Happy New Year Sep 6, 2010
Well it’s Labor Day again and the start of my New Year. My time clock starts and stops with this holiday. So, Happy New Year to you! If you want the full story on a 'mental year' read my book, "A Trip to the Beach". www.donowens.tv
Wednesday will mark my twelfth year with the Boenker Group of Companies. It has been an incredible twelve years and I am thankful for the numerous opportunities that have been provided there and the extreme education I have received. I hope they’ll let me stay around for another twelve years.
This morning Don IV and I are up early in our cabin in Twin Lakes, Colorado watching the sun rise over the Sawatch Mountain range and talking about where to go trout fishing today. The temperature dropped into the low 30’s last night and we now have the heaters on trying to warm up the joint.
I have seen a lot of mountains, but this spot here in Twin Lakes remains my favorite in the world. If I thought it mattered where my ashes were scattered, it would undoubtably be here.
Aspen is an hour on the other side of Independence Pass and Leadville is a 30 minute drive for coffee, a descent Italian restaurant and the Brass Ass (The Golden Burro).
The first time we brought the kids here Sarah was three and Don IV was 4 months old. Don got altitude sickness and I felt like a bad dad. The second we drove him below 5,000 feet a few days later he cleared up almost instantly.
Danae and I found this spot in 1995. We took a weeks vacation to spend in Breckenridge and then started making daily excursions. One on my list was to go to Leadville. Jimmy Buffett’s song “Incommunicado” mentions the mining town so you know it was on my list.
“Now on the day that John Wayne died, I found myself on the Continental Divide. Tell me where do I go from here? I think I’ll drive into Leadville and have a few beers. Think of ‘Red River’ and ‘Liberty Valance’ Can’t believe the old man’s gone. But now he’s incommunicado.”
We headed off to see what Leadville was all about. After lunch at the Brass Ass we decided to drive to Aspen and hit Independence Pass. As we jumped off the main interstate to head due west we came up over a dam and there was Twin Lakes, surrounded by 14,000 foot mountains and the scene just floored me.
We stopped in town and strolled the park there and I remember saying to Danae, “I am coming back here as often as I can.”
I have been fortunate to do just that. One year later some buddies and I camped under Twin Peaks and enjoyed a stay at Olsen Cabins. The next year we discovered Mount Elbert Lodge and returned another three years in a row. We climbed Twin Peaks and had failed attempts on Elbert due to weather.
Most recently the May Club came to Twin Lakes in 2008. We had a failed winter summit of Mt Elbert, but we were undeterred. We returned in 2009 and summited Elbert while she still wore her coat of snow and two days later summited Mt Massive which towers over Leadville like an old school Russian dictator.
This is my second trip here in 2010, as John Pribble, Richard Sammons and I came here just one month ago to add another 14ner to our list with a climb of La Plata.
It’s not easy to get here and there are few places to stay. I like it that way. I can think of no better place to start my year.
It always pains me to leave, and I get anxious thinking that I might never see it again. By God’s grace we will.
This weekend included a walk along the Continental Divide Trail with the family at 12,000 feet, and Beau and I went up Black Cloud Trail to 13,000 feet from 9,000. The wind was fierce and it was bitter cold for September. Summiters were passing us with full winter gear on so we decided 13 was a great place to turn around.
A weekend of Aspen, Twin Lakes and Leadville could not be a better way to kick things off. So, Happy New Year. May it bring grace, learning and experiences of all sorts.