This morning started as another ho hum traipse, another mountain pass, another glorious valley, another former mining town, etc. On Schofield Park Road things took a turn for the wow.
A sign warned that only experienced 4x4 drivers need apply. The ground was difficult without a doubt, the cobbling accomplished via the whims of gravity, the route swerved left, right, up, and down, steep and narrow.
The scenery was more than worth the effort. I have run out of superlatives after weeks in the Rockies. I feel like George Bradley, a member of John Wesley Powell's expedition, the first to run the length of the Green and Colorado Rivers into the Grand Canyon. Bradley describes each rapid as the greatest, the fastest, the most terrifying yet. Perhaps he was right, for the ante seems to be upped every day I spend here.
My meager pen can't do the Crystal River Canyon justice, however, so I've brought in a guest to perform the job properly. Smoky Canewood is a former writer for such TV programs as "Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom" and "Girls Gone Wild."
"The river was smokin' hot - clear as crystal suggests, sounds like a lap dancer. You could see all the way to the bottom, I mean everything. Even when she was bashful, hid behind some trees, you could hear the most erotic sounds as she ran rapidly downhill.
"The waterfalls were even more seductive. I used my camera so much you'd think they were Claudia Schiffer's bum. They were everywhere...I hardly knew which to choose from or look at...I felt like a judge at the Miss America pageant.
"The rock hard gorges twisted and turned...such luscious curves - and the way they went down so deep..."
Smoky needs to have some personal time now so I'll just wrap up by mentioning that sections of the Crystal were constantly out of the sunlight at the bottom of a gorge. Therefore large packs of snow and ice have not melted. The river barges a course right inside these glaciers, producing a not unpleasing visual effect. I wouldn't personally compare it to tow young girls making out at Mardi Gras, however.
Near the village of Marble the sultriness died down a bit and I met the Head family. With a father and two sons in the military and another about to join, they were very high on the Wounded Warrior Walk. They invited me to have lunch with them aside Lizard Lake. While we ate mother Jamie suggested I take a detour to their home of Delta, Colorado where she was sure we could get the charity some good press.
Delta is not too far off my planned route and I look to be well early for my appointment with family in Grand Junction so I said yes..
After the meal son Matt, aged seventeen, walked with me for a few miles. He is a rising senior in high school and plans to commit to the Marines upon graduation.
We reached Marble and I parted ways with the Heads, promising to see them again in Delta on Tuesday. Thirty seconds later I had passes Marble in all its splendor. The village of 89 is famous for quarrying you can probably guess what. Their stone has been used in the building of the state capitol, Lincoln Memorial, and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
Four miles past I arrived at Bogan Flats campground. With no other likely stopping places in the near future I ended the day in her warm embrace.
15 miles/2789 total miles