Frustrated with my lack of energy and motivation after a forced month long hiatus from most things physical, I was anxious to jump start my engine with something challenging enough to remind me of where I'm supposed to be. After spending half the morning trying to decide where to go, the late hour ultimately required an automatic default to the closest location - the Flatiron. In hindsight, perhaps that was overly optimistic for this point in my recovery. It took me a lot longer going up than it did last year and even longer coming back down. I am more sore today than I was after doing the ridgeline last October. Even my smallest pack rests on the point of injury and I had to stop and take it off many times throughout the day just to give myself a break. Nothing very serious, though... it was just more annoying than anything else.
Considering the level of difficulty for this hike, I am continually amazed by how many people are up there on any given day. This was a Monday, so I'll bet on the weekends it looks like a slow motion escalator. As a mostly solo hiker, I tend to get stopped by other people (a lot) for a variety of reasons... directions, questions, taking their photo or just friendly chat (I think I took more photos that day on other peoples' cameras than I did on my own!). They might be reluctant to interrupt a group, even when they have serious concerns. I don't ever mind pausing for these people and I give them all the time and information they want. Often all they need is the reassurance that they're going the right way and a little boost in confidence does so much for their experience. Sometimes they are just so happy to be where they are and doing what they're doing (as opposed to, say... shoveling snow in Ohio) that they're just bursting to share it with someone else. I like these people. They are having so much fun it's contagious.
I was sitting off to the side of the trail photographing a pair of discarded boxer shorts when a fit looking and rather bubbly couple around my age (39) popped up from below and said, "Which way do we go?" (There did appear to be two choices.) Still engrossed in my underwear photo documentary, I pointed in the right direction. Not moving, they looked around hesitantly and I sensed that my response was not comprehensive enough to be convincing. So, I pointed again and said, "That way."
HIM: "I hear that it gets pretty tough further up."
ME: "A little, but it's mostly just more of the same."
HIM: "So, we should be able to make it?"
[Undoubtedly, but just to be on the safe side, I consult the Magic 8 Ball which says,
"All signs point to yes."]
ME: "Well, some guy on crutches pushing a woman in a wheelchair just passed me, so
you'll have to get around them first. But, if you made it this far and you're still
this happy, you'll be just fine."
They bounced away like bunnies and I could still hear their laughter echoing in the canyon 20 minutes later. I need to be having more fun.
Being in the Supes all the time, I tend to get jaded and sometimes forget to notice how incredibly awesome this place really is. Sharing the enthusiasm of others is a humble reminder not to take the gift of this mountain for granted and I come away from these brief encounters with a renewed appreciation for my good fortune of living here and feeling a bit happier myself.
Does anyone (I mean, everyone) else think those 'bus stop' benches in LDSP are criminally offensive? ... talk about scenery assassination! I wonder whose brainchild that was? There were three of them on Siphon Draw in just over half a mile. Is that really necessary? Even more ridiculous than just the fact of their existence, is the fact that they all face the neighborhood, not the mountain. So, have a seat and enjoy the view! "Oh, look! There's my house!"