In the Rockies

In the Rockies
Butler Gulch

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Stepping Out -- Writing and Hiking

Today I e-mailed a query letter, a synopsis, and 35 pages of the memoir (now called The Light in the Darkness) to an editor of a small CA press.  It was scary so I took my journal and a book and retreated to the pool.  There I listed more hikes for my newest book proposal--hikes as a spiritual journey tool.  Then I decided that I need to plot out the journey and see what hikes fit in those spaces rather than listing hikes as there are too many.  Doing that, and hanging out in the pool for a while (a lovely mid-80s day) calmed my fear.  It will no doubt be back in a couple of weeks when I know that the editor is back at her post (she's vacationing right now).

I also went on Facebook and friended our new St. John's priest, a 54-year-old woman who graduated from Sewanee School of Theology and is a rector in Utah right now.  She looks fun and likes to hike.

Friends Judith and Mary Ann and I hiked to Blue Lake on July 2nd to celebrate my 74th birthday.  In about two and one-half miles we reached the lake, which sets just above treeline.  It's one of the shortest and easiest ways to reach space where trees are left behind.  It is a rocky trail, which we had forgotten when encouraging Mary Ann, who will turn eighty later this month, to join us.  The lake is pictured here.

Look at my new hiking boots!
After a gourmet lunch prepared by Judith (including champagne), we returned to a high meadow and enjoyed seeing the bull moose we saw last year in the same place.  My camera had died at the lake (it's really dead), and I hadn't yet uploaded an app to improve my I-phone camera so no new photos of the moose.

On July 4th, I drove to a flower hiking trail that's become a favorite, even though I've only been there three times.  Butler Gulch is about ten miles beyond Empire, a village that looks as if it hasn't changed in 50 years, off Interstate 70 on highway 40 that leads to Berthoud Pass and Winter Park Resort.  While it seems like a long drive (1.25 hours), it's shorter than going back to the Bear Lake Trails in RMNP.  I didn't leave early so was between the early throng and the afternoon hikers.  It looked as if it would rain in the afternoon.

I remembered that it was a thirty-minute hike to the first flower areas so I wasn't anxious.  Soon columbines lined the path, dotted the first meadows and hugged stream banks, red and bright pink paintbrush mixed in.  Chiming bells climbed hills and covered valleys.  I was early for the monks hood, though I found a few blossoms on my way down.  After fording a couple of creeks (and being thankful that my new boots are water proof), the rocky trail rises steeply.  I met and chatted with a three-generation family on a 4th of July picnic, but lost them when I wanted down to the creek to take photos (with my new I-phone camera app).  Again I stopped at the waterfall and took pictures.  Making myself comfortable on a boulder, I realized that the clouds were closing in.  I couldn't miss the flowered meadows that were up and around the next steep climb. 

As I crested the hill, my efforts were rewarded.  Red paintbrush filled the high meadows. 
 I could have stopped then, but then I would have missed more flowered meadows and the flower-lined stream near the trail's end.  A line of morning hikers were heading down.  I ignored the thunder.  It wasn't loud.  Chatting with a couple whose dogs were determined to go up rather than down, I wondered if they were the last to leave.  I would follow them down (though I wasn't ready to go).  Then they hollered back that a couple was coming up the trail--and another and another came, ignoring the probability that rain might set in. 

I hiked on to the stream where a friend and I had eaten lunch when I was there on a fall trek, took a long look, some photos, pulled out one-half a sandwich and took a few bites, and turned around to head back down as I felt a few large raindrops.  Reaching trees, I sat on a boulder and pulled my poncho out of my backpack.  I did take off my hat.  Later I would realize that my sun glasses were on my head and must have fallen onto the ground as I squeezed the poncho over my head.  I hurried down the steepest part of the trail, then realized that the sky was getting lighter.  I sat by a stream and ate the rest of my lunch.  As I exited the trail and headed to the parking lot, a few raindrops reached the ground.  A couple joined me at the outside table where I enjoyed ice cream in Empire before starting the drive home.  It had been a delightful day.