It was nice to be back up at high altitude again. After leaving Denver I headed up into Guanella Pass, very familiar territory. I hadn’t been above 10,000 ft. in almost a month and not wanting to dive into anything too serious, I decided to stick to a place I know well, Mt. Bierstadt. We’ll see how my legs feel on tomorrow's climb and go from there. I got kind of a late start, and arrived at the parking lot just before 6am: FULL. Already? What the hell is going on here? I parked on the road just above the lot, inhaled some coffee, oatmeal, and a banana, and was about ready to roll. Only one thing I need to take care of: I needed to use the facilities.. I walked down to the bathroom to find a 20+ person line. I guess everyone had their fiber last night! The line looked as if it hadn’t moved since the last night. Shit, I was already running late. Well, I had TP in my pack, if needed, and I really didn’t feel like waiting a half hour to sit in 20 other guys’ morning stench; so I took off.
I quickly arrived at the stream crossing and there was already a contingent of idiots struggling to get across. I waited patiently for my turn, an older gent waved me to go ahead. I hadn’t take two steps across the slick logs, and the old man loses his balance. He deftly grabs a hold of me as he falls towards the ice cold stream. I had decent footing and fortunately his grip was barely stronger than that of a 6 year old girl, so down goes grandpa. Splash, into the icy current he goes. His girly grip was just strong enough so that he managed to direct his fall and land feet first. When he grabbed my arm, I unconsciously blurted “WHAT THE FUCK!?!?!?” right in front of, what must have been, his son and grandson (who was maybe 7 years old). I somehow managed to get across dry while the son rushed back to help his sopping wet father, who had managed to climb out of the water on the far side. This whole string of events happened in about 3 seconds. When I got across, I whipped around to give grandpa and his son a dirty look, I was pretty pissed off at grandpa for trying to drag me into the frigid rapids. However after seeing Grandpa soaked and freezing, I felt sorry for the guy, after seeing that he was not seriously injured, I continued along the route.
I reached a snow free summit at about at about 8:30. I had never seen the top of Bierstadt without snow! It was cool to finally be able to see the geological marker. It had always been under a lot of snow when I'd been here before. I snapped a few pics and wolfed down a quick summit snack. I was getting ready to head back down when my decision to skip the bathroom came back to haunt me! Instantly I went into turbo mode, it was time to move! I was straight up running down the mountain. All I could think about was the bathroom at the trail-head. I seriously would have had no problem squatting off to the side somewhere, but there was zero cover and there were people everywhere. I had never seen this many people on any mountain, anywhere, it was ridiculous. Even the National Park workers who were doing surveys said they had never seen anything like it. It furthered my desire to get the hell off the mountain ASAP. I continued my rapid descent. I can only imagine what a guy running down a mountain who has to take a shit looks like. Probably fucking hilarious.
After taking care of business at the trail-head (there was no line) I quickly departed the crowded lot in search of food. As I drove down the pass, I reflected on the day's events, it had been a pretty good day. I mean, outside of swearing at an old man in front of his grand child and racing my bowels back to the trail-head, it was good. My legs felt great, the weather cooperated beautifully, and I was back in the Rockies. Awesome.