Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Monitor Pass - July 2012

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Getting the Lady on the Mend

We could see the cell tower at the top of 395’s Conway Summit. It was Saturday night and we were high on the northern lateral moraine coming out of the Virginia Lakes cirque, Ted’s camp below Dunderburg Peak. Should we try giving them a call, the Teds, and tell them where we were? It would be fun. They didn’t answer. We left a message. Early in the week there was an email from Ted. They had gotten our message. It was fun.

Ted mentioned they were going to escape the Sacramento Valley heat the coming weekend either to Burnside Lake or up to Monitor Pass. “Do you think they would mind?” the Lady asked after I read Ted’s note to her. We sent a note back. We asked if we could join them but acknowledged we may be horning in, maybe this was a private trip, please be frank if we were out of line. Whew, they said they would like us to join up.

We were ahead of them; we met up as we were coming out from Burnside. A large group of young people had tents all along the Lake. It was a party complete with a large campfire up against a boulder. The Lady firmly asked if they had missed all the signs announcing fire restrictions and no campfires. Getting, in rapid fire, the same kinds of excuses she does not tolerate from her middle school students, the Lady’s patience was gone. They promised to get right at putting the fire out. Yes, they had seen all the signs.

Monitor Pass looked like the better destination.

We set up at the Teds’ preferred Monitor campsite. The screen of aspen was a perfect wind break.

It was a glorious evening with a pleasant temperature, the company just as pleasant.

We discovered that the next day, Saturday, was the famed Death Ride bicycle event. Highway 89 would be closed from 5 am until noon.

The Lady is recovering from her recent knee surgery, slowly and carefully doing more and more with it. We had just gotten her a set of trekking poles as an aid to balance and weighting on more varied terrain. Saturday morning we decided to take an easy walk up to the lookout on Leviathan Peak and watch the bicyclists along the way.

We figured it was about a mile and a half to the top. (The Teds will be surprised by this – I just ran the route on my Topo program. One way distance was 3.8 miles to the lookout.) We were in no hurry. The weather was great and the Lady was getting in some easy exercise for her knee.

Part of our route was along highway 89. It was nice to have it closed to vehicles. The girls were ahead talking. Ted and I were a bit behind. Ted was proving to be an incredible gentleman. He would chat up every woman athlete that passed us. He would ask how they were doing, did they need anything, and remark what a wonderful day it was for a bike ride. I took note and tried my hand at it also. I couldn’t hold a candle to Ted. He is a gentleman.

Chatting, watching for birds and wildlife, and just enjoying being outdoors, we were soon up on top.

We ambled back to camp and snacked and relaxed. The Teds retired for an afternoon nap. The Lady was feeling great and wanted to do a slow walk down to the meadow below us. We set out and soon discovered it was still springtime at this high elevation.

The two track drops through a grove of aspen and then opens up into the meadow.

Back up near the top we got a nice view of our camp.

It was another great evening. We shared stories and the Teds filled us in on their upcoming Alaska trip plans. Ted even recited some poetry for us. Too soon it was time to turn in. The next morning dawned with the wind completely calm.

Ted wanted to check out some nearby campsites……….

And then it was time for his breakfast.

The Lady was ready to go for another morning walk.

The Teds led the way.

We found old artwork on the aspens.

It was time for us to head our separate ways home. It had been a peaceful, relaxing weekend getaway, just what we all needed.

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