8,284 Feet (Ranked 3,462nd in CO)
February 12th, 2008
1 Mile Roundtrip
Might as Well Have Been Solo
†My Lame Hiking Partner
As the days grow longer, the opportunities for hikes after work increase. I get off of work earlier than most people, so finding a hiking partner on short notice can be a problem. I felt the urge to get some fresh air on Tuesday afternoon. The only hiking partner that I could find was this guy that I've been hiking with for ten years. He's not particularly fit, so I generally just go for short hikes with him. Today would be different, though; I wanted to climb the terrifying monarch of the Genesee Valley, the 8,284-foot Genesee Mountain. Seasoned mountaineers shudder at the mere mention of its name. Would my lame hiking partner be up to it?
The flagpole on Genesee Mountainís summit
I wanted to start low on the mountain, but not too low. There is a buffalo enclosure on the side of the mountain, and I wanted to avoid it like the plague. I didnít want a repeat of The Buffalo Incident of '01, in which my lame hiking partner was a principal antagonist. We found a place to pull over, and started to bushwhack through the trees. My lame hiking partner started to posthole in some waist-deep snow, and he refused to go any further. Okay, no problem; we could take the road for a while. We walked back towards the road, and headed towards the summit. We saw several mule deer bouncing like pogo sticks through some deep drifts. Lamewad was already wheezing from the exertion.
A small herd of elk eyed us cautiously as road finally disappeared under sheets of ice and snow. Lamewad was hesitant to continue, but I was able to find a route on the grassy slope that was not too difficult. Not too difficult for me, that is; I actually had to short-rope my hiking partner up the side of the hill. My lame hiking partner should be ashamed of himself; his ancestors are actually from Tibet. It's hard to believe that this bearded gnome has relatives living in The Roof of the World.†
Elk nonchalantly waiting for hikers to pass
Lamewad crapped out on me high on the upper slopes. I was not going to be denied the summit. I slung him over my shoulder in a modified fireman's carry, grateful for the Tibetan's short stature. After a long struggle, we arrived at the windblown summit. We could see downtown Denver through the twisted pines, and I thought that I could see Mt. Evans in the distance.
Looking towards downtown Denver from Genesee Mountainís summit
My lame hiking partner posed for a summit shot by the flagpole. We descended as the sun disappeared behind the mountains.
My lame hiking partner Bandit the Shih Tzu