Sunday, February 12, 2006

Hell's Hole

Had a chance this afternoon to climb up to 'Hells' Hole,' a glacial basin at the foot of some tall peaks about an hour west of Denver.

Nothing hellish about it. The trail starts at 9200 ft and ends at 11,200 and every foot of it is beautiful in the winter.

Saw some Rocky Mountain Bristlecone pines up high. The bristlecones here live for about 3000 years. Their cousins in California live almost 5000 years. Original wood. OW for my inner city friends.

I love the place names on maps of the American west. Lots of imagination and not much respect for good taste way back when. Quite a few Hell's Holes and Devil's Thumbs and Desolation Peaks and other places that playfully threaten damnation or disappointment.

I'm still hoping to hear of a new housing tract in some western exurb called 'The Devil's Den.' Doesn't anybody have respect for regional tradition these days?

My favorite old school map name is Zzyzx Road in California. It rhymes with "Isaac's." Anybody who drives east from LA through the Mohave Desert to Vegas knows it.

Stopped by the old mining town of Idaho Springs to get some gas. Drove by the town hardware store and stopped for a photo of the ripped and stripped store motto below. Why waste words when you can say it all in six?


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