Summer has really started cranking, with temperatures climbing into the high 80s and 90s every day. Now that he works from home, Beat better understands the oppression of indoor temperatures in the 80s, and trying in vain to extract creative productivity from the haze. He went so far as to finally fix the house's ancient air conditioner, in this, our fifth summer in Colorado. But that didn't happen until this week. Last week was a full immersion in heat training.
Given my proclivity for extremes, one might think I'd enjoy a little more "spicy" in my endeavors. But I don't. Believe me, I'm trying. Willingness and ability to venture away from beaten paths opens up so many incredible places. This is Beat's joy. Since we're sticking close to home this summer, he's taken advantage of the opportunity to explore new routes from home. His latest discovery was a loop tracing the shoreline of Gross Reservoir and then climbing Twin Sister's Peak. The route sounded benign enough. I asked him how much bushwhacking — because my grass allergy will cause me so much grief if I venture off-trail in shorts.
"Hardly any," he replied.
He failed to mention the traverse of steep slopes along a loose and chundery social trail, or the scrambling along rocky outcroppings over water that was just deep enough to mask piles of boulders, but not so deep as to cushion a fall into them. It was slow and awkward travel, and I grew frustrated. When we first ventured beyond the established trail, I speculated that "this is going to be one of those eight-mile runs that takes three hours."
"No, not at all," Beat replied. Then mile two clocked in at 75 minutes.
"No way," I fired back. "If we're going to suffer through the shitty part, at least we should do the fun part."
I think Beat was a little hurt by my surliness, but, as I mentioned earlier, this is a "thing" for me right now. I'm struggling with proprioception again. It's hard to explain to folks who never feel "off-kilter" themselves, but I liken it to driving a car with one flat tire. There's an awkwardness I can't quite pinpoint. My body doesn't move in sync with my mind. It does the repetitive stuff, the pedaling and running, just fine. But specialized movements, such as balancing on boulders, set off alarms. And I've been making mistakes. I rolled my ankle badly when I was hiking with Wendy on Monday. It essentially turned all the way inward, and I'm amazed it didn't cause more damage — something I chalk up to what I believe to be already-damaged-beyond-repair ligaments — but for the next few days it felt sore and especially wobbly.
But, my bad ankle did get through the reservoir adventure without incident. And Beat and I enjoyed a fantastic evening summit on Twin Sisters. It had been 89 degrees when we set out at 4:30, but with the wind cranking at least 40 mph, the peak felt almost chilly. We soaked it in for as many minutes as we could brace ourselves against the gusts, knowing we were heading back to our 80-degree house.
I ventured toward some towers on a knoll to better view the scenery of Mount Massive wilderness and the Sawatch Range. The eastern face of the Continental Divide is often so much more dramatic than the western side.
But there was plenty still to discover tomorrow.