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The Way to Lost Lake

I am becoming a jogger (runner seems too aggressive at the moment). I know this will come as a surprise to many of you since I used to say that I would only become a jogger the first time I saw a happy jogger.  Low and behold, I have seen happy joggers. Many at the ultra races that my son, Kevin, runs in.  In fact, after one race, he  danced across the finish line. It's true. I have a picture. So I began to think, maybe there is something to this jogging/running thing. So, I am out on the Trinity River Trail jogging along most every morning when there are few others on the path.  My wife tells me not to overdue it. I tell her I have to get buff so that her eyes don't wander if some Schwarzenegger-like cabana boy goes bye. She smirks. Actually, I am doing this because I tell myself that this is the way to Lost Lake. According to Kevin, Lost Lake is a spectacular, pristine mountain lake above Copper Mountain, Colorado. You get to it by pulling off the access road at the Copper Mountain exit and then hiking 4.5 miles up mountain to reach the lake, which is full of trout.  Kevin found it on one of his mountain runs late last August.  "Dad," he said, "You have to see it. And we could catch trout."  I'm in. So I just had to figure out how I would hike 4.5 miles moving from roughly 8500 feet to about 11,000 feet over steep terrain.  I needed to prepare. So I decided to try jogging. The good news is that I have had some experience hiking mountains.  I've climbed two 14ers--those are mountains over 14,000 feet. The first was in 2003 when I was 55.  Two friends and I decided to climb Mount Whitney in northern California, which at 14,505 feet is the highest point in the continental U.S. There is a book that tells you how to climb it in a day. It's called "How to Climb Mount Whitney in One Day" by Sharon Baker Salony. Clear enough. The first chapter is how one can die on the mountain!  That's true.  You can die in a lot of ways--hypothermia, pulmonary edema, getting struck by lightening if a sudden storm develops, or just falling off the side of a cliff. 

In any case, the three of us set off at 4:30 in the morning at Whitney portal at 8500 feet.  Curiously, our goal at the start was not to reach the summit. I had prepared a map that indicated intermediate goals along the way--a look-out point, a mountain lake, a rocky out cliff, the start of the 97 switchbacks and so on. We had about 8 goals to reach before getting to the summit. When we reached each goal, we celebrated--high-fives, cheers, back-slapping--and then set to reach the next goal.  8 hours up, a half hour at the top, and 6 hours down.  We made it. We were a bit sore but euphoric.  What a high...literally. My second 14er was even more memorable.  Four years ago at 69, I climbed Quandary Peak with my son, Matthew.  Quandary is outside Breckenridge, Colorado. We entered the portal at 10,000 feet at 5:30 in the morning.  Our plan was just to get to the next goal. We reached the summit at 14,265 feet five hours later. A family of mountain goats met us. We had lunch for 30 minutes and then took 2.5 hours to descend. I have a picture of the two of us at the summit, arms outstretched over our heads, huge smiles.  The picture is now in my study, and I look at it every day. When we got back, we soaked in the hot tub with a cold beer and congratulated each other on our team effort.

Truth be told, I think one of the reasons Matthew came along was to watch over me. Though he never said that I think he just wanted to make sure that I would not get lost, get hurt or die on the trek.  I also assume that his mother probably asked him to come along to make sure that I came back in one piece.  He did. They were looking out for me. So, I am now preparing for Lost Lake. I figure jogging may help me to get there.  I have reached one goal--I can jog one mile without  stopping to walk--applause please!  Working on two miles now. I hope that I will have the chance to get to Lost Lake this summer with Kevin. But I'm not sure that the coronavirus will let us. If not, then I'll focus on the hike and the trout-catching for 2021. I'll try to get there eventually.

I mention all of this because we are told to expect a really hard week or two ahead of us as the virus spreads like a tsunami.  We will have to do what we can to

prepare.  We will have to minimize the dangers along the way as best we can  We will have to look out for one another.  And we will have to recognize progress along the way--slow though it may seem until we get a vaccine.

So, let's get through today together. Then, let's get through this week and next week together. Then, let's get through this month together. Then, we will get through all of this together eventually. Good Health and Good Luck Ray

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