Zen On Dirt

Joys of Mountain Living


Escaping to Winter Park was exactly what the doctor ordered for me. The moment I got there and took the Sparkle dog out for a run, I felt instantly better. I don’t do cities well. I never did. I like my mountains, my canyons, my ability to walk out the front door of the Scamp or a tent or a bivy and pee next to a tree or cactus or rock without anyone caring. I think it was Ed Abbey who said that if you couldn’t walk out your front door and pee without causing a fuss, you were living around too many people.


I can’t really walk out the front door of Winter Park and pee, but it’s pretty damn close.

Plus, from WP, you can drive 20 minutes to the top of Berthoud Pass and pretty much start hiking at treeline. I took Sparkles up to the top of Mount Flora. I’m pretty sure that this was her first time above treeline and she lost any and all ability to listen. Not that she’s got too much of that ability to start with…but sitting for the camera was entirely out of the question. She loved it.


Then Scott showed up with the Scamp!

Our first order of business was to ride the long way to pizza in Fraser. I learned how to mountain bike on these trails, and they never disappoint. I also apparently still don’t know my way around on them, but that’s ok, it makes it new every time!


I conned Scott into a mini bike/run adventure along the CDT. We’ve painted most of the CDT in the area with feet or tires, but hadn’t connected Roger Pass to Rollins Pass. We rode up to the turn off towards Rogers on Rollins Pass road, stashed the bikes in the trees, and proceeded towards Rogers Pass.


I was half tempted to push for a summit of James Peak, but I know better. It’s bigger than it looks.


There was no trail once we got on the CDT-proper, which made for slow going.


I spent the time trying to remember ski lines from lives past.


The flowers were off the hook. It seems like a lot of CO is getting skunked with flowers this year. Not the Winter Park area!


Lots of LYFs (little yellow flowers) and Sky Pilots interspersed with Alpine Sunflowers. They make my heart happy.


The silly-fun single track the whole way down from where the bikes were stashed made my heart happy too.

The next morning, I set the alarm for stupid-early o-clock to meet some rad women on the other side of the Divide for a little run. I’ve realized that while I have bike riding friends all over the west, I have very few running friends. I’m working hard to change this. Jill and Elaine made for awesome companions for the High Lonesome Loop.

Up from Hessie to King Lake.


Up through the snow.


Along the divide for a few miles and then slip and slide down the snowfield at Devil’s Thumb Pass.


Return to car. High-five!

Interestingly enough, in my 20’s and early 30’s, I wanted to ride/ski/adventure mostly with boys. Now, I get really excited about girls’ trips. Maybe I’m just tired of fart jokes. We all grow up eventually, right?

The following morning, the weather looked dire. Somehow Scott convinced me that it was worth the gamble to drive up to Berthoud for a run instead of just leaving from the door. You win some, you lose some.


This one was a win. Minimal rain, beautiful clouds. Sparkles was stoked.


And the flowers? Off the hook.


Winter Park life with the dogs makes me happy. Every morning and every evening, we’d go out and let them check their pee-mail. We saw a moose twice, lots of birds, lots of chipmunks. I love the outside time that dog walks force.


Especially in beautiful places. With people and doggies that melt my heart.




2 thoughts on “Joys of Mountain Living

  1. The second picture of Sparkles is the definition of “joy”. I love it.

  2. I agree with Lauri about that photo of Sparkles above treeline! I also agree about being able to pee outside your door 🙂 When we evacuated due to the fire, we landed in a very densely populated campground. It was awful. I definitely couldn’t pee right outside our van… We went someplace much better, with no one else in sight, for the rest of the evacuation.

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