Riding the Guerrillla Highway

Riding the Guerrillla Highway
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Monday, June 23, 2014

Summer Solstice On the Continental Divide.

So many stories since PUerto rico....skiing, california, kauai, but this is the nOW JUNE 23....a Solstice tale.

The summer solstice is the longest day of the year, and I traditionally try to spend it outside in serene natural surroundings. I decided to keep with tradition and adventure into wilderness high country once again.

Now relocated to 'front wranglerville' my close to home options for reaching the great divide are limited to the well traveled I-70 and 285 corridors. I choose 285 and the colorado trail at kenosha pass to get my summer solstice fix. I ninja-ed into nearby Sonic bloom music fest the night before but after 4 hours of blasting speakers, dust, and hordes of tripping youngsters, I was ready for solitude.

Plan: I'd sleep in my van at the trailhead and wake early, bike 12 miles of colorado trail to the divide, climb 13,400' Gugot peat on the divide and return. Well I woke up late and narrowly avoided the campground host, and set out on the bike under fading clouds. The bike sort of kicked my butt. I hadn't done a ride over 20 miles yet this season. My body felt old and worn, even though I know I'm in great shape, my body demanded frequent breaks on the the up and down accent to 12000 feet. Looking back the days prior were filled with a lot of on my feet activity: running biking dancing, thus so be it, I was slow. At tree line the snow patches covered the trail to the point where biking was silly so i walked towards gigot peak in patchy trees. What does Gugot mean anyway? The peak was impressive and I decided that I'd settle for a nice ridge walk on the divide instead. My legs will thank me later I sighed. On the divide I felt alive and free and blessed. no one was around. I was in my element pure in open air. I dreamed of the San Juans and a summer of freedom I could have had, had i not jumped on an irresistible job offer of 3 day a week PM work in Boulder. The front range. Could I really join the rat race of weekend warriors?
 Gugot and the divide
 My favorite high country flower, only grows above treelike
 June Bloom
One of many snowfields. Its been a wet spring in Colorado.

Hush you are on the divide now just enjoy? My heart wanted to race around and climb every mountain in sight to release in supreme escapism but my tired body just wanted to lay and watch clouds.

Miraculously I got a surge of energy from a sardine-cheese-tortilla I ate earlier and I decided I'd run  east along the divide to the top of a cool looking bowl. I ran freely above all (except towering Gugot) at 12,500 feet. At one point on the ridge I could see the back side of keystone, lake Dillon, and Breckenridge to the north and pikes peak to the south. It was really cool to take in the incredible view of the landmarks.  The ski runs and the lake were the only signs of Man for miles. I remembered another summer solstice in telluride when it snowed. And a winter solstice in Vail when it rained. How wild is this state the mountain world? I thought it would be appropriate if it snowed a little for me on the ridge run. And the clouds came in and the wind whipped flurries of flakes on me. The start of Summer!

The Continental Divide is the ridge of mountains that divides east and west watersheds. This concept evokes deep thought...This great division mirrors my divided heart,,,,Love and freedom, Simplicity and Security,,,,succumbing to normalcy or embracing the great mystery....The power of pondering, the power of acceptance, the power of Nature...Ruling or guiding forces?  Wonderstruck on the divide on the solstice.

Before I got back to my backpack I started walking. Then I laid down and just closed my eyes. My tired body was allowed to rest with mother nature. AHHHH. The sun warmed and the wind cooled. I really was tired, but time could heal and it did. by 3:30 I was back at my bike where I rested again and then rode the 11 miles back to Kenosha pass. By this time I ran into many wranglers on the trail as well as colorado trail through hikers.

At kenosha I was still divided. I wanted to be outside but my legs didn't want to do anything. I didn't want to camp alone. I didn't want to go to Sonic Bloom and endure blasting music and lots of walking. I didn't want to retreat to the front range. I didn't really want to drive anywhere, but driving could be a form of rest so, I drove. EAST. I thought to camp near bailey even kayak the next day....I put my feet in the freezing south platte (which here comes from a tunnel under the divide from lake dillon.) and i decided I wanted a swim bath in a warmer lake. SO back to front wranglerville I descended.

Soda lakes right off of 470 near Morrison has a ninja swim option I discovered last week. It only really works going northbound. I pulled off 470, scrambled down a steep embankment, and was naked in the lake. Not warm, but not lake Dillon. I swam out towards the middle. In a similar 'proclamation fashion' as on top of the divide, I stated: "From here I can see Red rocks amphitheater, highway 470, the sunset , and Home Depot...." I was no longer in pristine natural surroundings, but I was ok. I was happy to get in a ninja swim right off the interstate.

I decided if I wasn't gonna camp, I had to rally for a FUNK band at the fox in boulder. This longest  day of the year was not over. I tried to numb the tired legs with PBR and Vodka and it worked to an extent at the dance-a-thon killer performance of "The main squeeze." By  midnight the moderate amount of alcohol was no longer working So I told my legs "SHUT UP LEGS" (quoting german cyclist Jens Voigt) and drank red bull. I rallied through encore.
Colorado trail Park county

That was my longest day of the year.

Just a little bit more...The next day I kayaked South boulder creek and did a 1.5 hr yoga practice, (also a solstice tradition of mine.) And went to Denver to meet a lady friend. I was so high on nature and yoga that Denver almost destroyed me. I met her and her friends at 16th street mall downtown and was overwhelmed. It was Pride fest, 16 street mall was not GAY and gleeful, it was traffic, smells, concrete, and aggressive pan handlers. There is no comparison to pearl street mall in boulder. denver was intense. I literally told the girl that I was having a hard time enduring denver and I needed to go to a park or the south platte river or something. We rallied to Wash park for world cup BBQ at her friends. At first, I contemplated just leaving. Back to boulder or mountains, but I'm glad I stayed and I wrote it off as a cultural experience. I laughed so hard watching a gay black guy give twerking lessons to girls. worth it for that. Still I decided I will just say no to DENVER from now on. Yes DENVER has culture and diversity but the mountains in the distance seem so far away it hurts.  If you are a friend in DENVER please meet me in the mountains or boulder... :)

.....Where do we put all these people in this world? Denver is not even a big city on a world scale. There are others bigger and dirtier and more horrible....It's frightening how resilient the human race is, and how well we are at,,,populating? and enduring our self-created concrete world of rules and restrictions. OK back to writing about beautiful fantasy...Neverland...could it be real?

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