LooseCrew-JeffO: Herman Gulch


Ramblings of an adventurous guy living in Denver and playing in the mountains.
For my trail adventures, visit my Trail Bum blog

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Herman Gulch

I was going to park at Loveland Pass and hike up Sniktau, then take a right turn and go a ways to a point where there was a nice collection of snow on the leeward side. Prevailing winds mean that you can expect this every year, but the wind had blown nearly all the snow off the higher elevations.
I love the wind, however, it can kill.
When I parked on Loveland Pass, there were no vehicles parked there. The wind was blowing so hard that I knew my 50lb tobagan was going to get tossed around with me tethered to it. Also, the wind was so extreme that I worried that my CR-V might get literally blown off the pass over night. I re-positioned my car so that it faced the wind. I figured it could take a 200mph head wind and not get blown off, but a side wind would roll it. Once it started rolling, it wouldn't stop until it reached the valley below.

The driver of a vehicle that parked after me took my cue and did the same thing with his truck.
Okay, screw this. Love the wind or not, this is just beyond the thing a soloist ought to do.
Plan A was to have a good time. Plan B was to have a good time somewhere else.
I drove to the Herman Gulch trailhead and took off from there.

The wind was much less possessed with high ridges towering around. I found a nice place to pitch my tent and then noticed I'd brought the wrong tent!
After cussing myself out, I decided to improvise. Ignore how the tent was meant to be used. Use it the way I'll be most comfortable. So I dug a hole the right size, laid the tent down as a floor, and stretched the fly over one pole. I anchored the edges of the fly with snow on the outside. Not quite a snow cave, not quite a tent. My hybrid lacked the wetness of a snow cave and lacked the draftiness of a tent.

Here's my tobagan with the lid pulled back.

The wind raged over me. I love the sound of wind. It is somehow the most wonderful sound on this Earth. I love it more so than any song. Wind is Nature's voice. As I lay there all night, listening to the wind slam the shit out of everything around me, it has the effect on my soul of a mother singing to an infant.
That's what I feel when I'm out there. People say I'm crazy, but is it crazy to want to experience what sings to my soul? All people seem to notice is cold, irritating wind, annoying snow getting in their collars,... I experience "home". I hear the wind and I say, "Hi, Mom. I'm home." When it slams into me, it's just a hug.
Granted it's like one of those big huge wolfhounds that seems to think it's a chihuahua and doesn't realize its own size and strength, but it's a hug none the less.


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