couple was very impressed with Zack’s patience and care in approaching their dog. I was really proud of him. Once we passed the waterfall we had another ¼ of mile of steep terrain to conquer. After that the trail flattened out and the walking was really pleasant. On our left the rush of the stream slowed down as it passed through a series of beautiful meadows. As we continued to move further into the wilderness we came across several sites that bore evidence of past mining activity. At some point in the late 1800’s or early 1900’s much of the water in the stream had been diverted into a plume that funneled the water into several hydraulic mining operations on the side of Buffalo Mountain. You can see the remains of this plume right near the Frisco Main Street exit off of I-70. It is quite dramatic and offers evidence to the extent this area was mined in the past. We continued hiking north on the trail with the goal of reaching the intersection of this trail and the Gore Range Trail. About 1.75 miles into the hike we passed the boundary for the Eagles Nest Wilderness area. We were able to continue another ½ mile along the trail before we were forced to turn back by large amounts of snow covering the trail and extreme amounts of mud. Everyone we had passed heading back down the trail had warned us that we would eventually have to turn back and we found their warnings to be quite accurate! When we turned back we had gone only a very short distance when the heavens opened upon us. Thankfully it was not thundering or lightening so we temporarily took shelter in a thick stand of pine trees. After about 10 minutes we geared up in our jackets and took off down the trail. We had a very enjoyable walk back down the trail. We spent a bunch of time talking about how we wanted to come back and hike the trail further when things were drier. According to my GPS we covered about 4.5 miles. It was a great hike and we really enjoyed ourselves.
(Me in one of the many meadows along North 10 Mile Creek.)
(Zack on a walk way over a blog on the trail.)
We headed back to the condo to get some lunch and relax. I must admit we really didn’t do anything on Sunday afternoon. It was just a great relaxing afternoon. I didn’t even spend a lot of time cleaning up the condo. Around 3:30PM we packed up the car and began our trip back down the mountain. My original plan to get home was to go through Breckinridge and go over Boreas Pass. This would have allowed us to hook up with US 285 several miles to the north west of the town of Jefferson. Unfortunately we drove to where the Boreas Pass road begins only to find out that the pass had yet to open for the season. This meant we had to backtrack into Breckinridge and head south on Colorado Route 9. Going this way would take us over Hoosier Pass, through the small towns of Alma and Fairplay until we hooked up with US 285. Once on 285 we would traverse the entire length of South Park crossing Red Hill Pass and then going over Kenosha Pass. From there we would travel through a bunch of small towns over the next 50 miles until we came to C470. Needless to say, this route took us a lot longer than had we been able to go over Boreas Pass. Nonetheless it was a beautiful drive even though most of it was through the rain. We stopped in the town of Bailey and had dinner at the Coney Island Hot Dog Stand. This hot dog stand is somewhat of a landmark in Colorado. Originally it had been located along 285 in the town of Conifer but in 2006 it was lifted off its foundation and trucked 30 miles further to the south west and set up on the outskirts of Bailey. Though it is small and you often can’t find a place to sit, I always think it is a fun place to have a meal. Heck – where else do you get to eat on the inside of a hot dog!
Besides taking Celinde to the ER on Sunday night, I also received some other distressing news. Through Facebook I found out about the passing of a friend who I haven't seen in a number of years. He was only 48 years old and passed away due to a massive heart attack. He was part of the group of people who I call the "usual suspects" for holiday and dinner gatherings that we frequently attend at Tim and Celinde's home. My heart goes out to all the members of Ramon's family and to all those who were close to him.
Today has been a busy day for us. I spent most of the day running around. It is hard to believe that tomorrow is the start of another work week. Yuck – but it has to be done! We hope everyone has had a great holiday weekend! Thanks and peace to all! – J.

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