01 October 2009

Mount Antero

1 September 2003

I am house-sitting, and I have to be at work in five hours, but I can’t go to bed until I record what a phenomenal day this has been. It is so difficult to type when you have a purrball either stepping on the keyboard trying to gain your fingers’ attention, kneading your lap with razor-sharp claws or just climbing up your chest because she can’t get your attention any other way.

I'm definitely not complaining. I love cats, especially affectionate ones. But man, she sure makes typing on my laptop super difficult! I might have to do my trip report elsewhere. Another time. After I sleep!

Inspired by a recent bike trip up Bross, I decided it was time to quit fantasizing about biking up Antero or Princeton and just do it!

A mountain biking friend and co-Moab enthusiast from Jackson, Wyoming, offered to accompany me up Antero, even though he had never climbed a fourteener. I provided alternate cycling destinations of Guanella Pass or Mount Evans, but he knew I really wanted to try climbing an unpaved peak on my mountain bike.

My friend was tackling the steepness and rocks of Antero's four-wheel-drive road much better than I, yet he opted to turn back at about 11,500, most likely because I was so far behind him at that point. He probably could have made it all the way to the top. I'd made it to the 10,800 sign by the time he reached me. I'd raised my seat a few months earlier for road riding comfort and had forgotten to lower it before attempting this ride. I kept popping off the bike on big rocks and spinning out trying to gain forward uphill momentum again. My friend suggested we try riding to the lake instead, and at that moment, downhill sounded pretty darned inviting.

I had been extremely intimidated by the possibility of descending the mountain amidst headstrong 4WDs, but only three were making their way up as we went down. All three drivers were considerate and friendly, as well as stunned to see us on our bikes. Three motorcycles and two ATVs also went up as we were going down, and the road was plenty big enough.

We headed up the Baldwin Lake road, and it wasn't long before I couldn't see my friend up ahead again. A while later, he came screaming down the road and once again compassionately offered to bail. I would have kept going; I just take a lot longer. As a consolation, my friend offered to ride to St. Elmo with me so we could actually reach one of three attempted destinations.

He loved the downhill so much, he said he'd ride all the way down from the summit of Antero if I'd drive him and his bike back up in my 4Runner. He rode all the way to St. Elmo and back while waiting for me to get back down the mountain. Then he went to St. Elmo with me a second time, not near the strenuous climb of a mountain peak, but an enjoyable fast descent for me on the return trip.


Back on CR 182, my friend commented the graded dirt road was like superhighway compared to the road up Antero.

Now I know what I need to know. About mountain biking. And about men.

I don't have the technical skills to do anything quite so rocky and steep as Antero, so I won't be dreaming about mountain biking up it or Princeton in the near future. I can go back to hiking mountains with my feet.

After Saturday's adventure, I'd given up hope I might ever meet someone compatible with me. I'm just too much of an oddball. I have too much energy and enthusiasm, I consistently bite off more than I can chew, and I am too slow to keep up with real athletes.

Today's adventure partner has re-ignited my faith in humanity. He has restored my hope that someday, somewhere, I will find someone like me. Today's ride was wonderful, even though I was a turtle. This hiking partner likes all the same things I like. He was patient and did not complain when I couldn’t keep up with him. He was not pushy or rude. He was considerate. He didn’t chicken out of Antero, even though I gave him the opportunity.

Too bad he lives so far away! But one day, my star will shine.

Author's Note: "One Day" finally did arrive – just a few months after this adventure – and oh, was it ever worth the wait!!! Please be patient as I continue to move these trip reports from Geocities to here, and soon I'll be telling the love story of the century!

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