Monday, July 29, 2019

Denver 2018 day 14 Rocky Mountain Uphill Cli (mb)

August 9, 2018

Another artsy-fartsy photo intro by Anabelle. She really gained an eye for that stuff.
Sadly, my largeness blocking the sun trying to take a picture of her taking a picture threw off her composition.

Awakening and preparing were a bit on the slow side following the long drive and Rock Climbing aftershocks from the day before.  We packed sandwiches and drove up a twisty road through farm country to reach Mount Falcon Park.

The parking lot contained multiple vans labeled AVID 4 ADVENTURE from our home state of New Jersey. The vans contained a squadron of teenagers and their bicycles.  They left us behind fairly rapidly thanks to their speed and our choices of non-rideable trails for the majority of the day. Due to having no desire to deal with a mob unleashed on the wilderness in the middle of puberty, that worked out fine.

There were two interesting sites in the parking lot, the first being what appeared to be a giant Jerboa hopping across the lot.  The second was a single sneaker left behind right at the trailhead.  The three of us tried constructing valid reasons for discarding what appeared to be a perfectly healthy shoe at the start, or near finish of a hike.  None of them that didn’t employ the phrase “partake in the local herbs” made much sense.
Although all of the park signs did have prominently displayed pictures of the local herb with a red line through it.  Paranoia and cliff edge trails don’t mix, kids!

The Castle Trail was a dirt road, similar to Waterton Canyon.  Blue Birds regularly taunted us along the way, and then flew off before we could focus our cameras.  Some views were pretty, but we passed through a bunch of forest graveyards. I guess whatever beetle has been wreaking havoc on trees around here is out west too.  Either that or a herd of circus Elephants got into the local herbs and developed a jungle level case of the munchies.

The Castle Trail was so named because it passed by some ruins that looked like a castle. What the introductory sign doesn't mention is they only look like a castle seen from a distance away, through the forest, with much squinting and imagination.  (Local herbs, people…local herbs.)

Lightning struck John Brisben Walker’s forest mansion in 1918 and obliterated all but a couple of fireplaces and stone columns. 
Calling it “Nice Views Through the Woods Trail” would have set our expectations better.

Looking down towards the parking lot Silvermist the Fabulous Monkey wasn’t waiting at provided a view of the back side of Red Rocks. Not nearly as funny as “The backside of water” but I’ll take what I can.

Next in order to see the “Summer White House Site” we followed the “Walker’s Dream” trail.  Once again, I questioned the Colorado Park Nomenclature Department not knowing about John Brisben Walker or his history until we reached the top.
I was interested to meet these walkers who dreamt of battling their way up a sun baked, rocky and root covered mountain in order to see a three foot wall with a dated cornerstone, some concrete and marble rubble. 

There was a small plaque explaining the guy in the lightning struck house wanted to build a mansion for the President in the middle of what, in 1911, was a barely accessible undeveloped mountain top forest. Those local herbs have a long history.

After taking pictures of the gorgeous scenery, which once again should have been the selling point, or “dream” of the trail, we battled our way back down and settled under a gazebo where several trails met. 

We used the foil that had wrapped our sandwiches to fasten everything down to the tables against the mountain top winds. Then we had a nice picnic lunch together.

We decided to work our way back…

Okay, I decided, Rosa thought it was a good idea, and Anabelle in a fit of teenagerness grudgingly agreed…

To work our way back using a longer route to see different sights.

The Meadow Trail was, for a change, properly named.  We passed through large lush fields, where I drove my child insane constantly saying, “The Medoooooow,” in a way that mimicked both Bambi and Weird Al’s Peter and the Wolf.
Then again, she couldn’t walk more than three feet without pointing to, or photographing the tuft on top of the long brown grass and yelling, "HE-EY! There.”

Rosa almost immediately reached the point where she was ready to bludgeon us to death with her camera equipment and bury us in “The Medoooooow” underneath the “HE-EY! There.”

There was a fork that led to a side trail that I kept referring to as “The Devil’s Nostril” or random other bizarre body parts.  If it wasn’t as mundane as “Elbow” I might have gotten us to explore it. 

Instead we branched off again to take the “Tower Trail” because of the multiple little brown squares on the map indicating stuff to see.  There was no chance of getting them to try the longer “difficult” rated Parmalee Trail that wound through the woods and cliffs. I believe my constantly crying “WILDERNESS!!!” when referring to it didn't help my case.

Looking back, I think I may have had dehydration induced delirium on this hike.  I’m amazed I made it back in one piece. Proof reading this, I would have pushed me off a ledge.

To show I wasn’t completely alone however, Anabelle focused her phone on a moss covered rock so she could say, “I'm lichen this picture.”

The Tower Trail was another adventure in rock and root covered upness. It brought us to the actual apex of Mount Falcon, which should have been written in much larger letters next to the brown squares.   After the previous names, we didn’t trust it.  Not only that, but at the highest point of the Tower Trail was, amazingly, A TOWER!

We stayed in it for a while, soaking in the majesty of the views across the wooded valley. 
We also watched a parachutist for a while to see if he’d smack into any trees or mountains.
Life isn’t all about majesty.

After watching the far too competent to provide comedy material guy and a Hawk (YAY NATURE!) we came down from the tower.  Exploring around some of the rocks on the opposite side from where we battled our way up the mountain, we found stairs.

How about that?

The Tower Trail then brought us to a well and small cliff side cabin with more breathtaking views of the surrounding valleys, mountains and woodlands. 

We really should have went this way first, instead of having its breathtakingness augmented by how much of our breath was taken away by hiking through multiple sections of the park beforehand. 
Rested, filled with the views, and bored with the awesomely shiny blue fly on my arm, we worked our way back onto the Meadow Trail, goofy Bambi and Al references returning for an annoying encore.

From the cabin, we could see the trail head where we started, including a bright and shiny building, flashing like a beacon through the wilderness.  (WILDERNESS!!!!)

It was a solar powered toilet.

Once again, life isn’t all about majesty.

Since we ate in the park, and saner members of my family informed me that El Rancho Bison Burgers do not count as dessert, we drove down the mountain to Yogurtland.

This is not, as one would expect from most of our vacations, a theme park.  Rather it is the source of the myriad pastel colored spoons in our silverware drawer that magically appeared after Rosa and Anabelle went to Colorado without me on a previous journey.

I made sure to read all the cool and varied flavor descriptions and place only the fat free and sugar free varieties in my dish. That made me feel marginally less guilty for covering it with cookies and chocolate candy.

On the way home a phone call prompted us to detour to the "Shear Perfection" hair salon. Titi Luzma and Abuelita were finishing up their appointments.  Rosa and Anabelle had been squeezed in after some on again, off again attempts over the trip.  I had my Norse Mythology book with me, because I knew this vacation.

Anabelle was happy to get her hair done and with how it came out…which means the yogurt must have been really good.

In a true demonstration of Coloradoness, next to the hair place were a Mexican restaurant, gun store, and second hand Lego shop.

Anabelle and I only went to the Lego shop while the rest of the gang went home.  Mostly, it was cool to see all the big kits assembled. Anabelle went over to the minifigure assembly section and created Telesa for her village.  She’s a blue haired FBI agent with an axe. I’m stunned her village lasted that long without one. 
Sadly, with all the set and figures for sale there, we could not find out what the return on investment for Corn Man was.

Another tasty Bison burger, brat and *insert word that means hot dog but starts with “b”* barbecue met us at home.

We continued the attempt of converting Titi Luzma to like horror movies with the gradual transition of Ghostbusters.  Considering its rare a day passes where I don't quote it multiple times, it’s always a treat to introduce someone else to it.

The night ended, yet again, with some basement Doctor Who Uno.

Anabelle and I both had weird dreams. One dreamt that Peter Capaldi was their history teacher. The other had a tornado dream with multiple layers of waking up within itself.

If I didn't suck at note taking, I’d know who had what.

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