Another weekend, another mountain(s)

Jesse, drinkin' (water) up on Blodgett.

Jesse, drinkin' (water) up on Blodgett.

We're going up there, oh yeah.  (More pix below, after a few stories.)

We're going up there, oh yeah. (More pix below, after a few stories.)

Man, it’s great to be back in Colorado.  Jesse and I, left to our own devices yet again (it is difficult to keep Sandhya in one place for any length of time, much to my chagrin; it’s not that I want to hold her down or anything, I’d just like to see her once in a while), spent the weekend having fun outdoors.  Saturday I helped Jesse at the Farmers Market on the north side of town.  Not being particularly fond of the notion of getting up at 0600 hours to go to the farm, I woke up around 0730 on my own, ate breakfast, and rode my bike the 12 miles or so to the market to spend a few hours selling the best vegetables and peaches this side of the Mississippi.  Jesse’s employer, Venetucci Farm, is a beyond-organic farm just south of the Springs that I volunteered for some last year.  They raise a huge variety of veggies and sell peaches for some friends from a farm on the western slope.  At the market we were treated to a wide range of humanity – everyone from grizzled old farmers to Asian Indian immigrants to crotchety old ladies who drove hard bargains to white-collared businesswomen who gingerly tiptoed around the rough lot while tentatively fingering vegetables like they’d never seen them complete with dirt before.

Sunday morning came and I went exploring.  My single-speed friends and I have been trying to find a trail link to what we’re calling the Scar Trail.  After two attempts, both of which included hour-long, uphill, bikes-on-backs scree field hikes, I was not interested in taking the same approach we had been.  After poring over my Pikes Peak Atlas and referencing Google Earth a few times, I felt confident that I could find the missing link if there was one to be found.  All my normal SS riding buddies were off doing other things, but I called on my geared friends Ted and Blaine and dragged them out to explore with me.  After a three-hour dirt road climb, we headed off on a singletrack I hoped would lead us to a certain ridge.  It did.  Once at the ridge there was a fair bit of route-finding, but not for long, and soon we came to another old trail I had hoped to find.  It led us directly to the Scar Trail.  That’s one loop that just got a lot easier…

Sunday night we walked up to the skatepark and watched some seriously talented guys skating and riding in the 13-foot bowl.  There was a guy throwing 360 double tailwhips, other guys doing brakeless nose stalls on the coping, and even a guy pulling backflips off almost anything (without a helmet).  It was fun and I should have brought my camera – next time I will, for sure.  If those guys were the highlight of the night, the slick-haired, suit-n-tied, clipboard-carrying GOP canvasser walking around the park was the lowlight.  He asked me if I was a registered Colorado voter, and I answered in the affirmative.  He then flashed a few figures past my eyes and asked me if I was “interested in the responsible use of my tax dollars”.  Sure, I said, Who isn’t?, knowing precisely where the conversation was headed.  He wanted me to sign his ballot initiative petition.  I told him that, here in the Springs, we don’t exactly have a high tax problem.  In fact, it’s the opposite – we can’t get anything done because the ultra-right-wingers that live around here whine and complain about ANY taxes, and thus we have public transit being slashed by huge percentages regularly, a lame-duck city government, and holes in all our roads.  Once seeing me for what I am, he got out quick.  But as he was making the rounds, he passed us by again and said “Still having fun watching these guys?  They make it look awfully simple and easy.  But it’s really, really risky.”  Following a BMXer with my eyes, I couldn’t help but reply, “Jeez, it’s like a parable for what you’re doing!”  He didn’t really know what to say to that, so he mumbled some Conservative platitude and hurried away.  Silly big-C’s, tricking the citizenry is for kids!

Monday.  Labor Day.  We were pretty lazy until about 1130 hours, and then we decided to go hike a small peak on the northwest side of town and find a plane crash that was supposedly nearby.  Blodgett Peak is only about 9500 feet, but it is a steep hike to get up there.  After a slog up some loose stuff, we began climbing up a boulder field, leaving the trail in favor of the rocks.

From the boulderfield

From the boulderfield

As we neared the summit, we noticed that there were ladybugs swarming all over.  At the very point of the peak, there was also some species of flying ant, swarming like crazy.  On the summit they were almost unbearable.  Step down literally five feet and they weren’t a problem.

Little bugs with a big mountain in the background.

Little bugs with a big mountain in the background.

Ladybugs are so monochromatic... what?

Ladybugs are so monochromatic... what?

After noticing the ladybugs and the flying guys, we began to pay closer attention to the ground.  Jesse spotted a big ant carrying a ladybug – presumably one it had hunted down – and I had to see what kind of shot I could get:

Mmmm, dinner.

Mmmm, dinner.

After a little break for food, we headed down a steep ridge on the backside of the peak, looking for a 1940’s era plane wreck.  We found it.

Like an aluminum can.  Planes stand no chance against a mountain...

Like an aluminum can. Planes stand no chance against a mountain...

Yipes.  It may have been 60-plus years ago, but it is still sobering to look at.

Yipes. It may have been 60-plus years ago, but it is still sobering to look at.

The Air Force Academy, as seen from the crash site.  Very likely where this AF plane was headed to land.

The Air Force Academy, as seen from the crash site. Very likely where this AF plane was headed to land.

On the way back up the steep ridge it began to rain.  Noting the position of the sun, I thought there might be a rainbow on the eastern side of the peak.  Being on the western side suddenly became a problem.  So I ran up the last hundred feet or so, just in time to see a gorgeous rainbow and get a few shots before it faded away:



The hike was definitely worth it.  Until next time! –Joey

2 Responses to “Another weekend, another mountain(s)”

  1. Hello nice photos but would you please tell me the truth, about the ladybugs with colors, you edited them right? To put their blue green and purple colors? I can tell 1. because I know about insects and 2. I know how to edit photos and you can notice especially on the green one the color moved a bit into the ground. I’m just having a little debate here :)

    • thefreewheels Says:

      Pete, of course I photoshopped the ladybugs. I wasn’t even trying to make anyone think otherwise… it was a pretty transparent joke. In any case, thanks for reading and keep an eye out for odd-colored creatures of all sorts!

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