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Traveling, living, loving, exploring and trying to make some semblance of sense out of this crazy world.  


Monday, October 1, 2012

Colorado Rockin'

We've spent our time well...

While the job and housing market seems filled with false promises and scams, the mountains of Colorado are all that you want, and so much more.

Eight days in Colorado's 11 Mile Canyon, with frosty mornings over steaming mugs of coffee and huevos rancheros, "strolls" that turned into three hour adventures through third, fourth and fifth class terrain, from one canyon rim to the other, crags we couldn't find in the guide book that turned out to be better.  Campers and fishermen and tourists came and went around us; some good, some not so good, some ciphers without interpretation.

They were not our focus.

Noisy jaybirds woke us with loud insistent cries every morning at dawn, usually followed by the long burring bark of the squirrels, and the scampering of our personal trio of adolescent chipmunks. 

We crawled from warm sleeping bags into the frigid air and struggled outside for rapid walks to the jakes, then coffee and a smoke, wandering through camp, peering at the tracks in the sand, a tale of the night visitors.  Coyote, certainly, and fox, and then here, on a high shelf, a single bobcat print.  Further up the wash, broad impressions in the grass and fine sand mark the bear's crossing, and a night that he did not wander through our camp.

Out of the eight days and nights we spent in the canyon, we climbed five, usually from mid-morning into hot afternoons broken by the occasional rain or thunderstorm, mostly arriving at camp dry in time to hear the first drops on the tarp. 

An unknown 5.9+ "sport" route on Springer Gulch Wall, nicely shaded from the afternoon sun.  The line takes the column right to a slightly runout bolt above the roof,  with a heady traverse up left to amazing holds right when you need them and anchors.
This is the line left, which felt like 10-.  It goes directly up the face on quality rock from an overhanging start on friable holds, then puts you right under a free-floating 4-foot death block, which you can climb directly over without touching (exciting and engaging) or avoid to the left (a bit technical and slick but incredible hands, followed by a cruise all the way to the anchors).
On two of those days, we ignored lowering clouds and even a steady spritzing of rain to climb a wonderful little (100') wall about twenty minutes' hike from camp.




On the way back to camp...


...we found a lovely little boulder garden.


Of course, after all that, we had to go back.

Never did find out what any of this was called... nothing on any websites or in any guides I've found so far.  But it was fun, secluded, beautiful, as challenging or as moderate as you wanted to make it, and a short, easy ramble from camp.


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