The Bear Master

What I’m Listening to These Days:

Ellingwood, Blanca, &  Little Bear:

Minnesota and I met up, after I did a quick-easy solo hike to the summit of San Luis Peak in the San Juans.  I had no plans regarding what peak I was going to tackle next, so I followed Minnesota’s lead.  She wanted to hit Blanca, Ellingwood, and Little Bear.  We met up in Alamosa and swapped stories about the climbs we had done while apart from one another and showed each other pictures of our excisions.  Then we headed out to the starting point of our hike where we slept in our cars.  Our alarms were set for 4:30…but we both snoozed until 4:45…then we got to packing our bags.  We had about a six mile hike in to Lake Como, where I set up my tent and both of us dropped off our unnecessary gear.  Shortly after, we continued on our way to Ellingwood Point and then to Blanca.  It was cloudy and overcast, the views were minimal to say the least.  But I have no complaints.  The hike was fun and the weather held out for us.

After hitting the summit of Blanca, Minnesota and I headed down to our camp.  We both decided to take a short nap around 6:00 pm…but neither of us woke back up until about 4:30 the next morning.  Our original plan was to be hiking by 5:00 am, but that turned into 7:00 am, which was fine with me.  It was cozy and warm in the tent, and sleeping in never felt better.

Sometime after 7:00 am we found ourselves at the start of our Little Bear adventure.  It commenced with a scramble up a steep gully to a notch on a lower section of ridgeline.  There in that steep gully I dubbed myself “The Bear Master!”  Minnesota agreed that it was a fitting name: I had fought off bears in Ouray and now I was climbing Little Bear Peak, with fervor and without fear.  Once we got to the notch, we followed the trail along the side of the peak briefly before deciding to scramble along the exposed-steep-narrow-jagged upper ridgeline.  It was fun and maybe just a little scary at times.  Death was literally just a wrong step away at any given time, but somehow Minnesota and I felt okay about it.  That was, until we got to a smooth-steep section of rock that looked like trouble.  We decided to scramble back down to the trail, which took us to the famous “Hourglass.”

I had initially been a little nervous about the “Hourglass” section of Little Bear,  all the trip reports I read talked it up to be this big scary thing. But after all the exposed climbing Minnesota and I did along the ridge, it seemed like a walk in the park.  Sure, it took some time and attention to detail, but I never felt uncomfortable or worried.  Maybe my little adventure with the Lake City Men brought my nerves back up to optimal levels?

It was still a bit of a dark and overcast day, but this time we weren’t stuck in the misty clouds. It was nice to be able to see out and appreciate the views from the vantage point we worked so hard to attain.  After a short time we began to make our way down, this time we stayed on the trail the whole time.  We scrambled down the gully and (in no time) got back to the tent, where we packed up our things and began our six mile hike out.  The three peak trip was a long and arduous 22 mile journey in total, but it was completely worth it.  I can’t fully do it justice as I write tonight.  I am tired and my brain is fried…deep fried in fact.  But I got a few words down and a few pictures up, and that’s something.


Lake Como Approach


Sparky at the cloudy summit of Ellingwood Point


Sparky at the summit of Blanca


The clouds dissipated briefly, and it was just enough time to snag a good pic of the beauty below


Gear set up in the Hourglass


If a person was so inclined, they could use these silly things…I didn’t need them today 😉


I like taking pictures of gear and ropes 🙂


Sparky at the Summit of Little Bear

Emotions, my emotions.  Adventure, my adventure.  Thoughts, my thoughts.  Time, my time.  The world, my world.  Life, my life.  Words, my words.  The way, my way!  A large part of this adventure has been dedicated to soul searching, to finding some sort of peace, to finding joy again, to seeing all the colors of the universe and not just a bleak-black and white world.  The purpose of it started simply: do it for the sake of doing it, no expected outcome or result.  I still have no idea what I am going to do when the weather changes, I still have a plethora of mystery ahead of me.  I used to feel ashamed that my future was a mystery, but now that I think about it…I think the mystery in life is a pretty beautiful thing.  If I knew what I was going to do, if I had it all planned out, if I decided I was going to do just one thing for the rest of my life…I would feel like my future was a giant blood-red stop sign.

Sweet Mystery, how I adore you and your precious gifts!  How lucky am I to know so little and be astonished by so much!? I didn’t know I would meet two magnanimous mountain men, with two of the best beards I’ve ever encountered.  I didn’t know I’d hit the road with them and have an epic day of: hiking, and climbing, and beer drinking, and laughing.  I didn’t know I would ever be brave enough to share my songs with strangers, or play an open mic night.  I didn’t know I’d meet Minnesota, who has been a stupendous 14er buddy!  I didn’t know that I would have so many summits under my belt by September. I didn’t know I would go skydiving with my big sister, or that she and I would go to Seattle together to see my brother.  I didn’t know that my brother and I would talk on the phone for a whole hour, just discussing life.  I didn’t know that I would hear so many wonderful stories from strangers.  I didn’t know I’d feel so much love when I visited my aunt and uncle.  I didn’t know I’d have an encounter with three bears.  I didn’t know how much I would enjoy writing about all of this.  I didn’t know that my cheap $70 phone would take such happy pictures, or make such fun videos, or help enhance my story telling so much.  I didn’t know anything, I didn’t expect anything, and I have been so pleasantly surprised!  It’s true that some days I feel so down and terrible and sad that I can hardly stand it…but by the same token, other days I feel so elated and free that I can hardly stand it.  That’s just how it goes, that’s just the nature of life, it’s just the nature of emotion, and it is dazzling and perfect that way…like the peaks and the valleys of the mountain ranges I have become so fond of over the years!




  1. a natural instinctive state of mind deriving from one’s circumstances, mood, or relationships with others.

“she was attempting to control her emotions”


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