An Afternoon Hike


Our camper is hardly visible against the stand of conifers about center in the photo

In a previous post I mentioned enjoying a summer hosting at Bristol Head Campground. During that period the price of gasoline had begun its steep increase. With Bristol Head located twenty miles north of Creede and Creede being on top of the world, so to speak, we didn’t see a lot of campers willing to spend the cash to come visit us. I doubt we had a dozen visitors all summer long. That left us an abundance of time to do minor repairs, read, write, or during the week days go hiking.

For about an hour each afternoon, when the sun was midway between zenith and the western horizon, I often studied rock formations to the east. The distance was never determined other than it was beyond the useful focal length of the field glasses we brought with us. But as the shadows gathered I always spotted a totem pole standing at the entrance of a cave. The scene was static, never-changing. So one Wednesday we set out on foot to investigate this phenomenon.

Using a Garman eTrex “backcountry” GPS, a unit that would lay our track and log waypoints (so we could find our way back) we set out to solve the mystery.

If we could have traveled in a straight line our chance of success might have been greater. However, that combined with the ever-changing shadows soon made our destination indistinguishable from the surrounding countryside. Our totem pole was nowhere to be seen. After two hours, or so, we turned back. Following the course laid by our GPS receiver made our return trip easier. Yet, there was a seed of doubt … I’ve experienced a few computer crashes in my time. This was not a good time for an error.

Our only neighbors were some fifteen miles away. What if one of us turned an ankle, broke a leg. Worse case, we could spend the rest of our lives in the high Rockies.

Late afternoon was upon us we broke over a ridge and spotted our pickup camper. The rush we experienced exceeded our disappointment at not finding our totem pole.

4 thoughts on “An Afternoon Hike

  1. Scott says:

    Thank you. Barb and I were both younger then, stronger, but not imune from an injury. I guess the foolish are not all young folks. 🙂


  2. At a younger age I would have understood your curiosity and I would have happily joined in the search. But I also would have been ever so glad to make it back to home base. Being alone can be ever so nice, unless, as you mentioned, you suffer an injury. Then it can be devastating.


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