Slow and StupidWe’ve all had those mornings when it takes 20 minutes to tie your shoes — not to figure out how to tie your shoes, but somehow it just takes that long to run the rabbit around the tree and through the hole. This was one of these mornings.
My daughter and I wanted to try the CCY route, a one-day ascent of Chapin, Chiquita and Ypsilon mountains. We are flatlanders, and the biggest hill in our town consists of the dirt dug out for the city swimming pool. Moreover, this was only our second day in Estes Park, so we weren’t well acclimated at all. I figured that, realistically, we’d climb Chapin and Chiquita, and then figure out whether we had any steam left for Ypsilon.
But this was one of those mornings when it takes 20 minutes to tie your shoes. So we didn’t leave our room until after 7:00 am, and we weren’t at the trailhead until 7:45 am. That’s really late for us (two days later were already atop Flattop by that hour). Being a little late is not normally a big deal, but this was one of those mornings when everything goes in slow motion. So we were going in slow motion too. Slow and stupid motion, as it turns out.
The Adventure Begins
We popped up to Chapin Pass and then started up Chapin proper. The trail ascends a bit and then turns to the east for a long traverse to a saddle on the far side of Chapin. As we started the traverse, the sun was climbing up and it struck me: we had left the sunscreen in the car. And hats too, of course.
My daughter and I are two of the Mushroom People, an ancient race left behind by aliens who later returned to make a fortune selling us sun care products. The real problem, as in others of our kind, is the face - - nose, ears, cheeks and forehead. It had been well into the 80s all week, and the sun was already over Chapin and beating down on us, so a bad sunburn seemed inevitable. Danger, danger!
I’m sure that many SPers know what must be done in such a case. I zipped off my pant legs and gave one to my daughter. “Put it on your head,” I said. Being a teenager, she already knew that her father is insane. She is always glad to have additional confirmation.
I put the other leg on my head. Turned sideways, each end covered an ear. If you pulled it forward, it worked as a hat brim. Ears, forehead and (sort of) nose and cheeks were now protected. My daughter groaned and did the same. We continued upward with pants on our head.
For the most part we amused only the marmots and pikas. The crowds were still small - - but we did run across one large party of high schoolers, who were too kind to say anything. The lead hikers from that group joined us at the saddle and we all finished the climb more or less together. Our group looked sillier than their group, which is a triumph in its own way.
The DecisionNow atop Chapin, we faced our decision. The question was no longer whether we had the energy to continue to Ypsilon but instead whether we would climb Chiquita with pants on our head.
I have already said that my daughter is a teenager, so the answer to that question was preordained. Climbing one mountain with pants on your head is acceptable, but climbing two is not. So much for Courage.
We did triumph over Danger, though - - I’m happy to report that neither of us got any sunburn.
I’m sorry to report that she wouldn’t let me take any pictures.