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Weather, 'Tis Nobler In The Mind


Taylor Reservoir, Colorado

Well, here's Bob. Webless in Paradise, once again.

I haven't been up in this country for 20 years or so. I am surprised to find most of the road paved. Lakeview Campground, which wasn't here before, has electric service for $16 a night. It is well named, for the view of the lake and the Collegiate Peaks beyond is unsurpassed. The campground is arranged in tiers up a hillside, much like an outdoor IMAX.

It is cold and rainy. I was met with a short slushy burst of small hail as I entered the campground. 50 degrees, some wind. At one time this place held the record for the coldest temperature ever recorded in the US. This was before Alaska entered the picture. A high pressure node moved into the mountains and stayed for something like two months. Every day the temperature fell to a new low. Ordinary thermometers broke. Mules died. Miners were driven off their claims. Finally reached something like -50 degrees F. They had a poster up about it somewhere, last time I was here. Up in Tincup, the ghost town, I think. I'll probably find it tomorrow, unless it has disapparated.

I actually like weather like this once in a while. It gives you a chance to stay inside, cook, read, relax, listen to the satellite radio. The view doesn't hurt. Every time I get up I feel confined. When I sit down, I am in the midst of miles and miles of miles and miles. Clouds float above the lake even with my eyes.

Brorrorrrrmmmmummnummnum. Neeee,neeeeen,nneeeeeeneeneenee. Brumble, brum, brum, brum. I'm telling you, the motorized nuisances have taken over much of the high country. They are everywhere, and you can hear them for miles. But mostly they fill the campgrounds, which some people think of as a swell place to throw up a tarp and tune up, holler at each other, try out the redline, have a little beery good natured NOISY fun.

You know, between the helmets, the jackets, the gloves, and the noise, these guys are completely sealed off from nature. I don't know why they come up here. They could have the same experience doing laps around a junkyard.

There's not a thing I can do about it, at least during the day. If I take an ax to one, there's 20 more right behind him. Besides, some of these fellows are as big as I am. They and I are looking for incompatible experiences up here, and we can't get away from each other. Maybe they'll get the damn thing fixed in a little while, and be off into the rain.

Taylor Reservoir is obviously down a bit from its normal fill line. But in general, Colorado is doing much better than this time last year. They finally got an above average snow last winter, most places. Blue Mesa was down 90 feet when I came through last fall, reduced to mud flats and a pitiful trickle down the middle. Now it's down only 45 feet, and looks somewhat like a lake again. Maybe the multiyear drought is over. Hope so.

When I get to Buena Vista, I've got to find another grease cup to fit the end of my axle. Lost it when I had the flat. The bearings are somewhat protected from dirt by a plastic cover and excess grease, but it's hardly sealed. Nothing could be done in Gunnison over the weekend.

Completely socked in this morning. Can't even see the lake, presumably right down there in front of me. I'm getting a little antsy and cooped up. I don't want to go through Cottonwood canyon without seeing it. And if I don't get some exercise pretty soon, I'm gonna lose it. First my back, now the weather. I think I'll take a blind walk in the fog. Maybe I'll stumble on a bear. That might liven things up. Nothing clarifies the mind like the sight of an animate hillock coming out of the fog, with beady red eyes and fangs dripping saliva.

I don't usually think of myself as locked into rituals. But danged if I'm not. I'm just not aware of them until things go awry. This morning, like every morning, I stumbled out of bed, put water on to boil, brushed my teeth, shaved, and stepped into the shower....oooops. Uh Oh. No hot water.

Pilot light blew out. So I drag on my jeans and go out into the white cold to light it. 40 degrees and a bit of wind. Now what? Probably be 10 minutes till it's hot. What 'll I do, what'll I do?

I come from pioneer stock. O how the mighty have fallen.

I cook up some biscuits and gravy, eat, drink coffee. Now my mind's awake, but my svelte cranky body still wants its shower. When I was putting biscuit rounds into the pan, I dropped one on the floor WHILE I WAS LOOKING AT IT IN MY HAND! What the bloody hell? Was I always this clumsy? If I climb Elbert, will I just walk off a cliff?

Then it came to me. My rituals were out of order. I hadn't had my shower yet. That's all. We mess with this stuff at our peril. Nothing will seem right until I get things back in synch.

See what I mean? Completely nuts. Time for that walk.

But first I gotta go take a shower.


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