Day 14: I am not 25 anymore

South Mineral Campground: $19

First, the good stuff. The campground is gorgeous. 

We’re on the front edge of the campground,  looking into the valley floor. The sunrise was breathtaking (no filter on this photo).

Again, the campground hosts (Anne & Dan) could not be nicer. Anne introduced me to A-Liner neighbors Mary & Doug, who loaned me their water jugs to fill my tank a bit and get a bit of hiking advice. They’ve hiked up to Ice Lake (and they must be ~70), so I should be able to.

Tim & I pass the “full” campground sign (the lowest elevation on our trip: 9480ft) in the morning… 

…and start up towards Ice Lakes (lower, and upper).  I figure my doughy city-dwelling body won’t be able to keep up with my fit younger brother’s century-biking body. And I’m right. But he’s very patient. At first the elevation was not so bad. Chilly, but sunny day. Beautiful skies. 

 The campground at the bottom of the valley gets smaller and smaller as we climb higher and higher.

 It’s down there. Really.   But soon, clouds stated to gather…

We got to lower Ice Lake, and it started to rain. In the absence of thunder, we kept on to Upper Ice Lake.

I’m not gonna lie. Even before we got to Lower Ice Lake, I was struggling to keep up. Light headed. Racing heart. We were at 11k+ feet elevation. Tim was very patient, and made me keep a slower steady pace.

Halfway up to Upper Ice Lake (above the tree line) the hail started.   

Then, things got interesting. By the time I caught up with Tim at Upper Ice Lake (12,300 ft), we could hear thunder and a volunteer ranger was strongly encouraging us to make our way down the mountain. So I took a few quick panoramas as made haste.     

Oh. And the sole fell off Tim’s hiking shoe.    

 Rivers were swelling. 

We were soaked, Tim was hobbling with one soled shoe, and I had reached my physical limit miles ago. I don’t know how Tim made it down (his second shoe was also falling apart).
We had occasional breaks of sun, but the hail was painful. On the last stream crossing my leg gave out as I was nearing the far side and me, and my iPhone (the one I’m writing this blog on) took a chilly plunge.

We raced down the rest of the hill, and he rain and hail only increased.  We got to the camper, took off our wet clothes and held the iPhone in front of the furnace. I hurt – everywhere. I am not 25 anymore…

The forecast for tomorrow is even worse, so we’re at Avalanche Brewing Company planning our next days, possibly abandoning our great site and heading west of the San Juans.

PS: Colorado is beautiful, but keep your eyes on the road. Driving out of our campground last night, this truck left the road and rolled twice. No one was hurt. 

5 thoughts on “Day 14: I am not 25 anymore

  1. Wow. What a story. Glad you and Tim are all right. Dealing with high altitude is difficult enough without storms. Remarkable photographs of the San Juans. Some of the best I’ve ever seen. Take care of yourselves.

  2. Eeee gads! Could anything else go wrong? We are glad you were together. Adventures to write home about… Take care.
    Love,
    Mom & Dad

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