Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Conundrum


So just in case anyone's wondering why I've been AWOL for a bit, it's because I have been totally and blissfully removed from all forms of modern human communication (cellphone, IM, email) and instead have been wandering around up in the mountains, relying on old-fashioned forms of communication (talking, signal fires, and nonverbal cues such as raised eyebrows or a slap across the face).

Last Friday I went up to Aspen to meet up with one of my oldest friends, Kristi, who is a doctor in Salt Lake. I took the hippievan up there and let me tell you -- getting over mountain passes in a van with the same aerodynamic shape as a wall of brick and an "engine" that's comprised of a starving mouse on an exercise wheel does not for a fun trip make. I saw an old lady with a walker pass me. She had polio.

ANYWAY, my sweaty palms and roiling stomach as I crept along in second gear ON AN INTERSTATE were totally made up for during this trip. Kristi brought her boyfriend, of whom I'm a big fan, and two other friends of theirs I had never met before. Somehow the entire group had this amazing instant chemistry (or was it just that we were all sharing the same Scotch...) and our boisterous revelries threatened to scare away anyone within a half-mile range around us. It was a riot.

Conundrum Hot Springs are located at the end of a 10-mile trek straight up a bunch of big mountains, through which you must carry all your stuff (tents, bags, food, stoves, BOOZE, naturally). This means we were carrying bags that had to weigh a good forty pounds, which has left me wondering upon my return how I could have hiked around 25 miles in three days carrying 40 pounds on my back and have GAINED THREE POUNDS. What the hell, people! This is why people find my blog by searching for the term "getting fat," apparently.

But back to the matter at hand. Conundrum is the most amazing, beautiful hike I've done outside of Yosemite. Photographic evidence to follow, but of course it doesn't do it justice and, for some reason, all the shots are blown out. (Boo!) Suffice it to say there was no shortage of massive fields of wildflowers, shooting stars, cold cold mountain streams, massive, colorful mountain peaks, hot springs, and weird looking woodland creatures that alternately delighted me and froke me out. As icing, there were still snowfields at the top of the mountain which meant...snowball fights in July.

I can't tell you what an amazing feeling it is to shrug off a forty-pound pack, shed your clothes, and hop into a huge hot spring pool at the top of a mountain. The air is cold, the water is hotter than a hot tub, and there are more stars than you've ever seen in your life.

As such, I have absolutely NOTHING to bitch about in this post (ok, fine, except for the wimpy van and my ever-expanding ass). But seriously, it was one of the finest weekends I've had in ages, and I'll hold onto the memory forever. Like I said, these pictures don't do it justice (and there are none of me or anyone else topless, so no worries there), but if you ever make it to Colorado and need an excellent hike in July, make it Conundrum.

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