Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Last Hike in Colorado

For about two weeks I was either hiking or backpacking in Colorado late in September 2012. It took me almost that long to acclimate to altitude over 11,000 feet. So I spent a lot of that time feeling awful whenever I'd crack the 11K-foot mark.

Finally, by the time the main part of the trip was done, I was over my altitude sickness. On our way back to Denver to catch our flight, we stopped one last place to climb a mountain. I've forgotten the name of the mountain, but it's just outside of Durango.

Because I had lost about twenty pounds and that my lungs and innards were finally accustomed to thin air, I pretty much flew up that mountain. We'd gone there to see what we'd been told were epic stands of aspen trees. And, true to the claims, we found the aspens in large numbers, great health, high tops, and spinning gold in the sunlight.

I want to go back to Colorado some time and do more hiking. And next time I'll make sure that I acclimate more effectively to the high altitude.

I don't care what anyone tells me. There's something about the skies out west that makes the colors more vibrant.

The last mountain we climbed. Just outside Durango.
Summit area seen from an adjacent ridge.

Older pines along the trail.

The reason we climbed the peak--vast groves of aspens.

I hear that there is a grove of quaking aspens in the Dolly Sods Wilderness in West Virginia. Which would make it the southeasternmost grove of those tress in North America. I need to go back there to find it. I tried once, but failed to spot them.

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