Three days spent amount the Rockies and the pine trees…
I was starting a month long gig house sitting in Boulder, Colorado the next week that would prevent me from going away camping for four long weeks. Since I was mere hours from Estes Park, I decided to spend the weekend in Rocky Mountain National Park.
I was still staying at the communal house at the time and my host told me of a town called Ward I could stop at on the way. “If your looking for long haired barefoot hippies it is towns like this one where you need to be going”. He told me that what separates Ward from all the hippie towns that became tourist hubs is that they pile trashed cars along the street entering town so that tourists think this isn’t a nice town worth stopping in. And it works! People pass these cars and decide against turning up the dirt hill that leads into the charming village. Granted my van could not climb the majority of the hills leading deeper into town, from my vantage point this was a town held in time living with simply the necessities. There was a general store, a library, a school, a post office, and one art gallery encircled by two or three dozen houses. Although the only people I encountered here were bicyclists passing through with short hair and shoes on their feet, it was a pretty neat town to check out.
Camping in the national park was way out of budget so I camped in Allenspark at a free pull off in the woods of a small mountain. It was quite the trek in, deserving of a four wheel drive car versus a rear wheel drive box with a miniature engine in the trunk. I had to make camp on the edge of the site with a chock under the tire to keep the van parked. I assumed that my neighbor lived here full time due to the hand-chopped log seats around the enlarged fire pit, the camper van, and broken down school bus on his site. I fell asleep to the sound of him killing and eating squirrels for a midnight snack- extremely disturbing. I hate when people ruin the blissful experience of nature for others. But I made it there and that’s all that mattered.
The next morning I headed to Rocky Mountain National Park where I hiked up a mountain to Bierstad Lake. This elevated lake was a beautiful clearing in the woods surrounded by towering pine trees with the view of a succession of snow capped peaks in the distance. I sat on a rock on the edge of the water for a while but as this seemed to be a popular location I decided to head onto a neighboring trail.
To get onto this trail I had to cross a giant patch of icy snow (keep in mind it is 80 degrees outside) so I didn’t think much of the fact that the trail was covered in snow as well. I was walking along focused on a bridge up a small distance ahead I would have to cross when I felt the ground break loose underneath me. I was instinctively crawling up and over before it fully hit me that my legs were thigh deep in water with only my arms tossed over the ice ledge I was aiming to be walking on to suspend me. I must have lost the path and wandered over a lake or river that was concealed by ice and snow. I had only been on this path about ten minutes and so decide to head back and try the final trail leading out of Bierstad Lake.
This trail split in many locations and had a dried up creek curving in and out of the way looking curiously similar to the path itself. As luck would have it I eventually found myself on what I had to assume was not the path anymore when I realized there were no longer foot prints leading the way down the hill and no clear indicator of which direction to continue. I wandered the area a bit and turned back to avoid getting lost any further. Just as I was beginning to panic that I was lost in the woods with no one to be found in my proximity, I finally heard the trace of another human. Three girls were coming stumbling down the dried up creek bed. They said they had gotten lost from the lake and followed a set of fresh foot prints to try to find their way out. Unfortunately the footprints they followed were mine. (But hey at least I’m not the only one getting so lost up there!) They guided me back to the lake where I guided them back down to the road and we all made it off the mountain alive in time to see the pack of wild elk grazing on the roadside.
Back at the campsite I sat and enjoyed the night time sky while sitting up against a tree with Morgan exploring the ground around me. A girl approached me to tell me I was her idol for having the cat out on a leash, because she always gets such weird looks for bringing her cat mountain climbing! For those of you who don’t know that is mine and Captain Morgan’s end goal so it was really cool to meet someone who could prove it was possible! After chatting for a bit I headed to lay down in the van and meditate for a while as my psychic had recommended.
Incense lit and low lights flickering, I drifted into a hazy state somewhere between wakefulness and dreamland. Before me I saw the reflection of a lady on the tent canvas of the van; her image seemed to not be physical but her energy was enveloping the atmosphere inside of the van for sure. She was dark skinned with long waving hair, multiple arms, and a beaming green third eye. I felt her presence strongly within me and the whole van seemed to light up. Before I could determine the meaning of this vision I drifted off into a deep sleep and awoke early the next morning to ponder this experiment with coffee and a spliff on the roof of the van among the mighty trees glowing with the light of the waking sun.