15 April 2010

Escape from Single-Track

THE setting3 July 2005

We pondered destinations. The Lizard had planned to take me to Oh Be Joyful before Ferenc and Andrea decided to join us for San Luis. Now The Lizard was eyeing that locale again.

Cimarron Fork in AutumnI thought it might be a good place, too, but because the range had received so much winter and spring snow, I didn’t think the wildflowers would be ready yet. I also suggested going back to the La Garita Wilderness, maybe to a different trailhead, to look for moose again. Just saunter around the ponds at a relaxing pace. My biggest and most favorite hankering, however, was for the Cimarron forks. I had fallen in love with the area the first time The Lizard took me there, back when the aspens were golden.

The Lizard seemed disappointed to not be going to Oh Be Joyful, but he seemed excited about the Middle Fork. He kept asking if I was sure that’s where I wanted to go.

We hiked about a mile or so up the trail before The Lizard realized he had forgotten to pack his rain pants. Turned out he didn’t need them, but if he hadn’t gone back for them, we surely would have been caught in a drenching downpour.

Coxcomb and RedcliffBefore he headed back, he dropped to his knees in a beautiful green meadow and asked me to marry him. I didn’t think he would ever ask! I kissed him. He stashed his pack, kissed me again, and headed back to the car while I plowed on ahead, thinking about nothing but what it would be like to be able to share a bed with him instead of separate bedrooms, and then, suddenly, realizing my Lizard is from an age when guys like to try out girls before they make a commitment... What if he doesn’t like me???

Mosquitoes soon robbed me of all my wandering thoughts, and then the trail became progressively more challenging. I hit a stream crossing The Lizard had warned me about. It also served as junction for another trail. The Lizard hadn’t specified which trail I should take, even though I knew which one I was supposed to follow. So I crossed the stream and started looking for scrap wood to leave him a message to let him know I'd gone the right way.

In mid-thought, I realized I had not given him an answer. I couldn't believe it! Here was the moment I had waited for, and I had not verbally agreed to be his bride!

I decided not to leave a silly message telling him I’d made the right choice. Well, not a trail choice, anyway.

Instead I left a big wood “YES!!!” right in the middle of the trail, complete with arrows and a cryptic “Did U C it?” at the end so he would be sure to look for it if he wasn’t looking at the ground when he crossed my answer. Then I took pictures of my stick masterpiece.

My AnswerI passed two sets of hikers in the next couple of miles and asked them please not to step on my message. Then I hit THE valley, and I absolutely had my breath sucked out of me. It was gorgeous!!! The view was better than I could possibly imagine. I dropped to the stream to shoot a bright pink flower with Coxcomb in the background, and when I stood, The Lizard was right behind me. He dropped his pack and dropped to his knee again and apologized for not being very romantic the first time around. He proposed again, and this time, I sang a resounding "Yes!" that seemed to echo off the majestic tall peaks.

The First RingI asked if he’d seen my message and if it had warmed the cockles of his heart, and he smiled. He said he’d wanted to ask me at Oh Be Joyful, but I’d ruined that.

The Lizard took off for Red Cliff, and I followed for a while, until I couldn’t handle the terrain anymore. I shot some pictures of Coxcomb and made my way back to the trail that would take me up to the Heisshorn/El Punto saddle. It was a long way up, but I made it, and I was rewarded with what a hiker after me said may well be the finest view in all of Colorado. I may have to agree.

Uncompahgre, Matterhorn and Wetterhorn all but reached out to touch me. I wish there had been more wildflowers, but what I got was outstanding.

This place is as good as any to morph from single-track to... a bride-to-be!!! This is a spectacular setting, and I’m the happiest girl in the world!
The Best Trail Register Entry Ever

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