I had managed to set up a series of plans for the weekend and the following week with three different people and had them all fall through at the last minute. I was pretty bummed, and there was definitely a fair bit of asking Scott, ‘Why don’t people want to come and play with me? Do I smell bad?’
But, with every set of changed plans, new plans come into existence. Or, as I always say, something is going to happen.
Eventually, Scott got sick of me moping around camp and got me out on a ride on one of my favorite sections of Colorado Trail at the base of Mt Princeton. I’m pretty sure that the only reason we actually got out pedaling was the excuse to try to find Joe Grant, who was in the middle of his Self-Propelled Tour de 14ers. He’d left home 16 days prior and was more than halfway done with riding his bike to the 57-ish 14,000+ foot peaks in Colorado and climbing them.
Few adventures have ignited my imagination like the Tour de 14’ers did when The Long Ranger did it two summers ago. While it still remains sticky in my mind, the idea of spending more than a month alone climbing big mountains and riding around seems pretty lonely.
We found Joe at the Princeton Hot Springs store after our ride, sprawled out under a tree, looking fairly to mostly wrecked. He’d camped near the base of Antero, hiked Tabaguache, Shavano, and Antero, and then ridden down and was in the process of trying to recover before riding his bike up to 12,000 feet to hit Princeton in the morning. The sheer amount of vertical in his project was mind blowing, and it was fun to listen to him talk for the better part of two hours before I finally told him that he had to go if he was going to make it anywhere before dark.
The encounter led to some level of mountain climbing inspiration, so I managed to get my butt in gear around noon the next day and get up Mt Yale.
There was a family up there with their phones out looking for Pokemon. I’m serious, you can’t make this shit up.
There was also a mountain goat. Mountain goats always make me happy. When I pointed him out to the Pokemon family, they seemed pretty excited to see him.
On the way down, I discovered that my legs definitely weren’t recovered from Ouray. Apparently a week wasn’t quite enough time off from long and steep descents.
Given the fact that I was still tired, and we needed to do a gear exchange in Winter Park (pick up some stuff, leave some stuff, keep the Scamp as light as possible), we opted to get the driving chore done while we weren’t motivated to anything else. I half-jokingly got Scott to agree to let me take Sparkles for a week if my parents would meet us in Winter Park. Joke was on him when I called them and they were actually there.
So we got a dog for a week!
Unfortunately, she’s a fairly skittish dog. She loved breakfast time that included morning cuddles.
But she hated the afternoon thunder and associated rain and wind.
She loved getting to run up on Monarch Pass.
But she wasn’t so sure about swimming in the Arkansas River.
And the hustle and bustle of town was definitely too much for her. Which was sad because I’m pretty sure that she wasn’t born a fearful dog.
I’ve been pestering Scott since we gave Sparkles to my parents to let me try her out in the Scamp. He’s resisted strongly, even though he likes the little dog, and I think he was worried about making me give her up again.
But in the end, the lesson I learned was that I have to accept Sparkles for the dog she is. A little scared, a lot wild. And a dog that will most likely do best in a stable home, not in a Scamp. While I love her to death, her best-case scenario definitely isn’t with me. And that’s okay.
I took her back up to Boulder on a rainy afternoon, dropped her off with her older brother who was excited to see her again, and then headed back into the woods. Maybe someday I’ll have a trail dog to go running with, but for now, Sparkles will continue to be spoiled rotten in Boulder, and I’ll continue to steal the affections of other peoples’ dogs.