For the past few days we have had the good fortune to stay with friends near the Rocky Mountains. An amazing landscape of mind boggling size and eye-popping beauty.
First port of call was Boulder to visit Levi, Sarah and bunny #3 who is expected to make her appearance on Halloween. Also visiting them were Dominique and Patrice, two Swiss guys I met in 2003. As is tradition when I visit Boulder, Levi took me rock climbing and I was left shaking with fear/adrenaline. We didn’t climb all that high, but with no ropes or soft ground to soften the blow, even a 30ft drop could put a serious dent in my head. Dom and Pat wisely stayed below.
The next day we drove to Rocky Mountain National Park and tried to see moose. We did see elk, lots of them, but the moose were more elusive (eloosive?). What we also saw was a stunning set of peaks frosted with snow from the same storm that had dumped over 2 inches of rain on Boulder the day before, and taught us that the truck is not waterproof. I threw a couple of snowballs at Tania just because I could, but all she’d do was dodge them and refused to return fire.
Good food and good company, along with a many rounds of shoot-em-up games on the big screen and I felt right at home. Eventually though we had to move on. As sad as it was to leave I was also excited to be heading towards a place I have heard so much about but I doubt any of you would recognise it. Crested Butte (that’s pronounced “beaut” by the way) is home to Angelhair and Rigatoni with whom I walked most of Oregon and Washington last year. Lucky Joe was there a lot too but he’s in California now so his truck took his place in the reunion. The quiet little mountain town is everything I’d imagined. Walking or riding your bike is the norm, traffic is slow, shops feature local artists’ work, and there were a pile of kids’ bikes outside the small library. The Noodleheads, the correct collective noun for our hosts, showed us around town and their house at the train depot. That night Larry Keal and his band were playing in the garden and we got our first Bluegrass experience. It was the best setting for it with a soft grass seating and relaxed locals.
Before reading on take a guess at what you think is the largest living organism on earth.
Unless you thought the aspen grove just west of Crested Butte you’d be wrong. I don’t know quite how big it is but with all the roots connected across miles and miles of hillsides it is one humungous things, so Tania and I went for a walk in it. More live music that night, first the final of the free Wednesday concerts at the skifield, then Rigatoni and his friend Pierce played at The Princess bar. He played us out with “My home is on my back” in tribute to our PCT days.
Shortly before midnight, just as I was getting into a deep sleep, there came a strange rumbling sound from Tania’s side of the combi-van we were sleeping in. I thought she’d had too much hot chocolate, but she thought it was me. When we’d established it was neither of us I started digging under the bed for the bottle of engine coolant Rigatoni had replaced there earlier. I found it, and a remote controlled speaker with an Off switch which I used before waving up at the Noodleheads’ window incase they were up there watching :)