26 July 2015

Two words: American Basin. It’s gorgeous.

Megan and I got a late start this morning. We weren’t hiking until nearly 730a, having left Durango at the unreasonable hour of 230a. When we parked, the cloud cover was already considerable, but the hike is short and straightforward, so we sauntered on up into the basin. I would’ve preferred to have crushed it, but Megan wasn’t there to crush. Instead, we moseyed more-or-less together up the southwest slopes. “It’s about the journey, not the destination,” she reminded me in her characteristically sassy tone.

As we watched the rain race toward us up the valley, I became increasingly more anxious at the thought of an impending thunderstorm. I hated the thought that today might have been a wasted trip. As we neared the saddle, the rain started. But it wasn’t rain at all; it was hail. Joy. At least their was no lightning. We topped out and the hail gave way to piercing wind, which consumed us. My hands were numb as we picked our way down. The weather relented before we dropped back into the basin below – we even got a few fleeting moments of sun and blue skies on the way down. Watching the skies while we climbed this morning, I never would’ve expected the scene depicted above.

If I had climbed Handies the way I intended, I would’ve been long gone before the clouds broke. Thanks for the company, Megan. And for setting the perfect pace. All in all, a wonderful success.