Altitude Adjustment - Sunday Morning Comin' Down - An Epilog
Pre-dawn darkness cloaked the mesa at 4AM. I stood a moment to take in the brilliant stars unfiltered by smoke or smog; then resumed loading the truck.
The silence of this place can be deafening, especially at this hour. Were it not for the distant whispered roar of the Rio Grande, one could be led to believe they were in a perfect vacuum.
I scanned the checklist of items to be accomplished in order to close down the cabin for the third time, worried about would forget something. It was hard to get my synapses firing on all cylinders even after mainlining two cups of coffee. I better get another one.
At the moment, I was at 8800 feet in elevation. At the end of the day I would only be 735 feet above sea level, a change of just over 8,000 feet. It always makes me smile when I see city limit signs in Colorado - no population numbers here, only elevation. Populations may grow or shrink, but the mountains remain unchanged.
The thermometer read a comfortable 27F; a marked improvement from the 18 degrees a couple nights ago. Still, I had to employ the defroster to clear windshield. With my gear stowed, I pointed the truck east along Deep Creek Road, the washboard sections clacking my teeth together like a teletype for the final time this week.
Ahead of me lie sixteen hours of windshield time, too many podcasts, two state lines, and home.
Mountains hiding in the dark funneled me alongside the Rio into the San Luis valley. Blanca peak, a 14'er, was only visible as an EKG line across the eastern sky. It's flanks were still powdered in snow.
Last night I slept the deep sleep of a guiltless conscience, thanks to the encounters with creation and the Creator last week. This morning I awoke like a bear who overslept spring.
I don't usually return from time afield or a-stream refreshed and chipper, like the books and magazines say I should. I know I am supposed to. I know being in nature is essential for me, it's just that I am never ready to leave it and rejoin "real" life. Like a child on the last day of summer vacation, I don't care that I have just had a great time off . I come back kicking and screaming -or at least pouting.
At my house in suburbia, the back porch temp already registers 98F, and it is not even noon. I fight the urge to throw my gear back in the truck and head northwest.
Come to think of it, I do have another week of vacation to burn ...