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May 24, 2019

The Prodigal Cat

Today, Jen and I woke up and, for the first time in 3 days, it wasn't snowing or raining or anything stupid like that. Today, we woke up, and laid in bed for a bit.

Jen has been very sick. Earlier this week, she went to the doctor in Boulder, and got a prescription for something...a sinus infection? And she took her medicine, and slowly got better.

Today, as the weather was nice, I convinced her that we should go into the mountains.

"Let's drive up into the mountains. We can go to one of the mines in Idaho Springs or Georgetown. Eat lunch up there. Hit Guanella Pass. Let's just get out and do something. Too nice to lay in bed."

"But I don't feel good. I've been very sick this week." she complained.

"I know, but I'll drive. Let's just get out and do something and you'll feel better," I offered.

Like, I can't tell you what it's like to raise an only child, and then have her go away to college, but it's not good.

"OK. We'll leave in an hour. I should feel better then," she offers.

"Fair enough."

So, in an hour or so, I get a camera cobbled together so I can snap some pics if we run into anything, and we head out.

Now...Prince Tubby has been missing for roughly 10 days, and we both know this, but we don't talk about it. It's too traumatic to discuss. Prince Tubby, son of Wallie, is the largest cat we have, and the only one with long hair. A true royal prince. But he's gone now. Someone else in the neighborhood lost their cat, so I'm thinking either a coyote or a lion got him, but he's gone, and we don't talk about this. Too depressing to consider.

At some point in the afternoon, we climb into Jen's VW Tiguan and head off towards Idaho Springs.

At Idaho Springs, we stop for lunch. Always, I eat at Carl's Jr. Everyone there knows me by name, and welcomes me when I walk through the door. But today, Jennifer says we'll eat at Smokin' Yards BBQ, and so it is.

We go there for lunch, and it's delicious, and now we head out and I offer, "Let's go up to Georgetown and hit Guanella Pass. If we get lucky, we'll see some Bighorn Sheep."

"Sure," she says.

The Mount Evans Road WILL NOT OPEN for the season on Friday May 24, 2019 due weather conditions and snow removal. There is not an estimated opening date at this time.

Road to Maroon Bells opens Friday; Independence Pass gets closer as opening remains on hold.

Trail RIdge Road opening delayed.

So we head out on I-70 for Georgetown. The weather is beautiful. For the first time in 3 days, it's not snowing or raining and we just roll through Georgetown and head up towards Guanella Pass and we hardly get out of Georgetown before we run into 2 Bighorn Sheep. We stop, and I jump out and start shooting like mad. These are pretty rare to see. This is not really my luck, but I'm swinging for the fences. Shooting like crazy. Other vehicles stop to stare. We get a few good shots, and then continue up the pass.

The sign clearly says that the pass is closed at the campground, but we'll drive up there anyway, even if just to turn around and come back. It's better than lying in bed, right?

As we climb, Jen comments on the rocks in the road.

"Is this safe? Like...it seems a lot of rocks are falling in the road..." she offers.

"Yeah. I mean...I ride my motorcycle up here all the time, and I see the rocks in the road also, but I've never been hit by one."

Like that makes any difference or matters. I dunno. But we continue on. Past 3 different lakes.

Finally, we get to the Guanella Pass campground.

"This is where we'll have to turn around", I apologize. Like, it's no fault of mine, but this is just the end of the road.

Only now, as we come out of the curve, I see that the road is open. For the first time in 2019, the gates are open, and the pass is open. It was opened today. Not yesterday. Today. I'm floored. This is not my luck.

"Well, let's keep going...let's see how far we can go," I offer, and we keep rolling up the mountain.

A few miles further, we get to a parking lot at the summit of the mountain, and I turn in. The snow is deep here...roughly 15' deep, I'd say.

So, I drive through this path they've plowed through the parking lot a few times and Jen gets out to film it. Crazy fun.

Now, we start rolling down the other side of the pass. Jen has no idea where it comes out. She claims she's never crossed the pass before. I can't really recall if she has or not, but I'm not in a position to correct her.

As we roll down the mountain, I start preparing her for the little snack stand on 285.

"No..I swear...there's a little snack stand on the side of the road. And you push a button, and they come rolling down the hill on their ATV and let you into the store to buy some snacks."

She's not buying it, but sure enough, when we hit 285, there's the guys on their ATV's, and we stop for some Beef Jerkey in the store. I push the button for service, and the guy on his ATV comes over and lets us in, and we pick out some beef jerkey for the ride home.

When we get home, we walk inside, and discover Prince Tubby is on the cat tree upstairs. We're both falling all over ourselves. So happy to discover him still alive. Probably, he was locked in someone's garage for the last 10 days, we figure.

Posted by Rob Kiser on May 24, 2019 at 9:13 PM


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