June 26 2007
up this morning. Elves had crawled inside my head and were
blacksmithing my skull while their pixie brethren were twisting my
optic nerve like a tourniquet. Felt like a hangover and it
probably was, although unexpected. Two glasses of wine and a
scotch, throw in high altitude and the attendant dehydration and the
Hair 'O The Dog is looking like a mighty good idea.
Given our plans for the day -- climbing -- a wee nip of the John Barleycorn at 6:30 in the morning didn't seem like a terribly good idea. I'm a coffee man; a couple of cups of Java would do the trick.
Crawl out of bed, open the door and .... no coffee. We'd forgotten to put our order in the previous night. Dang.
This was just a taste of things to come.
Kelly ready and willing for a full day at Kid Camp. Pony riding, swimming (if the weather warmed), arts and crafts and an afternoon hike. She'd made friends with Rachael and Allison (twins, age 5) and Colin (age 4) along with practically everyone else at The Ranch. Wherever we went, folks would wave say: "Hi Kelly". Child would beam.
Mom and Dad were set for a day on the rock. The beta we'd received from the climbers amongst the staff (everyone out here either climbs or know someone who does; unlike back East where it's considered a fringe sport of the lunatic variety) was that the Ironclads had a surfeit of quality routes albeit short (30 to 50 feet), close drive time and a reasonable approach.
We found the correct dirt road, parked, hoisted our packs and started hiking. We marched over dusty, dirty, rutted motorcycle trails searching for the correct right-hand tributary. A couple on ATVs in the lot assured us it was "the second one", although after roaring past, then back, informed us that they weren't sure and that they'd "gotten lost".
Lost indeed. The guidebook had a surfeit of ambiguity. The author assumed that most of the approach would be done by 4WD or other off road vehicle (we have a Toyota Corolla) and ticks off the way points in miles. As hikers we had no way to measure mileage and visual landmarks were useless. Items such as trees (many), dips in the road (we were the only dips on that road) and "shot up trailers" (removed) provided only frustration. After two and a half hours of traipsing around in the woods on the dozens of ATV tributaries, we gave up. In this part of Colorado there's nothing but 30 to 50 foot outcroppings of rock and none of them had bolts (a few were bouldering caves as evidenced by the chalked holds).
The sky was gray and gloomy as was our mood. I was convinced that the cliffs didn't exist, that they were just legend like Nessie or Sasquatch. No one we spoke to had actually climbed said rocks, just knew someone who had.
To salvage the day we drove over to Lily Lake (scene of our short hiked on Sunday) to dope out the approach to Jurassic Park (crags high above the lake).
Upon arrival, but who do we see? Kelly and her Kid Camp troupe setting up for their own hike! Only a parent can understand the sublime joy at seeing their offspring at play, unobserved. Her gestures, expressions and head tilts as she took charge of the crew were priceless.
She eventually saw us, much joy was exchanged as were hugs and kisses. She went her way (counterclockwise around the lake) and we, ours (clockwise and toward the cliffs).
Eighty percent of the way up the hill it started to rain. Slight drizzle, but once the thunder began we made haste for the low country. Zeus's temper is not one to cross.
Back at the cabin, Kelly covered and laid herself upon the floor and could not be roused for 90 minutes, such was her fatigue. A Grand Day for Little Girl.
Dinner choices were either tuna or duck. I chose duck and Mommy and Child, the tuna. Rice, and a veg accompanied. Desert was strawberry shortcake, which bemused child to no end. Strawberries speak to her as the angles to do a saint. No accompaniment is needed.
Magic and comedy provided by Scott McCray after dinner. Talented and very funny guy who works well with the kids. (Sorry, couldn't find a web page).
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