I’m posting on a Sunday afternoon in a Durango coffee shop. The past couple of days have been fairly eventful. On Friday, I dropped Amy & the kids off at the airport and picked up my buddy, Tom. (Sometimes known in these parts simply as “T”). From Denver we drove to Leadville, saw some mine ruins, then went on and set up a camp site near Twin Lakes, Colorado. We wound up eating at the only eating establishment open at Twin Lakes. The name of the place escapes me at the moment, but it was surprisingly elegant. $20 per head, but I had an outstanding cut of bison with some veggies and mashed potatoes. Then we went back to our tent, threw down some Tylenol PM and got to sleep at about 8:30 p.m. We woke up at about 4:15 and were at the trail head for La Plata peak by 5:15 a.m. After one false start with a trail that was hard to follow at the beginning, we got moving at 5:30, allowing us to reach the peak by 9:30 a.m. As 14ers go, La Plata is probably pretty tame, but it was about the toughest thing I’ve done physically. Its total elevation is 14,336 feet with an elevation gain from the trailhead of about 4,000 feet. It took us 4 hours to get up and, surprisingly, 4 hours to get back. A little after we got back down under tree line the rains started – so as with most high mountain ascents, it’s good we got an early start.
After we got down the mountain, we took advantage of a break in the rain to break camp. After that, it was time to relax with some High Mountain Pies in Leadville — some of the best pizza I’ve ever had. After stuffing our bellies, we were ready for some R&R. But, we’re not normal people. We ended up taking a 4 hour drive down to Ouray, Colorado where they have an outstanding public hot springs. After checking into The Western Hotel and Saloon, we threw our bags in our room and went on up to the hot springs. That did a body good. My head hurt, I had done serious damage to two of my toe nails, and, most of all, my quads were screaming at me. After soaking for about an hour, we went to a local tavern and capped the day with a pitcher or two of beer and a lot of jukebox. The day started at 4 a.m. and ended at about 12:30 a.m. So, it was a full one.
Today, we got up, lounged about Ouray and took an easy stroll up to Cascade Falls and are now in Durango. Life is pretty good.