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With a free pass from campers spreading good karma, we drove up the highest
auto road in North America today (14,260'). Normally it would cost $10, but
for nothing we got to see things like this next to the auto road:

http://back-pack.org/ninja/PM/uploads/images/duphphy_-_deer.jpg


Also sighted were countless marmots, 3 bighorn sheep, about 20 mountain
goats and a snowshoe hare. Unfortunately all of these were too far away for
my zoomless camera to capture. And most unfortunate was the single mountain
goat that walked straight at us on a hiking trail and passed within 10 feet
of me and my camera... I'd shot the last picture on the roll prior to the
encounter, and the loading of a new film and that mechanical winding noise
spooked the white fuzzy beast and he ran off in a tizzy before I finished
the loading process.

We'd parked at Summit Lake, which is an inaccurate name as it lies well
over a thousand feet below the summit of Evans. Killer views though, like
this one of our goal:

http://back-pack.org/ninja/PM/uploads/images/duphphy_-_er1.jpg

To get there we left my red chariot parked at the lake and used our thumbs
to get to the top. After several perplexed looks from tourists passing us
by, finally a family from Switzerland stopped their rented RV and picked us
up and we rode to the top among convenient solutions to modern living; with
a view:

http://back-pack.org/ninja/PM/uploads/images/duphphy_-_RV.jpg

They were pleasant people and were quite impressed with the Deutsch spoken
by my German ski partner, Miriam. Of course, the real spelling of her name
is Myrjam. Myrjam Berger to be precise - a fitting last name for someone
who skis all year round. :)

After parting ways with our new Swiss friends, we hiked along the trail and
took one last look over our shoulders at the observatory,

http://back-pack.org/ninja/PM/uploads/images/duphphy_-_Observatory.jpg

then we answered questions from many a confused summer hiker. Yes, we're
going skiing. Yes, that snowfield is skiable. No, we're not crazy for doing
it - it's not even as steep as most runs we've skied this summer. Hey, can
you take our picture with it in the background? Thanks!

http://back-pack.org/ninja/PM/uploads/images/duphphy_-_eus.jpg

Alright, alright. Enough dilly-dallying, on with the skiing!

http://back-pack.org/ninja/PM/uploads/images/duphphy_-_es1.jpg

http://back-pack.org/ninja/PM/uploads/images/duphphy_-_es2.jpg

http://back-pack.org/ninja/PM/uploads/images/duphphy_-_es3.jpg

At the bottom of the snow we moved over to the little patches to skiers
right and skied every one of them. Then we walked out across the grassy
meadows down to the lake. It was at his point that the clouds came rolling
in. Thick, dark, ugly clouds that envleoped the lake, the mountain and us.
Although we lacked a 1-Iron, there was still a static worry in out minds of
lightning strikes messing up our day. It came in dark and fast and T-storms
have been the norm on almost a daily basis in the mountains all summer
long...

Thankfully the only electricity flowing through us was that of the
afterglow of checking of yet another high line in the Colrado backcountry.
We walked back the trusty B2 and drank the champagne of ski bums (Natty
Ice), stared at our latest run.

http://back-pack.org/ninja/PM/uploads/images/duphphy_-_eb2.jpg

Then we went home.

Bring on August!!!

mpd

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