Don’t Hate Her Because She’s Beautiful – Ouray County, CO Part 1

Last weekend as we set out on another Family Death March to Blue Lake my nine year old, impersonating her best teenager with alarming authenticity, rolled her eyes and pouted aloud ‘SERIOUSLY, couldn’t you have picked a SUNNYday for a hike?’  I tried to remember the last time we had gone for a hike on anything less than a perfect day and came up empty.  Crappy days in Colorado, the 7 of them we get a year, are set aside with gratitude for those ‘rainy day’ tasks that never get done.  The dog hides in a windowless room on these days; the cat is enormously put out by having to get her feet wet.  We suffer from an overabundance of good weather it would seem.

There has been no time for proper blogging of the Big Move from really pretty Colorado to scary pretty Colorado.  So we’ll go with sloppy improper picture-laden blogging instead because it’s that or nothing.

Over the past month we have finally embarked on the move-cleansing ritual of Hiking the New Neighborhood.  Here are the first couple of hikes:

Courthouse Mountain

The biggest hunk of rock would be Courthouse Mountain

Courthouse Mountain is a 12,200′ peak that sits prominently on the horizon when one drives east through Ridgway.  Every night it glows in the sunset surrounded by jagged and rocky ridge lines, the most prominent of which is Chimney Peak, that were pretty enough to be featured in the original True Grit.

the easy way up the trail; not the dumbass way that the wee one and I came up

The climb up from the back side (over Owl Creek Pass) brings the hike down to a short 2 miles each way.  It seemed longer because 1) I was in charge of the four year old and 2) there were exposed spots where being in charge of the 4 year old put countless new grey hairs on my head and 3) the mountain is a lot scarier if you try to take the 4 year old up the wrong way over big shifting Aaron Ralstonesque boulders.  We won’t get into how mad I got at Todd for abandoning us because then I would have to admit what a dumbass I was for managing to lose the trail and take a four year old (successfully, thank you) over totally unreasonable terrain.

the hike up to Courthouse is not ugly

sandwiches on summits, the life of a 9 year old Gardiner

The nine year old launched herself straight up the side of the mountain.  At least this is what I assume as that is where I found her later once I tagged out on the little one and found the summit.  It is a beautiful spot to spend any amount of time.

she’s ready to climb that one now

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Both kids are in school on Fridays.  This is new.  This is wonderful.  With the right amount of ambition, work hours can be put in by Thursday evening leaving Todd and I to giddily run off sans screechers to go have Adult Time.  No, not this adult time:

She looks impressed

Honestly people, get your brains out of the gutter.  No, we go lose ourselves in the insanely sexy, whining- crying- and complaining-free childless grandeur of Fridays.  We head straight for the nearest trail we’ve never been on, we hike 3-4 mph straight up and down the sides of whatever mountain is most alluring, hauling ass and feeling the effects of training with our shorties.  We bask in sun on summits, we eat our share of whatever food we bring without having to fight for it, we complete sentences and thoughts without interruption.

It.Is.Awesome.

There is no amount of psychotherapy that would be as affective as Fridays are for me lately.  Our First Friday led to this:

Ouray Perimeter Trail

5.2 miles long, it encircles the town of Ouray.  If you haven’t been to Ouray, really you should put it on your list.  It’s a tiny bit beautiful.  This trail starts at the visitor’s center right next to the hot springs (convenient place to finish a loop hike I must say) and heads up and around towards the Amphitheater campground passing by the falls and staying pretty mellow.  After the Baby Bath Tubs you wind up and through the Potato Patch, the Ouray Ice Park, Box Canyon Falls, through a cool old tunnel blasted through the rock and back down the other side.  This isn’t a hard trail but it was one that we hadn’t done before so what the hell.  It’s low mileage and proximity to where we’re living allowed time for late lunch at the brewery, a drive up to Ironton and a soak in the hot springs.

Ouray

Who loves Fridays?

Ouray Perimeter Trail

Ironton ablaze, Red Mountain #1 in the back

Next up: Hayden Mountain, Red Mountain, Blue Lakes and the Bear Creek Trail…(We’ve been busy.  My house is a mess and my blogging sucks.  I’ll catch up with all of that when there is 16′ of snow in the moutains.  🙂  )

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Categories: Hiking, Hiking with Kids | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

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11 thoughts on “Don’t Hate Her Because She’s Beautiful – Ouray County, CO Part 1

  1. Just posted about Ouray. If I could plant myself anywhere for awhile, that might be it!

    • AlisaG

      I’ve always thought that too. And now I’m living the dream, quite randomly. Bliss abounds. 🙂 I need to go find your post!

      • the usual bliss

        I think it’s called “I kept the sombrero.” 🙂

    • Yes, I thought I recognized that city photo! Looks like a nice day hike.

  2. Ridiculously beautiful. We may be neighbors soon

    • AlisaG

      You wouldn’t be sad to live here. But don’t tell anyone else how pretty it is. It has to be our little secret. 🙂

  3. Gorgeous. I always remember being stunned at how beautiful the San Juans were. I thought I’d end up there. There’s still time!

    • AlisaG

      life is funny that way…sometimes you find yourself smack dab in the middle of living your dream. 🙂

  4. “…insanely sexy, whining- crying- and complaining-free childless grandeur” was written just for me, I’m sure. Having had four kids so close together is the reason why Scott and I have been hiking in 10 years. The only “hike” we’ve taken the kids on was at the Garden of the Gods in CO Springs (hardly a difficult one), but at the end of the trip, my ears were hurting something fierce.

    Glad you’re getting some hikes in without kiddos!

    • “haven’t” been hiking in 10 years.

    • as much as I love marveling at their insane, way-beyond-their-years-and-peers hiking abilities, it’s not as though it’s always happy singing and unicorns. I think that too many parents either don’t have the opportunity or don’t take advantage of the opportunity to ditch the kids and have a guilt-free day. It’s so important to a marriage, to be able to reconnect and remember for a moment that there is a relationship there that needs tending outside of the refereeing that goes on all day every day.

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