Sunday, July 10, 2005

Got high yesterday..... 

I'm talking about elevation above sea level. Of course. What did you think I meant?

After seeing a friend's beautiful mountain pix of a recent trip, I got the irrepressible urge to head for the hills. Problem is, I have too much hand pain and fatigue to drive a solid hour to my favorite getaway spot. So I had to enlist Dan's help even though he is not fond of heights.

After a promise of lunch out, I got him to agree to drive me. He got to pick out the cassette tapes we brought along because we can't pick up radio in the mountains. And we did Starbucks on the way home.

It was a gorgeous day once we got out of the 90 plus degree heat of the city. And once we saw the foothills, I felt like I was on a mini vacation. Even Dan had to agree it was a nice break from the routine.

We made a few wrong turns as I was navigating from memory and I was foggy, but we never got lost. Dan gave me a dubious look, though, when we turned off the highway and onto a dirt road to get to a mountain pass he had never heard of. I've sent him down many a poorly maintained road in my time to his dismay.

He was convinced I was nuts, though, when I instructed him to turn onto a steep grade one-laner. My assurance that I had driven it myself many times when I was healthy didn't make him feel any better. The road leads to a pass that is 11,600 feet above sea level and is puntuated with a glacier and other gorgeous sights, but Dan was convinced the car was gonna meet its demise, so he insisted that we turn around before we'd even traveled a mile (we had another 10 or so to go).

I did get him to stop on a small shelf that served as a turnaround area. I got out with my 35mm camera and took pix of the snow-covered peaks behind us. There was more rainfall in the mountains than usual this year, so there were rare wildflowers for me to photograph as well.

We headed back down the pass, and since Dan had seen how much fun I'd had taking pictures, he volunteered to pull over anywhere I liked once we were back on the level road. I saw a field full of mostly purple wildflowers next to a nearly overflowing creek, so I had him stop there. I twisted my ankle and my back and walked entirely too far, but I was having so much fun I didn't care.

So I didn't see the glacier or the lake meadows on the pass or any wildlife, but I still got to have a vacation, and the flowers were beautiful. And I had an iced green tea sweetened with melon syrup from Starbucks, which helped make the hometown heat more bearable. I'm very lucky I only have to drive an hour to get away from it all.

When I win the lottery, I'm getting a Jeep Wrangler, and I'll somehow bribe Dan to take me all the way up that pass.

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