Ben and I hit the road early on our quest to bag a fourteen thousand foot peak. Storms often roll into these high elevations early in the afternoon so the goal is to summit before getting struck by lightning. I don't judge, but I'm just not into that.
We had originally settled on Mt. Holy Cross as our victim, but the trail is closed until the pine beetles finished eating all the trees there. We opted instead for 14,026 foot Mt. Sherman. There are fifty four of these behemoths in Colorado and Ben plans to do them all because he suffers from an as yet undiagnosed mental illness. Since he is my so called friend he invited me along to spend my zero day killing myself for absolutely no reason.
I actually did quite well with Sherman. A lighter pack helped, but dealing with altitude seems to be like getting used to alcohol, you eventually develop a tolerance. My steps were much firmer than on Argentine and we reached the top in only two hours.
Because Ben hates me he suggested we uses our extra time to hike the adjacent Gemini Mountain, a lesser beast at 13,900 or so. We moved along the ridge line to learn that size isn't everything. Instead of a nice path there was a huge pile of rubble left over from the demolition of the Astrodome. Chunks of rock covered the hill, and every step made a click-clack as if one were walking upon broken masonry. The loose stones shifted constantly, causing me to smash my toes and turn my ankles.
I also soon realized that although I had developed a better tolerance I could still get drunk off the altitude. I needed to get of this ride soon and I picked the fastest option. I slid down about a thousand feet on my shocked buttocks, an even more incredulous Ben watching from his saner path to freedom a few hundred feet away.
Once to the bottom I made a bee line for the car a couple of miles further down. I don't want to make a habit of leaving the trail and squashing plant life, but I was D-O-N-E.
On the way back to Leadville we visited the Eddyline Brewery, which we had proclaimed the winner at the Burning Can Beer Festival. None of the cornucopia of hopped refreshments had topped their offerings from three weeks hence. Upon further investigation I agree with my past self.
After restoring our livers to equilibrium Ben dropped me at the hostel. Therein I met Boston and Cubby, my first run-in with other ADT hikers. The tow are triple crown hikers, who have finished the AT, CDT, and PCT, but don't use AT&T. If you don't want clueless idiocy I would recommend checking out their blog at trailjournals.com. But in all honesty, you would be gone already if you didn't want more of this right?