Beginning of Priest Gulch Trailhead - Photo by Tom Harris
I know until now I have only been posting poetry on my blog, but thought some of you may be interested to read of our little adventure...
Our first full day in beautiful Colorado John and I woke before dawn after a giant thunderstorm with much rain. We wanted to get an early start to our hike. We took an over 5 mile loop trail called “Priest’s Gulch” in the San Juan National Forest. Starting at over 8000 ft. above sea level, in the first half of the hike, we climbed over 3000 feet in elevation through a series of switchbacks, ending up at a beautiful alpine meadow - the midpoint. We walked through a forest of Ponderosa Pine, Blue Spruce, and Quaking Aspen, whose leaves were just beginning their autumn turning. Lovely and delicate fall flowers were everywhere, from Queen Anne’s Lace and Rocky Mountain Daisy, to the delicate little lupine we call “Fairycaps” in a deep purple and red with pink spots. Woodpeckers, Blue Jay and Magpies kept us company, and until we were within the last mile we had the trail to ourselves.
Heading out, John let me lead, saying that he wanted me to not feel rushed and to go at my own pace. As we climbed higher and higher into the forest I came to realize that he wanted me in the lead so if we happened upon a bear, I would be closer and it could eat me first!
On the second leg of the hike we crossed two creeks, balancing precariously on rocks above the rushing water, and steep downhill legs that were quite muddy. Here I let John take the lead as I figured if I fell, I would roll into him and he could catch me!
Three hours later we made it back to our campground, nestled against the lovely Dolores River, (Spanish for “Mother of Sorrows“) safe and sound and very tired, where our pups waited patiently in our camp trailer. We congratulated each other on still being able (in our 50’s) to complete this trail without medical intervention. All in all a very satisfying first day. For dinner, grass fed beef rib-eyes and local Olathe sweet corn…..