Saturday, July 8, 2017

losing Denver

On Monday, Chaco talked me into climbing another 14er.  His secret plan was to actually climb two, but that wasn't revealed to me until I was already committed.

Mt. Belford is one of the Collegiate Peaks of the Sawatch range, sitting among Harvard, Yale, Princeton, etc....  I'd never heard of Belford University before.  Apparently it's in Texas.

Yet another pic with cardboard and the hat
Not far from Mt. Belford is Mt. Oxford.  Nice to have a prestigious Brit university among the crowd.  It's a bit of a steep ridge to get down from Belford toward Oxford, but nothing I hadn't done as a kid, before I had much sense.

Some clouds were moving in, but they looked to be blowing away from us, so Chaco had talked me into making the extra trek to Oxford.   Once on the summit, we found a couple of canisters held to the rocks with cables and containing logs we could sign.

Checking out the register on top of Mt. Oxford

As we sat and scarfed some snack sustenance for the descent, another hiker joined us.  I was beginning to wonder why we were the only ones there, so with this guy, I was able to stop wondering.   We had seen him on Belford where he'd asked if we'd seen his buddy, who was wearing a huge backpack, and was easy to spot and remember.  We told this guy (never got his name) where we'd last seen Backpack guy.  

Apparently, when Backpack guy arrived at Belford, he was less than thrilled to continue on to Oxford, what with that big old backpack and all.   So Denver (let's just call the guy "Denver" since that's where he was from) decided to hike to Oxford by himself, then rejoin the buddy on the way back (gotta go back to Belford to get down).

Chaco'd made a sign for Oxford too, complete with date.
How could I say, no?
It was quite windy and some new clouds were gathering, so we thought we'd better get going.  Denver asked if he could join us back across the ridge as it was kind of hairy in the wind.

Chaco took the lead with me close behind and Denver right behind me.  We could see a big cloud moving our way with the wind.  The cloud filled in the whole valley as we looked over the edge of the trail. Then it covered us and became fog instead of a cloud.

Right?  Fog is a cloud that you're in??

Anyway, the fog was very cool and a bit surreal and spit graupel at us.  I was glad I'd bothered to carry my windbreaker and put it on atop Oxford.  As we made it back to the summit of Belford, I looked back for Denver - the guy, not the city.  Didn't see him.  Where'd he go??

I wasn't really that worried about him as he is probably in his mid 20s and seemingly quite fit.  During our conversation, he'd told us that Oxford was his 18th fourteener, so this is something he does regularly.

But we never saw him again.  And I'm still wondering.


Linda Hensley said...

Congrats on all your climbing! Somehow hiking my dog up a hill feels a little less remarkable though. I agree with your fashion thoughts, though I tend to think the hair color is just fun for fun. It's just dead protein. And thanks for teaching me a new word. I've experienced graupel before, I just didn't have a word for it.

Jimmy said...

Knocking them out two at a time you will have all the fourteeners taken care of before long, nice going.

Strange for Denver to disappear like that, I'd be wondering too.

Abby said...

I agree, the pastel hair is probably for fun, and not permanent. Just not on my head, thanks. I'd experienced graupel before too, but only recently learned its name, so I was able to say, "Hey, it's graupeling!"

Abby said...

Well, I don't plan to get all the fourteeners. Some require ice axes and helmets, and I'm not going there!
I did look back just as the fog was rolling in. Denver was still back there, maybe taking a little rest and bundling his jacket a little tighter. I'm sure he's fine and later probably complained about us abandoning him in the graupel.

Marcy said...

Great climbing report, and I learned a new word too :)

I guess you had to keep hiking after the second sign was made and all

ShadowRun300 said...

Sheesh! Knockin' em out left and right. You go Girl!
But the fog and the graupel sound a bit scary, and now I'm worried about Denver. Hopefully he made it down safely.

Abby said...

Yes, the sign. And I didn't want to climb Belfort AGAIN to get to Oxford!

Abby said...

We could see the cloud moving in, and it was a friendly cloud with sunshine behind it :)
I'm sure Denver made it back. Maybe he felt we needed some drama?

Larz said...

Yeah! You're checking them off. I've been slacking on my 14er-ing. I really did love Belford though. It's such a pretty hike. Didn't make it to Oxford that day due to a fast moving storm. I guess that means I get to try again.

Abby said...

I'm just discovering "14er-ing", each mountain is so unique. Belford was beautiful. We climbed Yale on Sunday - gorgeous!
Your Oxford awaits! Don't forget to sign the log :)