Friday, November 23, 2007

Journal Entry One

The First Badass Journal of Summertime in the Mountains

Journal: Entry One; First Summer Hike

Hiking to Interlaken, Jacque, Jazz, Liz, Nicky
Jazz, Jacque, and I took their nine year old grandson Nicky on a three mile hike beside a beautiful large mountain lake. This lake, Twin Lakes, is an old glacier that years ago got stuck between mountain peaks and came to rest here. After many years of melting; the glacier transformed in a lake. One of the “14er’s”, mountains taller than fourteen thousand feet, named Mt. Massive is at the head of this lake. This hike is found just before the dam off Hwy. 82 that goes over Independence Pass to Aspen. Nestled at the end of this hike is an old resort named Interlaken. It has several buildings that are over one hundred years old. This resort was here for the wealthy mining families to go on summer vacations. The pictures here tell a story of life with dancing, eating, playing games, and lots of social interaction. I can almost hear the laughter and merriment that was done here each time I hike to it. By 1885 this area was booming tourist area for the rich silver miners. James V. Dexter, a Denver-Leadville mining magnate, purchased the original hotel where Interlaken now sits. This resort became a favorite boating, fishing and hunting spot. They provided a log tavern, pool hall, and sheds to house guests and their horses. Dexter, prior to owning this resort, had been a seaman. His experience at sea is noticed in the private cabin which was constructed in the mid-1890’s. This cabin has a glass enclosed cupola that sits at the very top.

The cabin has been recently renovated and on certain days you may climb the narrow wooden staircase to view the mountains and lake in all directions. The stair banister is old cherry wood that has been worn to a sharp, smooth shine from all the various hands that held to it as they climbed. This hike makes for an incredibly picturesque day of hiking. I must admit I was skeptical of Nicky going on a hike as it is my experience that boys this age are just whiney and lazy. But Nicky proved me wrong in that the only thing that had him bothered was at the beginning his “butt” day pack would not stay in place. So he decided his “butt” pack should actually be a “hip” pack. After he replaced the pack accordingly on his hip instead, he did a beautiful job of hiking with the adults.
Nicky found a baby mouse and proceeded to name him Gerard after my husband because he was not there. Nicky had bonded with Gerard during a previous outing, so he was upset that Gerard was not on the hike this time.
Therefore the baby mouse was named Gerard. This was a very small grey baby mouse probably no more than two inches from his beady eyes to the tip of his tail.
Nicky placed the baby on his head and covered it with his orange” Little E” cap. The mouse had an adventure with us to Interlaken and back to his mother where Nicky first picked him up. I told Nicky that the mouse probably had a heart attack and died since some giant human hand had reached down and plucked him off the forest floor where he was living.

The baby mouse really looked dead until Nicky poked at him sitting in his palm and Gerard tried to walk around. So we decided that he was just a baby mouse playing opossum under Nicky’s orange “Little E” cap.
We then saw the osprey nest we had been in search for and the real reason why we decided to do this hike anyway. At the tip of one of the points of Twin Lakes is a huge osprey nest that is probably 3ftx3ftx3ft. We have been observing two parents nest here for several years. It is always a treat to see the mother and father osprey, wing span of about 6 feet, dark feathers on top and when they fly the undercarriage is white. Their eyes are ringed with black and they have the hooked beak of a raptor.
One year we saw the babies perched on the edge of this massive nest and squawking loudly for their parents to hurry and bring food.
They were furry, downy creatures and it made me teary eyed to witness such raw nature first hand.
One of our friends, who had done this hike a few weeks earlier, had informed us that the nest was gone, but we did not believe her and had to see for our selves. I got a big hug from Jacque when he first spotted the parents this year at the nest where we knew they should be.
This is one of the things I like most about Jacque is he gives wonderful hugs. He is a very tall man and wears size 15 shoes. One has a feeling of safety and security with his hugs, which he is generous about giving.

I left this group, after we shared a reward of ice cream cones sitting on the porch of the local diner, open only in the summer months. In the winter they close because they sit at the base of the Independence Pass which goes to Aspen. This pass closes each winter because of snow and so do the stores and diners found at the base of the mountain range there. I always wonder what the owners and employees do in the winter months.
Do they make enough money in those very short warm months to be able to pay their bills for the whole year or do they work a different job somewhere else in the winter?
I wonder what it would be like to have a job that you know upon taking it will only last about the five warm months of summer.
I had an appointment with an acquaintance who is a chiropractor. We sometimes play golf with him in the summer and his office was near the hike.
I like him because even though he is a relatively young man, around 49 years old, he practiced like an old fashioned chiropractor. He likes to manipulate the whole spine each time he does an adjustment for you. This makes sense to me.
If you just manipulate one section of the spine, then doesn’t that just throw the rest of the spinal column out of whack, which is what we are trying to fix in the first place? Anyway this guy, Dr. Spark, had been going through a horrendous divorce. I have known this for a year as he shared with us during a round of golf last year that he was contemplating a divorce and he just proceeded from there.

This day he told me in his office, that the prior week his ex-wife to be, came out to his house, threw herself on him outside in the yard, wrapped both her legs around his waist and tried to kiss him on the lips. He then threw her on the ground and went into his house. Not too much later the police arrived and arrested him for assault and battery.
He spent two nights in the local jail. A few days after that, a mother and her seven year old daughter were in his office. The daughter wanted to play with his dog, Gracie, who was always at the office with him. Gracie is a lovely grey Yorkshire terrier. She has always minded her manners every time I have seen her at his office.
He said the girl could pet Gracie if she was careful. Gracie is 11 years old and he had a patient so he could not stand and watch the child. So while Dr. Spark was manipulating someone’s spine, Gracie bit the girl.
She bit the girl in the eye and damaged her tear ducts. Dr. Spark then told me that if his liability insurance says he was liable, then the seventeen thousand dollars required to fix the girls eye would be fully paid.
If the insurance company does not see him as liable then they only pay ten thousand dollars and he will have to pay the additional seven thousand dollars personally. I knew he had been hard to find on the telephone. I was beginning to understand why now. These stories were so absurd. I made an appointment with him for next week and wished him well. Just hearing about his escapades made my day brighter.

I drove home in my open air jeep, following the Arkansas River which winds beside the road. There is a small family of big horn sheep that I usually see on the smaller range of mountains called the Mosquito Range to the east of the river. I am always looking for wild life in the summer. You never know what you might see and I have become very adept at spotting wild life. So at the highest rocky peak, about nine thousand feet high and not far from the road, I spotted one of the large big horn sheep standing.
He was silhouetted and looked like he was the King of the Mountain, and actually at this time he really was. He was looking down over the road and river and just surveying his domain. Another beautiful sight, on an ordinary day, in the Summertime Mountains.

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