My last two climbs near the Lake City area were Uncompahgre and Wetterhorn, they were both fun- easy hikes. I particularly enjoyed Wetterhorn, which was my first more “technical” climb. It was gentle the entire way up to the final leg of the climb, where I encountered some exciting scrambling. Some poor guy was really freaking himself out climbing up some of it, I felt bad and tried to help him…but he was too deep in his own head to be able to accept help. I understood, I’ve been there…just in a different situation. He eventually made it up and his morale was boosted back up to optimum levels, until he had to go back down. Luckily he had a very patient climbing partner who guided him back to safety.
My favorite part of my hikes is the part where I return to the valleys, where I enjoy the gentle descents in the company of colorful-hardy flowers and lush greens. This is where the butterflies whisper their secrets and snowmelt streams tell silly jokes, this is where my imagination runs wild, this is where the world makes sense, where I feel calm and true and right. My climbing partner, Minnesota, likes to get this part over with as quickly as possible and she runs down. I don’t mind because it gives me alone time. The most right I have felt in a long time, was on the descent of Redcloud. I was alone, just re-entering the trees and the wind was blowing gently against them. I was listening to an Alan Watts recording, his calming voice floated on the wind and wiggled into my ears, “All the idea of you being scared, and put out and worried, and so on, this is nothing, it’s a dream. Because you’re really nothing. But this is most incredible nothing. So cheer up!… Nothingness is really like the nothingness of space, which contains the whole universe. All the sun and the stars and the mountains, and rivers, and the good men and bad men, and the animals, and insects, and the whole bit. All are contained in void. So out of this void comes everything and You Are IT.” It was a perfect moment, where I found peace within my often restless soul.
I didn’t get to spend as much time exploring and enjoying Lake City as I had hoped, but I did spend a couple hours walking around downtown. I bought a black shirt with a moose on it that said “Lake City” in turquoise blue letters. I got stuck in an antique store after some teenage drug experimentalists locked me in without realizing it. After I got out, I went to an art gallery where I met a very kind woman. She was blonde and well put together, her hair was done, and her clothes were nice and wrinkle-free. She inquired about my origins and why I was in Lake City. When I told her that my dad’s prior occupation and exploration of the town drew me there, she gave me a rock…a heart-shaped rock. She said, “Lake City is known for its heart-shaped rocks, and you should have one for your dad.” My heart raced, and I wanted to cry. I want to cry right now just thinking about it. I really liked her, she just seemed so benevolent; she told me of a hostel where I could shower and of a great place to watch the sunset. I didn’t want to leave the gallery, I wanted her to adopt me, I wanted her to be my Fairy Godmother.
Soon after, I went to the hostel that my Fairy Godmother told me about and met a dark-haired, bearded man with a birthmark just below his right eye, his name was Lucky. He was busy juggling three young children, all of which were cute to the point of ridiculousness. They tended to a fire and cooked hot dogs for themselves, they were covered in soot and dirt, they were full of joyful giggles and squeals. Lucky let me shower for free after he saw me playing guitar with the owner of the coffee shop next door, who I had met the previous day. I developed an immediate crush on Lucky; maybe because I have a weakness for men who are good dads…I think it was probably some weird Freudian thing that made me like him. I liked him, probably, for the same reason I like men who smoke cigarettes. Maybe I liked him because of his birthmark, or because he just seemed sweet and I knew he didn’t want anything from me. I made him a “Thank You” card before I left and headed out to Ouray to climb Sneffels.